From San Francisco to Finland - Questions

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californiakontio
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:54 am

From San Francisco to Finland - Questions

Post by californiakontio » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:25 am

The time has come to make the move to Finland! At the moment we do not own a car and I am aware that the laws have changed and there is no longer a tax benefit for importing a car when moving to Finland. I also read on the board that it makes sense to purchase / import a car from Germany, cost-wise, would you all recommend that over importing a car from the States? My main worry about importing from the States is in obtaining the EU COC, no clue on how to obtain that. Also, if we do import a car from the States, is there any issue with it having a "salvage" title?

We are considering Karis / Karjaa as a place to live, what do you all think about the town? We will have 2 small children, so we will welcome the quietness, smallness, etc.

Thanks in advance!



From San Francisco to Finland - Questions

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AldenG
Posts: 3334
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:11 am

Re: From San Francisco to Finland - Questions

Post by AldenG » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:37 am

Will you be retiring or in need of employment?

What are your skills and languages?
As he persisted, I was obliged to tootle him gently at first and then, seeing no improvement, to trumpet him vigorously with my horn.


californiakontio
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:54 am

Re: From San Francisco to Finland - Questions

Post by californiakontio » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:43 am

Not in need of employment, but will maintain an SF based tech business remotely and very occasionally travel back. Language-wise, English & Spanish fluently, somewhat passable Swedish and a some words of Finnish (when my wife and her friends are talking rapidly like a machinegun and not stopping to breathe, I usually have a basic idea on what the topic is).


Rosamunda
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Re: From San Francisco to Finland - Questions

Post by Rosamunda » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:15 am

I know Karis/Karjaa quite well. Our mökki (actually we live there all year round at weekends and whenever we can get there) is in Pohja just west of Karjaa nearer to Fiskars. Karjaa town has grown in recent years. It is still very small but is quite dynamic and has more young people than places like Ekenas/Tammisaari which is home to many retired people. It is mainly Swedish speaking but does have a decent Finnish-language lukio (specialising in languages if I remember correctly). A few local businesses have started up and been reasonably successful recently.

By car you can get to Helsinki in an hour on route 51 which is packed with speed cameras but once you've done the route a few times you get used to the limits. There are trains: the suburban Y train - the future of which is in doubt - and then some intercity trains going to Turku/Helsinki which are more expensive but faster.

The basic supermarkets are there including Lidl, a few restaurants (not bad at all) but for bigger purchases you would be better off going into Kirkkonummi, Espoo or Helsinki. Karjaa is quite centrally located in Western Uusimaa which means Salo, Lohja, Tammisaari etc are also within easy reach. Not much culturally there, probably more in Swedish than Finnish. But if you're into films, theatre etc you will be spending a lot of time and money driving into Helsinki or Turku. Fiskars is home to the arty crowd: painters, ceramists, designers etc.

Even at our mökki we have good 4G, we haven't paid the extra for optic cable but there is one available. No problems there.

Being a bilingual town I find it is quite open and friendly and tolerant. There are foreigners there, not many but some. And in the summer season there are tourists in the area too. It doesn't have the chocolate-box prettiness of Ekenas but it doesn't have the 'exclusivity' either.

Probably an easy place to live for a family with young children.


californiakontio
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:54 am

Re: From San Francisco to Finland - Questions

Post by californiakontio » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:48 pm

Rosamunda wrote:I know Karis/Karjaa quite well. Our mökki (actually we live there all year round at weekends and whenever we can get there) is in Pohja just west of Karjaa nearer to Fiskars. Karjaa town has grown in recent years. It is still very small but is quite dynamic and has more young people than places like Ekenas/Tammisaari which is home to many retired people. It is mainly Swedish speaking but does have a decent Finnish-language lukio (specialising in languages if I remember correctly). A few local businesses have started up and been reasonably successful recently.

By car you can get to Helsinki in an hour on route 51 which is packed with speed cameras but once you've done the route a few times you get used to the limits. There are trains: the suburban Y train - the future of which is in doubt - and then some intercity trains going to Turku/Helsinki which are more expensive but faster.

The basic supermarkets are there including Lidl, a few restaurants (not bad at all) but for bigger purchases you would be better off going into Kirkkonummi, Espoo or Helsinki. Karjaa is quite centrally located in Western Uusimaa which means Salo, Lohja, Tammisaari etc are also within easy reach. Not much culturally there, probably more in Swedish than Finnish. But if you're into films, theatre etc you will be spending a lot of time and money driving into Helsinki or Turku. Fiskars is home to the arty crowd: painters, ceramists, designers etc.

Even at our mökki we have good 4G, we haven't paid the extra for optic cable but there is one available. No problems there.

Being a bilingual town I find it is quite open and friendly and tolerant. There are foreigners there, not many but some. And in the summer season there are tourists in the area too. It doesn't have the chocolate-box prettiness of Ekenas but it doesn't have the 'exclusivity' either.

Probably an easy place to live for a family with young children.
Thank you for the detailed response and perspective, I'd predict that eventually we might get a bit bored of living there fulltime and we would live similar to you, meaning go there on weekends and holidays, but for now, with 2 very small children, I think we will love the quiet and coziness of a small place for a few years. San Francisco is great, but way too crazy and dangerous for 2 small kids. The location of Karis also seemed ideal, halfway between Turku and Helsinki and from the research I've done it looks like a long distance train goes every hour to Helsinki, so although the commuter train will be gone, there is still something.

Would you recommend importing a car from the US, even without the tax benefit, or importing one from Germany?


californiakontio
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:54 am

Re: From San Francisco to Finland - Questions

Post by californiakontio » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:18 pm

From what I read on the board, looks like it should be relatively painless so long as its an European car (Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volvo, etc.) On the surface, price-wise, even with the taxes it seems to make sense.


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rinso
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Re: From San Francisco to Finland - Questions

Post by rinso » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:46 am

Would you recommend importing a car from the US, even without the tax benefit, or importing one from Germany?
Importing a car from the US means it has to be adapted to the EU rules and tested. Buying local means you have a Finland ready car, including winter tires and engine heating. Pricewise I don't think there will be a big difference.


Oho
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Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:48 pm

Re: From San Francisco to Finland - Questions

Post by Oho » Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:23 am

rinso wrote: Importing a car from the US means it has to be adapted to the EU rules and tested.
Buying local means you have a Finland ready car, including winter tires and engine heating.
Pricewise I don't think there will be a big difference.
Changes for compliance I think are usually fairly small typically lights, though conceivably expensive if and most likely when head light have to be changed.

I would not be so concerned with winter tires and block heater, they are kind of aftermarket stuff anyway, but I wold be concerned about butt grills, well seat heaters, which come in handy indeed especially if you have leather interior and are much more of pain to put in.

I've been checking on US car prices recently and the differences in prices are much less than I anticipated but in relative terms seem to grow toward higher end brands and models. I guess strong dollar and emissions based taxing in Finland go long ways in explaining that.


Rip
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Re: From San Francisco to Finland - Questions

Post by Rip » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:51 am

Does it still make sense to bring car from US? The older tax benefits for immigrating persons are not valid any more for cars that you did not own already at the end of 2014.


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