Blog

Tips for finding accommodation in Stockholm

Finding accommodation

New to the city? Looking for a bigger apartment? Or maybe you simply feel like changing the area you live in? Then you need to start searching for an apartment. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve selected a few ideas on how you can find an apartment.

 

Online portals

This is a super convenient (and our personal favourite) way of browsing for a fresh start. Get online and find an accommodation search site for your city. The available rooms/apartments are online with full descriptions and prices. You just have to search through the ads and contact the landlords.

If you’re searching for an apartment in Stockholm, we highly recommend Hibih.com. It’s convenient and easy to use. And not only can you search for vacant rooms, you can find flatmates as well! Simply create an account and start searching.

 

Word of mouth

This is one of the best (and probably fastest) ways of finding a new roof over your head. Tell your friends that you’re looking for a new apartment. Post it on your private social media sites. You might just get lucky and find a friend or a friend of a friend who owns an apartment or happens to have moved out of an apartment and tells you about a vacant room. This way you’ll find out about all the pros and cons of a certain apartment first hand. And apartment owners usually prefer taking someone they (briefly) know faster.
Social media

There are many city groups on different social media. Follow the ones for Stockholm or Sweden and either scroll through the ads or post that you are searching for an apartment. With a wide localized audience you will have more choices.

A bit more caution is required in order to avoid any spam or scam, though. When you go see an apartment, do take a friend with you and never pay any deposits until you’ve seen the apartment and the contract.

 

Agent

If you don’t mind paying a fee, then getting in touch with an agent is an easy solution to your apartment search problem. You tell them what you want and they do all the work. The agent will call you when they find a place that matches your criteria and you look and choose. You’ll probably be busy talking on the phone with the agent every day, but at least they’ll release you from the burden of going through ALL the apartment descriptions.

 

Newspaper

Old school, but it works. Grab a local newspaper and start browsing through the ads. You’ll have to make a lot of phone calls, but it just might be worth it.


How to make the most of your apartment in summer

 

Apartment in summer

The summer is officially here! The days are longer and staying outside is more fun and enjoyable. You’ve probably been out upgrading your summer wardrobe. Now it’s time to freshen up your apartment as well. Open the windows, pimp up that sofa and bring in the summer vibes!

You know you’re going to love waking up in your summer sheets. Here are a few tips on what you can do around your apartment in summer to help you enjoy the summer even more!

 

Bug repellent

One thing you want to keep out of your apartment are bugs. Install nets on windows, over your bed and place some natural bug repellents around the house. Use old stockings and wrap cinnamon and cloves inside. Dried lavender will not only smell nice, the purple shades will look beautiful on your window sill as well. And it will keep the bugs away!

If you feel like having a little herb garden, these long days are the time to start creating it. It will not only be useful in the kitchen, it will help against bugs as well. Plant rosemary, mint, lemongrass or basil.  They look, taste and smell great. To you, not the bugs!

 

Saving

Summer is great for saving some money as well. You don’t need any heating and thanks to the long days you don’t need as much electricity either. You do have to be careful with the A/C and fans, though. Don’t leave it on when you leave the house. Only use it when really necessary and in the room you are using at a given moment. This way less energy gets wasted. And definitely do not use A/C with windows open. You can however cool the apartment down naturally by opening all the windows.

Colors

Pimp up your apartment by using bright and light colors. Sheets, table runners and cushions should make you think summertime when you look at them.

It’s also the time to decorate your balcony and make it really enjoyable for coffee in the morning sun or a glass of wine in the evening!

 

Reparations

If there’s anything broken or needs replacement in the apartment, this is the time to fix it! Make a list of everything and let your landlord know.

If any big renovations are due, you can let the workers in and you can pack your bags and go on vacation or crash at a friend’s place. Much easier moving around in nice weather with a bag of summer clothes than in winter!

Also, if there are any heavy paints or polishes used in the renovation process, you can just leave the windows open for a long time to let the bad smells out!

 

Social gatherings

Summer is one of the best times to have parties on the balcony or at least with windows open and fresh air breezing through. Decorate the apartment with lights, make some cocktails with your flatmates, invite friends over and dance the summer evenings away!


Summer activities to do with your flatmates

Summer activities

Having flat mates is not only a cost efficient way of living. If you’re an expat it can be a great way of making friends as well. You can go out and about the city you live in or have some fun together in your rented accommodation! With the summer right at our doorstep, here’s a list of summer activities that you could do with your flat mates in the summer. Whether indoors or outdoors, there’s always many fun things to do in the summer months!

 

Getaway

 

You could plan a trip you’d like to take with your flat mates. Whether it’s exploring the city you live in, going for brunch somewhere or doing a weekend getaway. How does going to Mallorca with a budget airline sound? This is especially doable in the summer months! Lighter clothes means less baggage allowance!;)

 

 

Cocktail night

 

If you’re looking for a fun night out without having to leave your house, how about trying out a bunch of refreshing summer inspired cocktails at home? Get the shaker, mixers and garnish, and write down a list of cocktails on some paper. Pick one at a time and do your best in mixing and trying.

You could even do a competition. Have two flat mates compete which one finishes a given cocktail faster! The winner of the eve could get a month off of cleaning the apartment, maybe? Or a more practical award you all agree on.

 

Outdoor activities

Summer is the time to leave the apartment (as cozy as it might be) and take part in some fun outdoor activities. Go to the pool, for a jog around the city or a simple stroll for a drink at a waterfront bar. Whatever it is, make the best use of the warm weather!

 

Gardening

Whether you have a balcony, a garden or just some window sills, plants always make a good impression in a room. Especially in the warmer months when you can keep the windows open more often. It definitely brings a fresher look to a room. Deciding on which plants you want to keep is a fun task to do with your flat mates. Getting your hands dirty and planting those seeds maybe not so much. It will give you a special sense of achievement. And it will make your BBQ event look even cooler when you use herbs from your home garden. Or make a salad with those cherry tomatoes you planted with your flat mates.

 

Rearrange the flat

 

Every now and then it feels good to rearrange a room. The beginning of summer is the perfect timing for that. Pick a room to rearrange with your flatmates. Choose the kitchen, living room or a shared bathroom to work on. Maybe even take a trip to IKEA beforehand and get some brighter colored and light textiles to make the chosen room feel homier and fresher. You will have more enjoyable time hanging out together in a room that you have decorated together!


How to achieve a happy flatmate relationship

Rules for flatmates

Having a happy flatmate relationship takes some time and organizational skills. It is a small community and you want everyone to be content and avoid any unnecessary fallouts. Finding flatmates who are on the same level as yourself is the first step to achieving this. The second would be sitting down with everyone, discuss any issues and set some ground rules. There’s probably no harm if the rules are broken every now and then. But as long as everyone is clear about the boundaries and follows the agreed on rules most of the time, you should run a happy flatmate relationship. Here are some things you should probably talk about:

 

Cleaning

 

What people do with their own rooms is their business. But shared spaces should be kept neat and clean at all times by all flatmates. Unless you’ve all decided to outsource this to professional cleaners, set up a cleaning schedule. If everyone knows when it’s their time to vacuum or clean the bathroom, it will be easier to avoid a conflict.

 

Refrigerator

 

In order to avoid any “who ate my favorite yogurt?” incidents, decide which fridge shelf belongs to which flatmate. This way you all have your own zones and other flatmates are not allowed to take food from other shelves. It’s also easier to see if any items are approaching the expiration date and consume them sooner rather than later.

 

Bathroom times

If there’s just one bathroom in your house, it could be a good idea to set bathroom times according to your work schedule. Decide how much morning bathroom time should be allocated per person. It’s easier to avoid frustration if there’s a schedule everyone follows.

 

Visitors

Everyone is probably going to have friends stay over or family visiting. But in order to prevent arguments, you could set some visitor rules as well. E.g. have a board in the hallway to announce a visitor is coming.

If you have unannounced visitors, make sure they don’t walk around the apartment in their underwear. If there’s something that could potentially annoy you, let that be known. For example, the partner of your flatmate who basically moved in, but doesn’t pay the rent. That is not a visitor, it’s a flatmate. So pitch in on the water bill.

 

Shared costs

When it comes to the shared costs make sure the bill is split equally and everyone regularly puts in their share. Dedicate one person (the most organized one) to collect the bills, make a sheet with all the breakdowns and show it to your flatmates. If everyone sees the numbers, they can’t argue with them. And if there’s a mistake, more people will notice it faster.

 

Saving system

In order to keep the maintenance bills as low as possible, make sure everyone agrees on switching unused appliances and lights off and not wasting water.

If you’re a very organized and saving-prone team, you could even agree on sharing things. This can be anything from a smoothie maker to a car. If you only need it for occasional trips, you could all buy one together and make a schedule for when it’s used.


What not to forget when apartment hunting in spring

Apartment hunting in spring

Spring is here, the temperatures are slowly going up and everything is starting to sprout little by little. You’re thinking of apartment hunting in spring as well? That’s great. But with your thoughts almost up in the summer clouds, there are a few questions you might forget to ask. Simply because they are things more related to winter days. Some things just might not pop up in your mind immediately as the warmer days are at the doorstep.

As for where to look for apartments (any time of year), Hibih is certainly our website of choice. But before you sign anything and grab the keys, below are a few key points you shouldn’t forget to ask when renting in spring:

 

Utility costs
This is a question you should ask regardless when searching for a new home to rent. But because the lowest costs happen to be in summer, make sure you find out the winter costs as well. Heating and electricity can rise sky high during a cold winter. Less natural light means more artificial light. More cold means more heating. And it all results in a bigger utility bill. So instead of asking about the average, you might want to know the winter highest.

Which brings us to the following question:

 

Way of heating

Make sure you have all the answers about how an apartment or house is heated. Some heating options are more expensive than others. This might help you decide whether it’s worth taking an apartment just for the summer or long term.

 

Sun exposure

In relation to the previous point, you should be interested in how sunny the apartment gets on an average winter day. More sun will lower the heating costs because the natural heat keeps it warmer. More sunlight also means less artificial light. It’s better for your eyes AND it lowers the electricity bill. Not to mention how much more comfortable one feels in a brighter apartment as well!

 

Public transportation

You might be glad that you live in a city where you can pedal your way around. You can observe the beautiful scenery, do something good for yourself and the environment and get wherever you want. In the warmer months at least. But when rain and snow strike, you might feel more comfortable using public transportation. So don’t forget to check how far it is to the next metro or bus stop.

 

Winter conditions

Depending on where your apartment is located, you want to make sure that you can access it at any time. Regardless of winter conditions. You should find out who’s responsible for clearing the snow in front of the building. You know, for those snowed up mornings, when you happen to ignore the alarm clock. You don’t want to be the one shuffling the snow away first thing in the morning. But you don’t want the utility bill going sky high for outsourcing the job either. Check whether this service is provided by the building administrator and how much surcharge that makes per month.


Spring maintenance tips for your rented accommodation

Spring maintenance tips

Keeping your rented apartment well maintained will not only make you feel good but will also ensure you get the deposit back once you move out. And if you’re living with flatmates, it’s even more important to keep things organized.

It is wise to do a deep clean and maintenance check-up at least once a year. And what better time to do it than spring! Nature is cleaning up the winter debris and you should do the same in your rented accommodation. There are a few things we choose to forget during the usual house cleaning. Below are some tips on what you can fix around your home to maintain a clean and fresh appearance of your apartment throughout the year.

 

Furniture & fixtures

If you’re renting a furnished apartment, check all the furniture and report whatever needs fixing to your landlord. Same goes for any fixtures that need to be repaired. Whether a sink is leaking or the AC is not working properly, write it down and send an e-mail to the landlord. If you report on everything broken in the house and ensure regular maintenance, you should be able to get all the deposit back in the end.

 

Fridge cleaning

This is really important especially if you’re co-sharing your home. There’s always a yogurt in there that someone has forgotten to eat and is way past the expiration date. Some flatmates tend to cook too much food and then leave it in a Tupperware, because “they’ll eat it tomorrow”. Which just makes you wonder, which tomorrow they mean exactly?

These kind of items are simply spreading bacteria in your fridge, taking the space away for fresh produce and endangering your other food items. Take everything out, give the fridge a good clean and keep the items that are still edible. Compost the rest.

While at it, do the same with cupboards. You don’t want bugs flying out of your flour the next time you start making pancakes for breakfast.

 

Storage space

If you have access to a basement, a garage or other storage room, take out all the things you’ve been piling up in there. Clean it up and decide what you need and what not.

Organize the space to create more storage room. You can reuse old shelves from the living room to use as extra storage.

The same goes for closets and bookshelves. Take everything out, dust it off and decide on what you want to keep. Sell or give away the items, clothes, and books you have not been using.

 

Safety first

Deep cleaning of the apartment is also a good time to check on your safety gear. Replenish your first aid kit, check where the fire extinguisher is and have a quick refresher on first aid and the use of the fire extinguisher. You never know when this knowledge might come in handy!

If you have a smoke detector, make sure the batteries are still working.

 

Balcony

If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony, clean it up. Take away all the winter debris, put a table and a bench out there along with some cushions to make spring mornings enjoyable over some morning coffee with the sunrise. You might want to confirm that there aren’t any bird’s nests hiding in some corner! Unless you want little pigeons joining you for coffee, that is.

If you don’t have an outside area, then create a dining area, which will make for relaxing spring mornings and summer eves by an open window over a cup of tea or glass of wine!


How to easily get a spring vibe in your apartment

Spring vibe in your apartment

The winter is slowly retracting and we can already smell tiny signs of spring in the air. It’s starting to give us a fresh blast of energy that we only get this time of year. What better time to freshen up and give a spring vibe to your rented apartment as well! And get rid of whatever is starting to look too “let’s snuggle under the blanket and wait for spring”. Because the waiting time is finally over!

So here are 5 easy tips for upgrading your rented apartment from winter to springtime:

 

Fresh air

With the cozier temperatures, you can again afford to leave the windows open for longer (you know, without freezing and all), so make use of that.

With the first rays of warm spring sunshine, open all the windows and let fresh spring air in to clear your apartment. If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony, put the pillows and mattresses out there and let them breathe in the fresh air.

Just make sure to turn off the heating, so you don’t waste any energy.

 

Spring cleaning

You’ve been collecting dust inside during the cold months? Well, the spring energy boost is perfect to use for a good springtime clean-up! If you’re living with flatmates, this is the perfect opportunity for a little community event. Everyone grabs a mop and cleans up a room of their choice.

And the best part – you can all have a drink afterward to reward yourselves for the good work! And if you would like to do this, but don’t have any flatmates yet – Hibih is the perfect place to find them!

 

Decluttering

Spring cleaning is also the perfect opportunity for you and your flatmates to declutter the apartment. Take everything out of the closets and make a pile of things you’ve been holding onto, but haven’t been using. Then either sell them or give them to someone who could use them. You will have more space and will have made some money or made someone happy with it!

 

Redecorating

You’ve got the energy and spring is the perfect time to redecorate your apartment. If your landlord allows it, you can give your walls a fresh coat of paint. If big changes are not allowed, you can always move around the furniture and upcycle that old sofa by putting a new blanket over it. Or make some new curtains for your windows. A fresh look to your apartment will certainly give you an extra energy boost!

 

Plants

A great idea for brightening up your apartment is growing some plants! It might be hard at first, but the internet is full of useful tips on home gardening. This is perfect if you have a balcony (let alone a garden, of course). But you can grow many things on your window sill as well. Obviously many plants prefer to grow in sunny areas so your apartment’s sun exposure could help a lot in how successful your home garden gets.

But nevertheless, give it a try. It’s fun and it could give you some home grown cherry tomatoes, basil or rosemary in a few months. And not only are these things tasty, they also bring vibrant colors to your home! When acquiring seeds, find out what color the plants get. This way you can choose plants that go together well. And are easy to maintain, of course.

If you are not all that into a long-term relationship with plants, then at least stop by the local market and buy a nice bouquet of spring flowers to put on your coffee table or window sill.


6 tips to help you rent your first apartment in Stockholm

Apartment for rent in Stockholm

New to Stockholm, need a roof over your head and don’t know where to start? Finding an apartment for rent in Stockholm can sound intimidating, but don’t be afraid to dive in. And remember, it might take a while before you find the perfect fit. So be patient and don’t stress about it!

Here are a few tips that will hopefully make your Stockholm accommodation search easier:

 

Location

In order to narrow down the search, you should first decide where in Stockholm you want to live. You need to consider the fact, that closer to the center you live, the more expensive the rent will be. A central location is highly demanded but think about your budget and whether it’s worth it for you to pay more for the location.

Consider the factors that affect where you live. Where is your workplace? Where is your university? What do you like to do in your free time?

If you don’t want to spend hours commuting to work or school, it might be a good idea to find an apartment close to your workplace, so you don’t waste too much of your precious time on the bus or riding your bike!

Stockholm is notably a very green city with a good public transportation network. But even so, you might want to live close to a park AND a metro station if you, for example, enjoy going for early morning runs. You will highly appreciate the time savings once you’ve moved in.

If you’re not keen on buying a car, make sure there are grocery stores in the area, as you’ll be the one carrying shopping bags back home.

 

Duration

One more thing that you will have to make a decision about is the duration of the rental. Deciding on a long term rental will make it easier to get a contract. Landlords do prefer trustworthy tenants, willing to stay longer.

 

Search

Besides newspapers and real estate agencies, there are a number of online apartment rental platforms. Of course, we strongly recommend Hibih, because it’s free, you can search from your phone and it’s easy to navigate! Besides, it’s not just an apartment finder, you can find flatmates on Hibih as well!

And don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t settle for the first apartment just because you feel pressured by the landlord or agent. See a few places, think about it and then make a decision.

 

Information

It’s your living arrangement and your money. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the apartment. The agents or landlords are there to rent it. And they should have all the information ready and should take the time to answer your questions. Whether it is the utility costs you are wondering about or whether you are allowed to do any changes in the apartment. Don’t be afraid to ask and don’t settle for something you don’t have a good feeling about!

 

Caution

There have been numerous reports of rental agreement scams, where the scammers ask for a deposit before you even get to see the apartment. After that, they vanish with the money.

If you don’t wish to become a victim of this, make sure to do your research, visit the real estate first and carefully read the agreement before signing anything or transferring any money!

 

Company

If you have the possibility, ask a friend to join you for the walkarounds. It will be more fun, you will have a second opinion and you will probably feel more comfortable than being alone in an apartment with agents or landlords.


How to affordably tackle Stockholm as an expat

Stockholm bicycle

You might have found a job before moving to Stockholm, or you are in search of one or are here for your studies. Either way, you don’t want to fall into tourist traps and overpay for your stay here. So figuring out how to handle this city in an inexpensive way is a smart thing to start with when moving to Stockholm.

You want to explore the city in your free time and get your mind off of any homesick moments. Since Stockholm can be on the expensive side, it’s wise to quickly figure out how to affordably live your life here.

Co-working spots

You have work or studying to do and don’t want to work from home because of too many distractions? Look into co-working spots. There is an admission fee, but it gives you peace and quiet. And in many cases, an unlimited amount of tea, coffee, and snacks! It is definitely cheaper than renting an office. It also enables you to meet like-minded people, make friends and even get some connections for your business.

Sharing accommodation

This one might be pretty obvious, but your rent could be one of your biggest expenses in Stockholm. Find flatmates and cut your costs instead! You pay less for the rent and for all the related expenses. Above all, you make some new friends. And where to find an apartment AND flatmates in one place? Try HibiH.

Transportation

Get a bicycle! If you don’t want to buy your own, register for the rental city bikes. It’s useful, it gets you everywhere, and you will never have just missed it. And you surely won’t have to wait for the next one. Maintenance is affordable, you don’t have to search for a parking spot, let alone pay for it!

It is one of the most used transportation options in Stockholm for a reason! It’s cheap, it’s green, and it makes you exercise. As you probably know, bicycles run on fat and save you money, while cars run on money and make you fat.

And for those odd days, when it’s too cold for your taste or you just don’t feel like riding a bike, you can always use the subway. It’s clean, fast and convenient. If you want to use it the whole day buy a daily pass, though. The single tickets are too expensive.

Sightseeing

If you want to see all the popular spots at once and get that behind you, getting a Stockholm card will really save you some of your daily budget. It gets you entry into many museums and buildings. Public transportation is also included! It might seem expensive at first, but if you plan on visiting many of the spots in town, it will definitely be worth it.

If you’ve moved to Stockholm for a longer time and are planning on having visitors stop by, you might want to plan long term visits around the city. This way, you won’t spend so much money on entry fees in the first weeks here. And once you have visitors, you can join them around the sights without feeling bored (for it being your 10th time in the modern art museum).

Food

Go to different stores and markets to see what they offer. Compare prices to see which one is the cheapest and most convenient for you.

When dining out stay away from big busy streets. Places like Gamla Stan for example. It is beautiful for having a stroll and taking photos, but not so much for cheap eats.

Drinks

As for drinks, the prices are quite high so your best shot (pun totally intended) is to make some local friends and let them introduce you to the best happy hours in town. Oh, and practice saying “Skål” (it’s the Swedish for “Cheers”).

You could use this as an excuse to make a trip to a neighboring country, where alcoholic beverages are cheaper. So, everywhere but Norway. Or, actually, DO go to Norway – beer will seem quite affordable in Sweden after that trip!


How to adjust to expat life in Stockholm

Skyline of Stockholm

Stockholm is a vibrant cosmopolitan capital with long summer days, nice views, and abundant candle-light dinners on long winter afternoons. Whether you’ve just moved here or are thinking about starting to call this city your home, there are a few things to consider to help you settle in.

There are many expats in this exciting city and there’s always something to do there, so with some resourcefulness, you should do just fine in adapting to Stockholm. Below are a few hardships you might encounter when moving to Stockholm. Preparing for them in advance could save you some trouble.

 

Finding a place to call home

 

Finding an apartment in Stockholm can be overwhelming. If you are feeling lost in the Swedish rental system, here is an explanation of the different rental contracts.

What kind of an apartment you go for depends on your situation, but sharing an apartment is probably the smartest choice. Apart from splitting the bill, it has other advantages as well. It gives you the opportunity to make new friends – your flatmates! When you’re feeling homesick, it is comforting to have someone at home to chase away the loneliness with. Your flatmates might have more experience in how it all works in Sweden. What better way of getting a solution to a problem – just knock on your flatmate’s door and ask!

And to avoid getting lost in the many possibilities, we highly recommend HibiH for finding the right flatmate and available shared apartment for rent in Stockholm.

 

Going green

 

Once you’ve moved to your new apartment, you might encounter a new challenge – separating your garbage. Sweden is one of the recycling leaders and among the most sustainable countries in the world. And once you move there, you have to embrace this as well. It might seem like a hassle in the beginning (especially if you come from somewhere where recycling is not so common) but just go with the flow. It will become a habit before you know it. And by doing something good for the environment, you will feel good as well!

Learn from how they recycle and what good it does for reducing the waste. Grab this opportunity to become more sustainable yourself. Shop locally and bring your own bag when you shop. The Swedes, nature, and your future self will appreciate it.

 

Language

 

English is widely spoken in Stockholm and other big cities in Sweden, but it is highly appreciated if you can speak (some) Swedish. It will also save you a lot of trouble when dealing with any official matter or getting lost in the middle of nowhere.

Do make the effort to take a course. The best part is, the government offers free courses for foreigners!

Speaking Swedish will make the adjustment to a new city easier, help you at work and might help you make some friends. Go to a “språkcafé”, where you can practice Swedish for free and make some friends! And if your flatmates are Swedish, just imagine the good impression you will make on them! Which brings us to the last point:

 

Socializing

 

This is probably the most important aspect of the settling in process. You have left your friends in your previous destination, so you have to make a new circle in your new home. Now, the Swedes are said to have somewhat of an introvertive nature so you will have to make effort to make friends.

It is probably a clever idea to join the many expat events and groups on social networks. It will definitely make you go out and meet people. And it gives you the opportunity to occasionally whine about the sorrows of being an expat. Because even with all the perks of being an expat, everyone has a bad day once in a while. And having a drink in one of the cool bars in Gamla Stan with a friend will surely make you feel better.