New in Stockholm

“An expat’s handbook to Stockholm”

← Back to homepage

New in Stockholm icon

Before you move. Apartments

So, you’ve decided to move to Stockholm. Great, it’s a beautiful city. There are things you should do before you move.
Here’s our guide on what you need to do to prepare yourself before you land in Stockholm:.

First and foremost: begin looking for apartments!

Finding apartments in Stockholm is tough. In other countries I would expect to find something in a few days. Expect apartment hunting to take at least a month. And you can’t be picky. I know you want to have a lease that’s a minimum one year, but many contracts are just a few months. Apartments are more expensive than you would expect, and landlords are very picky with who they rent to.

There are several reason for this. One, the Swedish government has a list that you can apply to receive an apartment. These contracts are called “first hand”, and are much cheaper than subletting from a landlord who have first hand (called “second hand”). People wait on this list for years in the hopes they will one day receive something. If you plan to live in Stockholm for just a few years, don’t bother. If you consider staying here more permanently, then do it. Link to website to apply for it. Another reason for this housing crisis is that for a long time, people were allowed to take mortgages and pay off interest and not principle. These two lead to today’s situation: a serious shortage of housing.

Our suggestions:

1) Ask your employer / friends / family to help you BEFORE you move.

2) The primary place people find apartments is on a website called

Qasa, Bostad DirektBlocket, Facebook groups soon.


Things to expect:

1) You will pay the last month’s rent in advance.

2) The landlord will do a credit check on you.

3) You will feel like you are going on a date with your potential landlord.

The Swedish system works differently to other countries. The landlord is going to expect you to write a bit about yourself in your message.

After personally trying many different techniques and testing different messages, here is what I found worked best:


“Hey (Name),

My name is Ranya. I moved to Stockholm from Canada in September for a job at (Employer). I am 26 years old, have no children, no pets, non-smoking, and I’m very clean and quiet. In my free time, I like to read and knit.

I would love to see pictures of the apartment. I can of course pay a security deposit, give you references, etc.

Please let me know. I hope to hear from you soon.



In Canada I wouldn’t put so much on a dating profile. In Stockholm, it’s necessary to even get a response.

In the meantime, while you mass email for flats…move on to the next step.

Rent an Airbnb or a room for the first month. No landlord in Stockholm will rent to you until you meet them.

Finding a place to stay in Stockholm is the most common complaint I hear. The topic of rent and rental prices comes up daily. You can and will find a place, but I can’t stress this enough: you can’t be picky in the beginning. Good luck, and be patient.

Blog list