How to choose the apartment of your dreams
The real estate market in Finland is growing steadily and so are your choices. But how do you make sure that you buy the home you always dreamt about? We have collected some valuable tips and ideas on how to choose the property that fits you and your needs.
Define your budget
Before you start looking at apartments you should determine your budget. To estimate what you can afford, you need to know a couple of things: 1) how much you earn and 2) how much savings/collateral you have.
In Finland, banks typically require you to have 15 % (or 5 % if you are a first-time apartment buyer) of the apartment’s debt-free price (velaton hinta), saved prior to purchasing property. You should also have a look at your income. Repayment and interest on the loan shouldn’t exceed 35 % of your total earnings after tax. Many banks offer various tools (asuntolainalaskuri) with which you can calculate the repayment amount.
Example for non-first-time buyer: Savings: 15 000€ (max loan from bank / 100 000 €) Earnings after tax: 2000 € (repayments with interest shouldn’t exceed 700 € per month)
Structure and prioritize your needs
When you know your budget, you can start thinking about what kind of apartment you would like to buy. A good way to start is by deciding if you want to live in an apartment (asunto) or a house (omakotitalo). Think about how many square meters and rooms you prefer. Would you like to have a sauna or a balcony? What type of kitchen would be suitable for you: open kitchen (avokeittiö), small, but cute, pantry kitchen (keittiökomero) or maybe you dream is to have a kitchen island (saareke) in your apartment?
Then you should think about the location. In what kind of area would you like to live in? It's worth reading about and getting to know different areas of your city. Think about the location of your work and hobbies and how close to them the apartment should be situated. If you enjoy being in nature, you might consider buying a home near a park or a forest (luckily, we are in Finland and even in the city center there is a great amount of beautiful parks). If you like city life, you might want to buy a place in the city centre or somewhere with good public transport connections to the city.
When you know your budget and what kind of home you want, you can easily narrow down your search to a specific price, area and housing type. Searching for apartments is easy through Etuovi or Oikotie, which are the largest listing sites for apartments in Finland.
Be active and curious
Now you can search for particular offers on the market. When going to apartment viewings, you shouldn’t be afraid of asking questions. Seize the opportunity to walk around the neighbourhood. Pay attention to infrastructure: is it convenient to get to work/school/kindergarten from that area? What kind of shops and supermarkets are situated nearby? What kind of public transport runs in the area?
It’s always worth checking out a few different options before making an offer. Discuss the apartment with your family and friends and compare different alternatives (making a pros and cons list can also be a good idea). Don’t hurry, take your time and give it some thought. If you buy an apartment through Blok, you can always call our real estate experts for guidance and tips.
Good luck! We hope that these tips will help you find your dream home!