Getting Out Of Mom's House
Updated: Jul 25
A detail that perhaps should not be underestimated when deciding to move, not necessarily to another state, even simply 20 meters from mom's house, is the search for a home. A sufficiently important element in the life of each of us that requires great mental effort and huge amounts of patience, is like entering the labyrinth of Ariadne and the minotaur. The house is Ariadne and the minotaur is your landlord.
The possibilities if you do not speak the very difficult local language are literally a couple, unless you arm yourself with patience - an eventuality for which I had actually already prepared you in the prologue - and a translator (google translate is enough according to my experience). But on this occasion I will only show you the "international" possibilities and I will give you two tips to interface with your possible hosts/future flatmates.
The first site, which I checked almost obsessively in the months before the transfer for any updates or new possibilities is https://housinganywhere.com/. This is nothing less than an apartment and house listing site, like any other you have ever visited. But it is designed for those who want to rent a house outside their home country, so in the search bar you just need to select the city you want to move to and when, and you will be presented with a series of ads of both empty or furnished, and in plain sight the cost of the rent, characteristics (therefore entire house, private or shared room), size, number of roommates you would have and date of availability.
From there you can then manage the different filters as you like (maximum distance from the center, maximum price and minimum and maximum sizes).
But unlike the canonical housing announcements sites, being designed to give anyone the opportunity to search and find a home abroad, housinganywhere does not allow, according to regulation, to be able to see the houses in person; someway you have to trust the accuracy of the ad and who uploaded it. In case you find yourself in a dump that is light years away from the beautiful photos you had seen, the site provides a full refund clause within 48 hours from your entry into the house, so if it goes wrong and the accommodation does not reflect the announcement - a little “catfish” to put it in juvenile jargon - you are still protected by the site.
It is also true, however, that the gray areas in this case can be many so if you can take a trip to the city you want to go to, even just for an exploratory holiday or to start filling out the bureaucracy as I did, take a look at the houses certainly makes you feel more serene. The site also does not allow you to share mobile numbers or emails, each conversation must take place within the site, but we understood each other.
All that the site will ask you for for the service offered is €150 which is added to the deposit and the first month's rent, but only at the first payment, it will never happen again.
Another great possibility, which to be honest I had never even considered, are the long-term bookings of Airbnb (the famous site on which short-term private houses are rented which usually represent a cheap alternative to hotels but you know it, I don't need to be here to introduce it to you).
Well, just before moving, I discovered that some hosts on Airbnb give a discount on the total price on bookings that exceed 28 days, without requiring any deposit. Consequently, if your financial resources are limited this can be a very attractive solution, not necessarily for years - because it is always an Airbnb, so you will not have regular roommates most of the time but short-term guests - it also depends on the quantity of minimum nights requested by the host in the booking, which can become quite destabilizing in a situation where you are trying to build a new life and therefore a solid foundation is needed.
But to begin with, getting into the system a bit and collecting some money needed to then stabilize in a more solid accommodation is in my opinion just fine. It will also be a way to get to know people and get out of your shell a bit, given that the Finns’ one is quite thick and requires patience.
Since in one way or another to enter a house you must necessarily have to deal with those who live there or rent it, I’ll give you two tips on how to communicate with local landlords:
They are EXTREMELY straightforward, Finns are known to be people who don't go around things too much but rather go straight to the point, in all areas of their life. So be direct too, which doesn't mean being rude or impolite, just tell them who you are and what you want from them (and hope they'll answer you).
Speak serenely in English: 70% of Finns have an excellent level of English, especially in large towns, so they will have no problem communicating in that language, indeed, based on my experience if a Finn realizes that Finnish is not your first language or that you do not master it at 100% instead of slowing down their speech they will answer you in English, which in a sense is really nice of them but on the other hand it does not help very much those who want to learn this difficult language.
When is the best time to move? Depends:
If, like me, you come from a country in the Mediterranean/temperate belt, perhaps the most suitable period is between the end of spring and the beginning of summer, you will feel much less the trauma of the temperature change - however you will feel it, believe me - and you will have the chance to enjoy the endless, literally, finnish summer days. In general, the cultural and geographical shift will be much less strong than if you move in cold periods. In that case, good luck.