Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wonderful Kungsholmen

By a stroke of happenchance, i have managed to secure a property in Stockholm, Sweden! No more words like andrahand, and studentbosted, hyresrätt and all the moving around associated with not owning a flat in Sweden.

Firstly, the whole process of bidding on a flat here in Sweden is completely ridiculous and leaves so many open ended situations whereby a buyer is not at all assured that he is bidding against an entity that can actually afford a flat. The system here is set up that the real estate agent works for both the BUYER and SELLER...hmmm can anyone say the words: CONFLICT OF INTEREST??

On top of this, when you make a bid for a place, lets say the utropspris or starting price of a flat, the seller is under no obligation to actually sell the flat if you are the one and only bidder! What's the point?? An auction has a defined starting time, starting bid or reserve, and ending time, this is how an auction works. I wonder how successful ebay would have been if sellers could just end their auctions if they didnt get the price they were looking for?

I personally had a horrible experience with the real estate agent that the seller used. He seemed to be completely incompetant like he just started working at his job but no he had been there years! Hans Göthe was the company involved. I wont name the mäklare involved in my tranaction but some of my favorite exchanges of conversation with him included:

ME: Hi, i need to know if there were cats or any other animals in the flat before i moved in
HG: Im not aware of there being any cats or other animals in the apartment.

ME: The seller left her broken furniture in the flat and there is a leak in the sink!
HG: You said it was ok to leave the furniture and the person whom inspected the flat for you surely saw the leaking sink, it was purchased befintlig skick..
ME: You never said the furniture was broken, if you had, i wouldnt have taken it, why would i want to have to deal with broken furniture. The person who inspected the flat for me didnt see any leaks, why didnt you mention anything to her
HG: Its the inspectors job to notice all these things
ME: Is it not your job to list all deficiencies in the flat so that I know about them
HG: My only job it to find a buy and seller and bring them together.
ME: Could i not replace you with a well formatted web page and save the 30,000 SEK commission?
HG: I guess so.

Anyways, I digress....i could go on forever, it was a very interesting if not frustrating experience as I had to purchase from a distance since I was moving here from Malmö.

The funny thing is that bidders can simply make bids on a place without the agent checking if they can actually afford the apartment, i know this as thats what I did!! Granted i wasnt buying a place on Strandvägen however a bit of background checking is the least you could ask of an agent! i wouldnt want to be outbid by someone who cant actually afford the place and forced to pay more and conversely as the seller what if the buyer pulls out for no reason? There is no recourse. In fact thats how I got my place, a buyer pulled out at the last minute and as a result lost about 25,000 SEK.

It all seems very silly to me. But then again, im from Canada.

I should count my lucky stars that I can even own a property here in Sweden. Many countries do not allow foreigners to do this.

However at the end of the day, im now somewhat settled into my very small flat (thats has now shower by the way, thats down the hall, i have to renovate) but then again, im a 4 min walk to central station, a 3 min walk to the beach, and a 15 min walk to stureplan or södermalm....boy i love being central!

The Swedish word of the day is: 'trångt' which means tight or narrow

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