Moving house in Finland doesn’t need to be a daunting affair.
MOVING house is never simple, but as a foreigner, trawling the endless estate agency, private rentals and student accommodation websites using Google’s rusty “Translate Page” function can be tedious. You have already lugged your belongings halfway around the globe, and like most of us, through the generosity of in-laws and fellow travelers, have probably acquired a load more baggage..
The good news, according to Aris Hamidulla, Managing Director of Takio Real Estate Company, Helsinki is, “as long as you speak English, you’ll be okay as most of the necessary legal documents and paperwork have already been translated into English. This, coupled with Finland’s current economic climate and high unemployment rate, means that generally property prices are currently down between six and nine per cent in the Helsinki area, and between 40 and 60 per cent cheaper throughout the rest of the country.”
Finding the Area
According to Hamidulla, the first thing to do when looking for a new home is to weigh your budget against your needs. “If you need to be smack bang in the city center for whatever reason, but you only have a budget of 600 euro per month, you’ll need to accept that you’re not going to be kicking back in a 70 square metre apartment with a panoramic view of the ocean. You may however be able to find a room in a house share close to the sea if you’re willing to compromise a little.”
If, however, your private space is a little more important to you and your family, then think about moving 10 or 20 minutes outside the city. Hamidulla emphasises that even a half hour each way is not that bad for your own spot in the countryside, considering that almost anywhere in Finland comes with glorious Nordic landscapes, forests and lakes.
“First check if there are buses that meet your schedule, and if not, you may want to consider moving somewhere within walking distance of the night bus route. Otherwise weigh up the option of acquiring yourself a small car,” says Aris. It will be worth it when the weather turns cold.
Things to consider
• It is not uncommon for scam artists to advertise on websites such as craigslist and gumtree. Typical signs of a scam include emails telling potential tenants that the owner is currently out of the country on business, but if you make a deposit or security payment into their account, they will post you the key. Do not be fooled; if you do decide to rent privately, make sure to reference check your new landlords. Most Finns are cautious people too and will most likely appreciate your thoroughness.
• Remember, that after moving, Finnish law requires you to register your new address. This is a simple procedure can be done at your local post office.
• Unlike in some other European countries, most apartments in Finland are rented unfurnished.
• When leaving Finland, you need to notify the tax and registration authorities; it is recommended that you leave a forwarding address in case they need to contact you regarding any issues.
• All in all the process isn’t nearly as daunting as it seems and with friendly Finns in the moving business you should be well on your way to finding the house of your dreams.
Finding a Home:
When you have decided what type of accommodation you need, and where you will live, it is essential to contact the correct agency or people in order to find the right home. According to Hamidulla, there are a number of ways to go about this.
For student accommodation, the student accommodation program HOAS is highly recommended. “They have a comprehensive guide to applying for housing in English and will help you through the entire process from application to tenancy. Their apartments are usually of high quality and will be selectively located within close proximity to your campus. It is worthwhile noting that this process can take up to six months, so plan ahead where possible,” says Australian grad student Liam Thomas.
If you live alone, you may want to consider the option of renting privately. There are hundreds of elderly individuals whose children have moved out or work abroad temporarily and they are often willing to provide high quality housing with flexible terms and conditions at an affordable rate. Infopankki and Expat Finland have loads of useful information in English regarding everything from finding accommodation to actually moving house, and it is well worth checking out their websites.
LEHTIKUVA / RONI REKOMA / AVICTORIA KULYABKINA