The autumn chill has come through Stockholm and it’s gotten really cold these last few weeks, which means more time spent inside. Aside from spending time inside with friends and loved ones, another thing I do look through my financial situation and recalibrate based on my goals. Boring, right? Yes, but it can save or earn you some money with very little effort!
One big thing I recently did was to move my mortgage loan from one of the big banks — SEB — to Nordnet. I’ve had SEB for six years and it was time for me to renew my rates again.
SEB and the other banks simply won’t give you a good mortgage rate unless you’re willing to invest significant amounts of your monthly salary in one of their products. It doesn’t need to be an SEB-managed mutual fund, but obviously those are the ones they’re going to push.
(for information on buying an apartment, see this other post!)
Sorry for the delay, but the process took much longer than I expected (as with most things) – but the good news is, we sold the place in our building so I’m happy to report back with some tips and tricks for those of you thinking about selling. Note that the time lapsed had nothing to do with a difficult Stockholm market or anything – it was simply due to logistics with the holiday season.
The most important thing is to find a real estate agent that you personally feel comfortable with. Rapport with your agent is the most important thing you can invest in, and that should be highest on your priority list regardless of the commission they’re charging. Transactions will probably go relatively smoothly, but when they don’t, you want to know that the person you’ve trusted with the job of selling will go to bat for you. In addition, this agent will represent YOUR personal and legal interests as well as the legal interests’ of the buyer; there is no concept of a buy-side agent in Sweden.
I’m about to facilitate the sale of an apartment in my building on behalf of our homeowner’s association (I’m a Board member). I’m meeting with a few real estate agents/firms to evaluate their offerings and will make a recommendation to the Board. This is new for me – I’ve only ever bought property in Sweden – so if you have any questions, leave a reply and I’ll try to get the answer for everyone.
I’ll blog more about this when the process has moved along a bit…
Many of my friends in Stockholm – Americans and Swedes alike – have hosted Thanksgiving dinners over the years. Each of them spent hours slaving away in the kitchen, poring over a cook book or an Internet how-to guide, and the results have (fortunately) always been a delicious turkey with the trimmings. I’m usually a guest so I typically bring a side, some wine, and of course, my big appetite. Each year, it’s been a lovely evening with tons of food and wine, good laughter with dear friends, and the usual food coma that comes right after the turkey. And yet, for an expat, Thanksgiving doesn’t quite feel the same as it does back home: Continue reading →
I just moved my blog off of wordpress.com and onwards to my own server. Hopefully everything works just as well as before, but if something’s broken (comments, articles, pictures) just let me know and I’ll take a look at it.
Have you heard of the famous Google, Facebook, and Apple commuter buses that ferry their employees from San Francisco to their corporate Silicon Valley campuses? It is a love hate relationship; the employees love them but the community have really turned against them, mostly because they see the buses as symbols of gentrification and displacement. Rents and property values in the areas where the commuter shuttles pick-up employees have apparently increased faster than other areas. I don’t have enough data to comment on this issue, but I did want to comment on something else!
I recently read an article¹ about San Francisco gathering public feedback around the idea of a centralized transportation hub for private commuter shuttles instead of having stops all over San Francisco. I then read a follow-up article² where they analyzed the different responses against the respondents’ IP addresses and zip codes to figure out where the respondents most likely worked. I read through these comments just to get an idea of the sentiment from the community. Continue reading →
I’ve lived in Sweden for almost 8 years now and fortunately, I’ve been gainfully employed this entire time (crossing fingers). These years have given me a lot of insight into how different it is to work at a Swedish company when compared to an American company.
Here’s a few of my observations over the years… Treat this as a cheat sheet to understanding Swedish business culture just a bit better! Continue reading →
One of the biggest complaints you hear from folks in Stockholm is that parking is atrocious and is incredibly expensive. This is true, but it’s all relative, right? Folks, I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area. While the suburbs in the SF Bay are parking-friendly, the streets of San Francisco proper are definitely not.
I have some big and exciting news! As of October 3, 2013, your dear blogger is an official Swede! That’s right – I am a naturalized citizen of this country! Don’t worry, I didn’t give up my American citizenship – nope, all I did was add to it. I even managed to get my Swedish passport – it only took 3 days.
Most people congratulated me this week and asked how it felt. My friend Victoria gave me a little “Welcome to Sweden” goodie bag filled with nostalgia-triggering items that apparently all Swedes of my generation owned at some point. It’s been a week, so I figured I would try to put into words the emotions that have been coursing through my veins these last few days.
The autumn weather has hit Stockholm with all of its fury. The temperature is hovering between 6c and 10c right now. I have been out of town a lot the last few weeks, but when I came back to Stockholm last night I noticed that everyone had busted out their fall/winter jackets, and the girls were back in their boots. I like the look, so I’m glad it’s still in fashion!
I’ve been working in the UK the last few weeks on a project. My team is comprised of my colleagues from the Stockholm office. We don’t know each other that well so we had an opportunity to bond around meals. One evening, we started discussing about how Swedes behave when they get into a situation where they don’t want to do something but don’t really know how to tell you. It makes for an interesting situation since Swedes really dislike confrontation, so how do they resolve this conundrum?