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What extra fees should I expect when buying an apartment in Sweden?

What extra fees should I expect when buying an apartment in Sweden?
Make sure to carve room in your budget for the additional costs of buying your own home. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
Sweden is an expensive place to live, and one of the biggest purchases you're likely to make here is your home. So what extra fees do you need to budget for?

While property in the cities costs a lot, the good news is that there aren’t as many added costs as in some other countries. For example, it’s rare to get a survey on an apartment, simply because apartment owners aren’t responsible for things like the roof or building’s plumbing, so most possible faults should be spotted during a normal viewing. And there are no mortgage deed fees, solicitor’s or estate agency fees, or stamp duty for the buyer. 

Please note that this guide only applies to the most common form of apartment ownership in Sweden, bostadsrätt, so if you are thinking of buying a detached house (villa) some of the rules will be different.

A key thing to understand about apartment purchases in Sweden is that you’re not technically buying the apartment, but rather a share in the housing association (bostadsrättsförening) and the right to live in the apartment. This also applies to some houses, usually terraced.

The two costs that are directly associated with the purchase, and will apply in nearly all apartment purchases, are a transfer fee (överlåtelseavgift) and loan registration fee (pantavgift), paid to the bostadsrättsförening.

The överlåtelseavgift is the fee for transferring ownership from the seller to the buyer, and is around 1,150 kronor as of 2020. Either the buyer or seller will pay this, depending on the housing association’s rules, so if you pay it when you buy the apartment you won’t pay this fee again when you eventually sell, and vice versa.

The pantavgift applies if you have taken out a mortgage or loan to pay for the apartment, and it’s a one-time fee for registering this loan with the association. In 2020, this is around 450 kronor.

In addition, some housing associations are part of larger umbrella companies, including Riksbyggen and HSB. When you’re buying an apartment, you’re really buying a share in the housing association, and if it belongs to one of these companies it’s obligatory to pay their deposit, usually around 500 kronor per person.

While those are the obligatory fees, there are some other added costs to bear in mind.

When moving within Sweden, you may need to pay for a removals company and/or cleaning of your old property, if you can’t do these tasks yourself. These services are usually tax deductible, so make sure to ask if the tax has been deducted from the price or if you’ll need to claim it back in your tax return.

And although buying an apartment doesn’t actually entail many extra upfront costs, you should do your homework on the association’s finances before you buy, to avoid a nasty and expensive shock later on.

As a member of a bostadsrättsförening, you pay a monthly fee in exchange for them taking responsibility for any major repairs to the building (such as roofs, windows, plumbing), maintenance of the building and any common areas, and usually bills like heating and water.

The size of this monthly fee varies between associations, and by researching their finances you can look for signs that it might be increased soon – for example if the building hasn’t had any major repairs for a while, has a lot of loans, or so on. You can read about this in more detail here.

FIRST-TIME BUYER ESSENTIALS:


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