House Hunting (Just to Occupy the Time)

For what seems like the longest time now (well, probably since I got back from my first visit and started having the urge to live in my boyfriend’s country…) one of my cures for boredom has been to hunt for houses in Sweden, just to occupy the time.  I began on svenskfast.se before discovering hemnet.se which seemed to list all the houses from multiple real estate companies.  I would put in my search terms:  Villa, min 5 rooms, max 2,000,000 kronor, location Östergötland.  I wasn’t finding much.  But when I took away the location, and searched the whole of Sweden… houses galore!  Well, I suppose that’s understandable, but now I was getting a whole page of new listings every day.  So, those listings could be a bit further out of the way to where we may or may not end up wanting to live close to Johan’s family – and currently with Johan in the north, our future residence could really be anywhere and depends on where there’s work!  But even if I don’t know the location of where to search – even though I could be looking at a house in the very south of Sweden one minute and the very north the next (and honestly, I don’t pay too much attention to the location maps!) it is enjoyable and feels meaningful.

If you have never tried this with your partner, I suggest you put it on your to do list.  It can be so much fun, and so informative.  In the beginning we would look at houses together, and still do sometimes, although nowadays our days get busier and I just tend to link the best ones worth looking at.  The point is, we would look at the house together and all of the photos (I came to recognise the ALLA BILDER button on every external site and now I’m learning to read all the captions!) and discuss everything we did and didn’t like about the house and the style and design choices people had used in their homes.  It is a great way to connect with your partner and learn how your tastes are both similar and different, and helps you to think about the type of house you may want to share with them in the future, however far off that might be.

For instance, I love wooden kitchens.  Johan likes them too, but he doesn’t like whole houses filled with too much wooden decor.  He’d also like a kitchen with all the big appliances fully built in, where as I don’t mind so much because I’m used to microwaves and fridges having large gaps around them – which was one thing that did surprise me a little, it’s like they have no room to breathe at the sides in a lot of Swedish homes!  Which is another thing – a lot of the time renting, and even buying in Sweden – your main appliances are included – including the fridge, drier and washing machine!  He’d like a  sauna; I’d like a nice big patio to have an evening’s hot chocolate on.  The list continues, but for the most part, we have similar tastes in home designs, it’s the furnishings that will likely cause us some trouble when we can’t decide on things and will need to make compromises!  I’m sure that when the time comes, it’ll be an absolute nightmare, but I think we’re pretty well prepared to tackle that, partly because we already know each others likes and dislikes and have talked through them.

As for the Swedish housing market and my 2,000,000 kronor limit, with plenty being under that (as of now, that’s approximately $294,000 AUD, although it was $305,000 when I first started looking, and $335,000 when the Aussie dollar was really low a year and a half ago! *fingers crossed the Swedish SEK stays low for a few more months*), what have I found we can get for that much?  Some very beautiful homes!  You have to remember that Sweden is a very old country (think Viking ages!) and so admittedly there are a lot of older homes (and even the odd school!) on the market, many in the 1950-1970s.  I’ve even seen some from the 1910s – homes with a hundred year old history!  But once you put that aside (this coming from an Australian where in Australia we have new housing estates are popping up everywhere, and everyone in my immediate family seems to be living in a house that’s under 10 years old, or building brand new ones … our house is just over that at 15 years old and even our previous house is only as old as me), you realise that most of what looks a little old and aged on the outside, is not a horrible retro 70s style on the inside (though I’ve seen a few of those, too!) So, so many of these houses have had renovations to make them look brand new on the inside, and I’ve been caught out more than once by surprise – it’s truly a don’t judge a book by it’s cover example.  A lot will also have antique old stoves and fireplaces that have remained in the redesign of a new kitchen or living room, giving off a continued remembrance to historic days.  What’s even more fun is watching the house photos change throughout the year with spring, summer, autumn, and winter photos – “well, I know that this house has got a lot of snow – that’s a good sign!”

For two years now I’ve been dreaming of a stereotypical, red wooden house somewhere in Sweden which we will call our own.  I mean, we’ve even gone as far as imagining ourselves in daggy yard clothes, repainting the house red.  Imagined ourselves fighting over the colours to paint our walls indoors – Big White, Snowy White or Crisp White.  Imagined ourselves trying to straighten up picture frames.  Imagined ourselves eating pizza on the first night in our own home surrounded by boxes and sleeping on the couch.  And it’s a beautiful thing to imagine, to dream and to know that it’s all worth waiting for. ❤

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4 thoughts on “House Hunting (Just to Occupy the Time)”

  1. I also love checking out Finnish real estate sites – even though it’s still a while until we move there. I think it helps to make it feel more real as, like you said, you can visualise yourselves actually living there 😊

    How do you find the Swedish house prices compared to where you live? You definitely get a bigger house for your money here compared to Finland but it’s generally cheaper there and you get a much higher quality house. The style of Finnish houses (inside and out) is much more to my taste than Australian houses!

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    1. Absolutely, hey! I’m not really sure about comparing at the moment because like I said I’ve been searching the whole of Sweden rather than a specified area. And because I’ve set in a price limit, I don’t see the really extravagant houses! xD So from my search results I’d say yeah, houses are cheaper to where I’m currently living, some much so. But they might be out in the country somewhere or else a lot of them seem like they’re in smaller towns.

      As for quality of the house… again hard to say as so many houses here in Aus are now recently built with built in ceiling fans and aircon and bathrooms. Omg so many places in Sweden have stand-alone showers or ones with a shower curtain not built in ones with glass doors! But then houses in Sweden have lovely outdoor patios (open or enclosed) and saunas. The houses and bedrooms generally seem bigger in Sweden though (again might be because of my search terms – I don’t search under 5 rooms (lounges are included as a room) and I think I prefer their outside state too! I’m yet to decide on their indoor state…. they seem to have so much more character,but a lot of places also have wallpaper which I’m against as it’s so old-fashioned over here 😛

      /Kylie

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      1. Definitely makes a huge difference when you look at countryside vs cities, but I’ve found that you can easily get a nicely renovated 3 bedroom apartment with sauna and balcony in a city (but still close to nature) for less than $200,000 – which would be near impossible here!

        I guess it depends a lot on what you’re used to – all but 1 of the houses we’ve lived in have been built in the 60s and they have had shocking insulation (it can get down to 10 degrees inside the house here in winter!), terrible windows and doors which are not secure and don’t line up properly with the frames, and were just generally ugly inside and out! Even the newish build we lived in felt like it was done to a cheap standard compared to what you find in newer or renovated homes in Finland. Our current house has the original 60s bathroom (not even the taps have been replaced), complete with pink tiles which are starting to come off the walls 😜

        Hehe, I don’t mind a bit of wallpaper if it’s subtle! But I have definitely seen some over-the-top ones that give you a headache to look at 😀

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  2. Yep, it’s the same sort of thing in Sweden 🙂 Big homes and cheap price tags, but also a lot older houses which will sometimes turn me off looking at some if it’s starting to look really shabby on the outside, but then sooo many have been fully (or almost fully) renovated inside. But at the moment I’m used to most of my family and friends in Aus living in newer, modern houses so it’s quite a change for me! But on the other hand, all of these houses have tiny bedrooms. But lovely kitchens and bathrooms. I feel our houses in Qld get cold in winter at night when it gets down to 10 degrees because it seems no one thinks Qld houses need heating 😛 But seems most places in Scandinavia are well equipped for this! xD

    /Kylie

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