Flat hunting

If you are an estate agent in England you should be ashamed of yourself. If you are an estate agent in Sweden you are probably an economic or business school graduate, and your mum will tell all her friends that you  are an estate agent and she will be very proud of you indeed.

In London estate agents drive you around in a Mini, showing you flats you a) don’t want to live in b) can’t afford or c) too scared of walk in to. But since I’m back in Sweden I met up with my friend Camilla who walked around the city with me looking for my new home.

In Sweden someone will always come with you on your flat hunt, this is very important and how its done. There is no surprise to me that everyone wants to come flat hunting with me, its something people enjoy doing in Stockholm. Its like a social event, its almost like pheasant hunting.

Sundays are THE day for flat hunting. Every property on the market will have an open house and a herd of people will walk in and out through the doors. On a Sunday you will see a lot of little signs on pavements where there are properties for sale. You will see a lot of people on the streets with prospects in there hands walking from one viewing to another. No Mini will drive you around showing you properties. You decided what YOU want to see and not what the estate agent want to show you.

When we arrived at the first flat there was about 25 pair of shoes (and a dog) outside the flat in the hallway. It’s so sweet! Swedish people don’t wear shoes indoors and will of course remove them before walking in to the property. Tip: make sure you where your best socks on your flat hunt!

So 25 people walk around in their best socks in a tiny flat looking around. It doesn’t take long as you don’t have to look for damp/broken boilers/windows/mould/lack of heating etc. You just look, you know everything is in order because you are in Sweden and everything is always in order.

If you like what you see you will give your name and number to the good looking Estate Agent (they are always good looking, but then again all Swedes are good looking) and he/she will call you. Note: the estate agent will call you once not everyday for the rest of your life. They will call you to ask if you want to make an offer or follow the bidding. Its like an auction, there is a starting price and from there it goes up.

In the land of IT the price update is happening via SMS. If you want to make an offer you can do this via SMS too. When the deal is done the estate agent will do everything for you, and the vendor. No solicitor, survey, cheques or time is needed. The estate agent is your friend not your enemy. In no time you will be moving all your stuff in to your new home and live happily ever after. I’m looking forward to this.

On Sunday its time again for another day of nice socks and flat hunting.


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