Hello everybody and welcome to this new post! Today, I’m going to give you some advice on how to find housing in Stockholm advoiding scams, worries and wasted time. But first, I suggest you to read the more general blog post on how to find housing in Stockholm, so that you can have a broader picture before diving into these tips!
Finding an apartment in Stockholm is just like finding one in another big European city: it takes time and patience. My best advice not to stress out is to subscribe to SSSB right away and to start looking for housing on the private market as soon as possible. Probably, the best thing is to find an apartment in the private market for the first weeks/months that you’re here, and to start applying to SSSB apartments once you have enough credit days: it is a bit risky to only rely on SSSB when you don’t have a lot of credit days. In general, try to dedicate a little bit of time every day to look for housing (even only 30/45 minutes), and you will see that in a couple of weeks/months you will have found your place in Stockholm! Remember: it is very difficult to find a place in Central Stockholm, so extend your search to the suburbs right from the start (public transport works great here).
Never pay anything in advance
This is probably the most important tip I’m going to give you today: never pay anything before having signed the contract and being 100% sure that the house exists! No matter the website you use to look for housing, it is crucial that you insist with the owner to have a videocall (or, even better, a visit) of the apartment so that you can check that the apartment (and the owner) effectively exist and that the apartment coincides with what you’re looking for. The two things are equally important: during my search for housing in Stockholm, I found myself in both cases. One of the first owners I contacted refused to have a videocall saying that “he had no time”, and another one had a videocall with me and I could clearly see that the house was different from the pictures on the website: it was much older, more dirty and with less furniture than indicated. Also, having a call with the owner may help you understand if he/she is trustworthy or not.
Be wary of people who rush you
There are plenty of people looking for an apartment in Stockholm. Be wary of those who start to stress you out and rush you, saying that they need money as soon as possible to “block the apartment” because there are other people interested. Normally, these people are scammers who try to have money as fast as possible and then disappear. Always take your time: ask for a videocall, see the contract, and then pay once you have signed. You should do things in this order and not the other way around!
Do background checks
Everytime you find a house advert, always do your background checks. In general, remember: if it looks too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true! In particular, I suggest you to use websites such as Hitta to check that who’s renting you the apartment effectively exists and where they are residing. Also, if you find an announcement to be suspicious, save the apartment pictures and do a quick search on Google Search to see if the images have already been used in another announcement.
Avoid Facebook groups
There are various websites specialised in apartment search which usually perform background checks on the owners and the announcement and can, therefore, be considered reliable. You should still apply the recommendations I just gave you, but many times it could be unnecessary. Well, this is NOT true with Facebook. Facebook, Instagram and other non-specialised websites don’t perform any kind of control on their users, meaning they are full of bots and scammers. In my personal experience, I found social media groups to be nothing but a huge waste of time: you receive tons of messages from bots, you need to filter them out, and you need to be extra careful with every person you talk to. This doesn’t mean that you cannot use them in any case – you may still check them sometimes – but do not rely 100% on them! If you find an apartment on Facebook or any other social media, be extra careful.
Finally, a general recommendation: better safe than sorry. The best way to avoid scams is to use the right websites (that you can find in this previous blog post) and your common sense. If you are in doubt or are not 100% sure, then look for something else!
That is all for today’s post. Once again, if you still haven’t, I suggest you to check our previous post on how to find housing in Stockholm, where you will find more info on suggested websites, how student housing works and other indications. Also, don’t forget to check Martyna’s latest post on why choosing KTH!
I wish you a great weekend, see you at the next post.