A crash course into Finnish Rental apartment viewing, Part 2

Searching for an apartment can be time-consuming, but once you find an apartment that you are interested in, it is important to act fast and try to arrange a viewing as soon as possible. This is especially valid for the bigger cities like Helsinki capital area.

In the previous blog, we discussed the aspects to consider when looking for a rental apartment in Finland. In this blog our team has gathered some time tested and important tips regarding the practicalities associated with viewing the apartment that you are interested to rent.


Types of apartment viewings

Apartment viewings are commonly divided in two different types showings - public and private viewings. The public viewings are mostly organized by a real estate agency. The time and date of such viewings are often published in the same web page as the apartment is advertised on. If you are participating in a public viewing, make sure that you arrive on time, because the time allocated to these viewings is short (e.g. 15 minutes). Before attending a public viewing, it is recommended to check, if you need to prefill any applications either online or on paper.

Hint: In the case of public viewings, try to be at the location a bit earlier than the agreed time or linger a bit longer in the apartment while you are visiting. In this case you will a better chance to chat with the agent and show your interest towards renting the apartment, which can affect the final decision later on. It is important to build trust at viewings.

Private viewings require more coordination with the real state agency, the agent, or the landlord of the apartment. Depending on whether the apartment is rented out through a rental agency or a private person, there are certain steps to be taken.


Arranging an apartment viewing

The best way to find out about this, is to check the webpage where the apartment is advertised. In Helsinki, apartments are generally rented out through a rental agency or a private person. Therefore, there are different ways of arranging a viewing. If an apartment is rented out through a real estate agency, often one needs to send a rental application via the agency’s website. The rental agency will then contact you, if your profile is matching the apartment.

Hint: After submitting an apartment rental application to a real state agency, it is good to also contact the responsible agent to show your interest towards the apartment and even possibly agree on a viewing appointment. If the contact information of the agent is not shared in the apartment advertisement, you can also make a call to the real state agency.

In other cases, the apartment that you are interested in can be rented out by a private person. Usually the name and contact information of the person is shared on a rental webpage service provider. The contact person can be, for instance, the landlord. The apartment viewing can be simply arranged by reaching the contact person and agreeing on a suitable date and time, which has grown in popularity in Finland.

Hint: When contacting a private apartment owner, it is better to first approach them via e-mail. Include in the message a short introduction of yourself and describe your current situation. After that, it is good to also make a call to emphasize on your interest in renting the apartment.


At the viewing

The viewing is, of course, the best time to see the apartment closely. Do some measurements and ask the agent your questions. Some of the topics to discuss at the viewing can include:

  • if there are any big renovations coming up in the near future,
  • the possible day to move in,
  • how to collect the keys,
  • the availability of storage room in the apartment/building,
  • parking space,
  • bike storage and
  • if the building is offering common sauna and laundry room.

The viewing is a good time to check out the overall situation and maintenance of the apartment and the building. Have look at the oven, stove and the fridge. If you are unhappy with the kitchen appliances, try to kindly ask the agent/landlord, if it is possible to get some of the appliances replaced. In addition, it is wise to have a tape measure with you to be able to measure the size of the rooms and see whether your furniture will fit. When inspecting the bathroom, check if there is enough room for a laundry machine/drier in case you are planning to buy one.

In addition to the apartment itself, it is recommended to check out the neighborhood while you are there. The matters to consider can be for instance: the distance to the closest supermarket, the public transport (e.g. closest bus/metro stop), availability of other services nearby (e.g. gym or a sport center). In case you are with family, check for the closest school or day care. If you have a dog, you may want to check for a good park in the neighborhood.


After the viewing

After the viewing, if you are still interested to rent the apartment, make sure to say this right away and clearly to the agent.

“I am interested to rent this apartment.”

It is important to aim to decide fast and act quickly, otherwise the apartment can be rented out to another candidate. If in the near time you have any other viewings and those apartments fit your needs better, you can try to negotiate with the current realtor and ask for 1-2 days to think about this option.

At the end of the day, it is important to find an apartment, which feels like home.


Stay tuned for the “Settling into your new rental apartment, Part 3” where we give you some tips regarding the practicalities after apartment viewing and what to keep in mind when preparing to sign the rental contract.