Homes for international talent based on decades of experience

Finland’s leading relocation and immigration service provider Finland Relocation Services has cooperated with SATO for almost three decades. “Thanks to our B2B cooperation, it’s quick for us to find a rental home for a professional moving to Finland to work,” says Relocation Consultant Hanna Ahrikkala.

A new job abroad is an interesting opportunity, but it also involves a variety of practical arrangements and a great deal of stress. Founded in 1994, Finland Relocation Services (FRS) provides relocation and immigration services for clients including enterprises recruiting foreign talent to Finland. FRS relocation consultants provide transferees with landing services such as assistance in dealing with authorities and permits, accessing banking services, organising child daycare and school admissions and, of course, the most important thing: finding a home.

Finding the right home is the cornerstone of settling in

“When we organise everyday issues for the transferee, they can better focus on onboarding in their new work role,” says Hanna Ahrikkala, who has been a relocation consultant at FRS for more than a year. “Finding a home that they like and that matches their needs is one of the most important things for people moving to a new country. It plays a decisive role in how they settle in and how smooth their day-to-day life is,” she continues.

Hanna knows what she is talking about: like all FRS employees, she has also lived and worked abroad. Years spent in Sweden and Germany provide her work with a personal touch and a more in-depth understanding of the situation of professionals moving to Finland. These people include talent representing a variety of sectors from around the world, ranging from singles to families with lots of kids. This means they also have a broad range of wishes and needs regarding housing, with Hanna mapping these out with them already before they arrive in Finland.

Diverse portfolio of homes is one of SATO’s strong points

Hanna begins the home search by flicking through apartments that match the transferee’s wishes on rental housing portals.

In her opinion, SATO’s diverse supply of homes is a good match with the needs of relocating professionals. “SATO has homes of different prices and sizes around as well as outside of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area – both in the centre and in peaceful residential districts,” Hanna points out and continues:

“The portfolio includes a lot of apartments that are new and in good condition and therefore often attractive to people moving to Finland.”

Other typical wishes include a non-smoking policy in the home building and well-functioning common areas, such as a laundry room or bicycle storage room. Those moving to Finland from outside of Europe in particular value good cooking facilities, such as a separate kitchen and a cooker hood. “And the marketing of the sauna has clearly been a success around the world, as people often include a sauna on their wish list, too,” Hanna laughs.

According to Hanna, transferees often favour SATO rental homes thanks to the flexible agreement terms and conditions and good benefits: there is usually no security deposit required, pets are welcome, and SATO is able to offer the opportunity to view several homes before making the rental decision.

Smiling Hanna sitting at her desk, looking out of the window and talking on the phone.
When looking for a home for a transferee, Hanna often calls SATO's B2B team.

Smooth cooperation and first-class service

Once a suitable home has been found, Hanna gets in touch with the SATO B22 Sales contact person, organises a viewing and accompanies the transferee on the viewing.

“Hanna describes cooperation between FRS and SATO as smooth and seamless.”

Both sides are quick to respond to communication. “The contact persons know the needs of our customers and proactively suggest suitable apartments,” she says. Hanna is also very pleased with SATO’s flexibility: “Our customers are able to apply for SATO rental homes without a Finnish personal identity code*, which speeds up the moving process. And the moving schedules can also always be negotiated,” she points out.

A home for a talent moving to Finland is usually found in 2–4 weeks, sometimes even faster. Going forward, Hanna would like to see SATO provide either a virtual viewing or a video tour as well as a condition rating for the homes. These would make it quick to check if the apartment meets the relocating professional’s specifications, and the moving process would be even swifter.

“We’re continuously testing various ways of viewing potential homes. Video tours, digital furnishing planners and virtual viewings are important for many of our customers,” says SATO Chief Commercial Officer Laura Laamanen and continues: “It’s important for SATO to understand the needs of the various customer groups.”

Relocation consultant taking care of it all

The workdays of a relocation consultant are as varied as the situations of those moving to Finland. The role calls for language proficiency, cultural knowledge, problem-solving skills as well as capacity for empathy. Hanna underlines that, no matter how stressful the situation or hectic the day, you have to keep calm and provide the transferee with support and a listening ear.

“The best moments are the encounters with different kinds of people and especially the feeling of success when you find a home for them.”

Hanna coordinates several processes in several phases at the same time and takes care of communication with a variety people and organisations. “Thanks to smooth communication, everyone stays up to date,” she says. It is direct and efficient communication with stakeholders that is so critically important for a relocation consultant: “Thanks to our cooperation partners, we’re able to sort things out for transferees within a quick timeframe and provide them with a premium-quality service,” Hanna says and adds: “For example, without the SATO contact person, the process of moving into a SATO home would be a lot longer for our customers.”

*You'll need a Finnish personal identity code to apply for an apartment through SATO.