Kristina and Axels house-building journey

Our Ekudde – Kristina and Axels house-building journey

The plot

We found the plot about 15 minutes from the center of Linköping in the direction of Askeby and Bankekind. It was a perfect location for us as it combined the best of both worlds – the proximity to town but still out in the country 😊 We found a plot that would be divided into two plots. In a plot division process there are a number of things you have to go through. Here we list the most important steps.

5 steps you must go through to divide a plot:

  1. The buyer together with the landowner applies for a subdivision.
  2. The municipality’s surveying unit is investigating the matter to see if it is ok to divide the land as desired.
  3. If everything is ok, an exhibitor from the surveying unit at the municipality will come out and design a map.
  4. Provided that no one appeals, the National Land Survey registers the procedure and then it is visible in the Property Register and is also entered in the register map.
  5. When all this is done, all that remains is to complete the purchase between the buyer and the landowner.

An advice is to write a small clause in a contract with the land seller, that the building permit must be ready before a purchase can be completed.

The plot from the subdivision was about 2,100 sqm.

There were many trees and sly on the plot that we needed to clear

The name Ekudden

At first we really wanted the name Ekbacken but it was already taken in the area. We had to think of a new name and it took some time to come up with another name we liked. Finally we came up with the name Ekudden which i really suitable for the area because it is like a triangle that goes out and there is also a big nice oak on the plot.  The surveying unit at the municipality welcomed our name proposal. It fit well and was also nice, the manager thought. Within a week we got the new address.

Building permits

We ordered a new construction map that you need when applying for a building permit. Based on that, we decided on the location of the house and given that the plot is not rectangular, it was not easy. The location we finally decided on was great and gave us space on all sides of the house. We sent in the building permit and hoped that everything would go through.

Unfortunately, our building permit was appealed by two different neighbors and we realized that the whole thing would be a lengthy process:

  • First appeal : A neighbor submitted an appeal during the building permit process to test whether our intended entrance could be moved. It was rejected and the building permit was granted shortly afterwards by Linköping Municipality. After this, we thought we would finally be able to start the construction process.
  • Second appeal : Later, an appeal of the building permit came in from another neighbor who was not comfortable with our plans. The County Administrative Board then became the next instance. We still had to pay Linköping municipality as the building permit for their part of the job had already been granted. According to the County Administrative Board, it would take 3-5 months to go through the appeal before a decision could be made.
  • The appeal to the county administrative board was rejected and now there was another opportunity for the appellant to proceed to the next instance, which is the land and environmental court in Växjö. But this next step cost money and we hoped that the person would refrain from appealing to the next instance.
  • The neighbor chose not to pursue the matter further and the building permit was finally approved in April, 2017. The process had taken almost 8 months!

Choice of house supplier

We decided quite early on to choose Hjältevadshus, an established house developer in Sweden. 

After careful consideration, we decided on a house model from Hjältevadshus which was a 1½-storey house called Solid 175 with a living area of 175 sqm.

The house that we chose

Trial excavation on the site

We decided to peform a test excavation on the site before we started all the ground work to avoid encountering surprises such as rocky knoll or loose ground that would need to be piled up. We received good support from the administrator at the municipality who we could consult about things like this and it was nice when an expert could give us guidelines. After the test was executed they informed us that everything beneath the ground looked fine and we had nothing to worry about.

We cleared sly and trees ourselves on the plot. A big job to clear 2,100 sqm and thanks to the fact that we received such good help from relatives and friends, we were able to complete this work within a reasonable time.

There was a lot of sly and trees that needed to be cleared but we got good help from relatives and friends 🙂

The foundation is being built
Our dear ground contractor was efficient. The foundation was quickly put in place and now we could really start to see how everything would turn out! So cool to see your own house grow piece by piece. 

The heart wall in the foundation and the styrofoam floor were also to be lifted into place, but we still saw where the descent to the foundation was and where all the drain and electrical pipes went.
All basic work ready for delivery of the house parts

Delivery Date

It took almost 1.5 years to get started with the construction from the time we first found the plot. Obstacles such as appeals and other annoyances made it take an extra long time.

At the end of August 2017, it was finally time for the assembly start when the crane lifted the house volumes in place. Just a few hours later the house was in place.

The house on site

The first volume, kitchen and living room, came in place first. A few hours later, the whole house was in place and we got a chance to see the house once again during the construction period. So nice when the whole house was set up and we could se what the wonderful view would be like!

The whole house on site - great feeling 🙂
Sheet metal and roof tiles are laid here and the painter has puttyed and prepared for painting
Now we had a house and we were out contemplating many evenings. Just looking, sitting by the house and taking in the new feeling was amazing 😊
The scaffolding was removed now and only one week remained until the final inspection

Internal work

So far, everything looked great! The painter had finished painting in the bedroom with a nice light gray color thats calming. On Thursday morning, all accessories for the water and electricity would be installed and on Monday the final inspection would take place.

The floor is laid and the stairs are built

Final inspection

Now it was finally time for the final inspection. The inspector, construction manager and carpenter were with us around every corner and to fill in paint cracks in the walls, wash away dirt stains and put part of the stair railing in place. We walked around for a full 3 hours. It was a rather good atmosphere all the time and we had similar views on what should be fixed. Phew!

We lingered after the final inspection and just realized the fact that it is actually ours all this. A huge feeling that would take a while to get used to. To begin this first chapter we had dreamed of and longed for so long!

A little later, our control manager and the municipality’s representative came to go through the house. There was a lot of focus on ventilation and heating. A lot of technical pieces that really none of us were so to familiar with. But good views came up that needed to be corrected!

We moved in

It was so wonderful with a proper kitchen with space for cooking, dishwasher, areas for socializing and inspiration. So long awaited! We finally had so much space that we could have a proper dining table and could now invite everyone who had been so hospitable and invited us home in recent years.

Wonderful with a large and airy kitchen!
This is how the house looks finished
Our wonderful view from the terrace
Our wonderful view from the terrace

When we had lived in the house for a few months

Unfortunately, we started to discover a lot of things that were not as it should be when we spent more time in the house. It was everything from craftsmanship that was not done properly, such as the oven which was misplaced and with a lack of ventilation above, front panel that was missing, etc.

When we got in touch with Hjältevadshus to report these shortcomings, we did not receive any feedback. We had to chase them ourselves and needed to feel like two annoying and ungrateful people who were never satisfied. We were certainly not far from impossible, but for millions of kronas and the biggest deal of our lives, we should not have to settle for half-baked solutions.

Unfortunately, everything was handled poorly and we could not recommend anyone else to choose Hjältevadshus. All the errors that arose, without information or any direct goodwill from Hjältevadshus, meant an enormous amount of extra work on our part.

Here you see there is a lack of ventilation above the oven
Here you see how the lower part is cut off, not acceptable in any way!

What advice do you want to give others who are thinking of building a house?

Building a house is not something that is done in a jiffy, even if some house suppliers give that impression. There is so much work behind that should be highlighted! Here are some of our best advice:

  • Preparations
    Read everything you could find. Blogs, municipal pages and other useful texts that can prepare you for the road ahead of you and how much actually depends on you and your preparations!
  • The plot
    First of all, are there neighbors to the plot you want to buy? Walk around and greet them, do they seem friendly to a new neighbor? If not, maybe you can count on appeals from them. Then be prepared for the building permit to wait. Explain that you exist and that you are looking forward to making this journey, but be careful not to tell too much. It can be used against you at a later stage.
  • Subdivision of plot
    If you, like us, have found a piece of land to be divided, it is important to send in the application for prior notice of the building permit. That application was paid for by the land seller in our case. In the event of a positive advance notice, a purchase contract can be signed with the land seller. On the other hand, make sure that payment is made only in the case of a positive building permit.

    Then there are other questions you need to be prepared for, such as how much land is included in the subdivision? Who is responsible for the fees for the demarcation and the fee for prior notice of the building permit? We were careful to write in the purchase contract that in order for the purchase to go through, it required a positive building permit. If we did not get a building permit, the purchase would go back. Before we had our building permit ready, we paid a down payment of 10% of the plot price. This is done so that both parties will feel secure in that no one backs out of the deal and that both will at the same time work together for a positive building permit towards both neighbors and the municipality. Here, it is also important to be aware that the National Land Survey and the municipality charge for their handling of the demarcation / building permit / advance notice and more.
  • Electricity and plumbing
    Before you buy a plot, it can be good to know how far it is to electricity. Is it developed and is it then far to the nearest connection point? How far does the land contractor or housing company dig for you? What does it cost to connect electricity? Is there municipal water and sewage? Or do you need to drill for your own water and fix your own drain? Our basic contractor had nice contact with a sewer designer and we were so happy about that. She solved everything for us. Registration to the municipality / meetings with the municipality / drawings and contact with the land contractor. Big plus to Anna Stridh on avloppet.se based in Kolmården, Östergötland who also had very good prices.
  • The house supplier
    Choosing a house supplier is very difficult, but make sure to take in quotes from as many as you can based on the type of house you want. What kind of house fits on the plot you found? For the plot, you should choose before choosing a house. What suppliers do the different housing companies use? Who builds the kitchen, the bathroom or lays the floors? Who is the appliances supplier and so on… Also think about what options you have for adjusting the walls / design of the house. If something can be changed, what does it cost? What is included? What requirements can you make? What is expected of you? These are important questions to really keep in mind, whatever it is about.
  • Other contractors
    We have only had one other contact next to Hjältevadshus. Our ground contractor. It has been nice not to involve more people to keep track of the work and with whom the responsibility lies. Our excavator has also been tied to our salesman at Hjältevadshus. It has been nice to know that he has done a good job before and that he is knows our house type!
  • Own work
    Is there anything you can do yourself? As you know, we had a lot to do with felling trees and clearing sly on our plot. It has been absolutely hard, strenuous and in part this has been dependent on our help from our loved ones. But we have also saved a lot of money. Money we have had use for when we made some choices to and around the house. Be sure to keep track of the dates that apply, so you have time for your part in the work. Maintain an ongoing dialogue with the entrepreneurs who will have access to things.
  • Purchasing
    Here we may not be professionals yet, but there are some things that are worth thinking about. Will you live in the country side or on a street with street lighting? Sweden is dark large parts of the year. Remember that you will want to find the house and the front door. Lighting is important!

    It is easy to be seduced by the house firms promises that as a customer you do not have to do much. But it is a truth with modification. It is called a turnkey contract and not everyone offers it. What we as buyers of a Hjältevadshus have is a shared contract with a basic contractor that we have also hired for the ground work in two different agreements, in addition to the agreement we have with Hjältevadshus. In the case of a shared contract, you as a client are also the developer, which means that you are responsible for the entire construction.

  • The process
    Be persistent and stay put. Feel free to make that extra phone call to make sure that things turn out the way you want them to and that everything is in phase! Kristina did it after she had a whim and just wanted to check that everything was in order and ready for the electricity, but discovered that not even a notification had been made. Then there was a panic outburst at both Hjältevadshus and the Swartling-Johnsson family.

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