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A lot of people seem to be having trouble getting this, and the people who are responding don't seem to have actually completed the quest and are just reading the strategy guide which is very vague on what you have to do.
This is probably my only complaint about this game, Bethesda put a ton of detail everywhere in the game except explaining how to get certain things. There is virtually no explanation in-game to tell you how to get the house.
HERES HOW TO GET THE HOUSE
Get out of the Castle, Leave Riften altogether
See? Its very misleading when everyone is telling you you have to "do the Jarls quests", SHE DOESNT GIVE IT TO YOU. You have to go into the Fishery outside Riften and speak to an Argonain who is sick and give her a potion. Now talk to the argonian again and pry her for information.
Now you go talk to the Jarl, complete her little quest, talk to her again and complete the next quest.
At this point you just have to do random mini quests helping people out in Riften, like 5 or so.
After this talk to the Jarl again and she'll mention how awesome you are.
BUT i've heard theres a glitch where if you upgrade the house she wont make you Thane, so what you do is: 1. BUY the house 2. DONT upgrade it yet 3. TALK to the Jarl to be made Thane 4. NOW upgrade your house
It actually doesnt take that long, like a half hour to an hour, depending on what "townsfolk quests" you do, for example, the argonian in the bar needs 3 flawless amethysts, thats it, one down. Almost all the quests are like that, very quick simple fetch quests which take like 5 minutes apiece.
Oh my god, thank you SO much, dude. Seriously, it's ridiculous how much I had to Google this and you're the only one with real info. I was really worried I had screwed myself. I will try this and report back if I run into any problems.
Just a question, everyone keeps mentioning doing a certain quest in the main storyline involving, well... To avoid spoilers, a certain political change in Riften, I guess? It isn't actually necessary to make it to that point, though, is it? I'm trying to hold off on the main storyline at the moment.
You can do it before the political switch, I did. Apparently if you go Empire and make Black-Briar Jarl you might not have to do the skooma quests because she already likes you, but you dont HAVE to wait until then.
I needed this info too. I completed the skooma quest and she mentioned I would be made thane if I completed this task, but when I got back she said "thanks" but nothing else. Now I know what I need to do.
There are 10 types of people in the world: those that know binary and those that don't.