Sunday, March 11, 2007

House hunting

Finding a home is difficult enough, finding a home is a foreign country is another challenge. If you are an luxury expat, your company may provide services of "relocation agent". Us mortals do it alone, with some help from friends.

Buy or rent ? Also possibilities inbetween exist. (Waiting for N to fill in about asumisoikeusasunnot and perhaps even asunto-osakeyhtiö)

Flats for rent come in categories such as
* funds and non-profit organizations (HOAS for students)
* large investors (insurance companies, banks)
* social background (city council, VVO = state fund) Note: even though there is a limit in income, these do not have such a bad stigma as in some countries.
* private people, long term (investors and those who inherited grandma's flat and keep it until kids grow)
* private people, short term (people expatting themselves)

Only the first and last group sometimes are furnished, and not even those always.
"Non-furnished" still includes basic kitchen machinery and cupboards (unlike in Italy).
Dishwasher and washing machine are rare, but usually houses which consist of several rental flats, have a laundry room in the basement.

Where to find one ?
* Sunday newspaper
* Oikotie in web (and Keltainen pörssi)
* friends
* the newsgroups linked to this page (Expat-Finland and FinlandForum). Finlandforum newsgroup has links to translated laws "Act on residential leases")

Basic vocabulary:
* Vuokralle tarjotaan = Available for renting
* 2h+k = two rooms (bedroom and living room) and kitchen
* 2h+kk = two rooms (bedroom and living room) and minikitchen / cooking corner
* kaksio = 2h+k or 2h+kk
* yksiö = 1h+k or 1h+kk
* kolmio = 3h+k or 3h+kk (rare)
* p, parv, parveke = balcony
* s = sauna
* kph, kylp, kylpyh, kylpyhuone = bathroom (read: no sauna)
* khh, kodinhoitohuone = utility room
* upea = gorgeous (read: relatively expensive for the area)
* vapaa = ready to move in
* kerrostalo = block of flats
* rivitalo = chain house

(to be continued)

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