Housing and Apartments in Vietnam
Starting your life in a new country is exciting. You have a whole new culture to discover, fresh new faces to meet, plenty of unique delicious dishes to try, and a new job position to get acquainted with. One more thing to decide on is which type of housing should you be moving into? A studio unit? A serviced-apartment? A fully-furnished or unfurnished one? A shared house? These are some of the things you must decide on to fully be comfortable in your new home.
As an expat, looking for a new house/apartment can be a bit overwhelming. But worry not as there are a number of Facebook groups dedicated to expats looking for apartments in Vietnam. Once you have decided on which city you’d like to settle in in Vietnam, you can easily search for some housing groups on Facebook like Hanoi Expat Housing and Housing for expats in Ho Chi Minh City. These groups have numerous posts about new vacancies whether it’s a room, a house, an apartment, or a serviced apartment. Members of the group also share their opinions about their living areas, so you can get a heads up on which is the most suitable location for you.
From the term itself, shared housing is when you share a whole house or apartment with other people, may it be local or foreigner. You get a room to yourself, a shared kitchen, a shared bathroom (although some shared housing offers your own bathroom as well), and a shared living room. If you are keen on meeting new people while getting accustomed to the new city you’re in, this type of housing is for you. You get the best of both worlds as you have your own space, that is your bedroom, and you also get to enjoy other facilities of the home at a fraction of the price if you are to rent the whole apartment by yourself. A room in a shared house can set you back $250 per month, excluding electricity, water, and Wi-Fi. For the extra miscellaneous bills, they usually reach up to a minimum of $50 per month; it can go higher or lower depending on how many people are sharing the rent and bills.
Shared housing for you if you don’t want to spend a lot on your rent, but still, want your own comfortable space.
Serviced apartments are a lot more common in bigger cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Serviced apartments differ from city to city, and even from district to district. Most offer one fully furnished studio-type room. It has a bed, a bathroom, a small kitchen, and a small living room as well. Lucky if you get to have a balcony too. The prices for these types of apartments include the pay for the electricity, Wi-Fi, and water. Some even offer free drinking water and free laundry every month, or twice a month. The prices for serviced apartments in Vietnam can start at $450 per month, or they can go higher depending on the size of the room and location.
Serviced apartments are suitable for you if you don’t mind the interior that much. Serviced apartments are all fully furnished, so no need to think of the decorations of your home. They usually provide you the basic amenities in a compact yet still comfortable room.
Apartments in Vietnam can set you back from $500 per month or more; this price doesn’t include the bills and maintenance fee, which is usually about $100 or more. The more amenities or facilities your apartment has, the higher your rent will be. In Ho Chi Minh, areas popular for expats are District 2 and District 7. District 2 is popular for ESL instructors as you can find a lot of international schools here. Some apartments are just walking distance to school, making your daily commute easy. Expat families tend to reside in District 7. The place is a lot quieter compared to other districts, yet it is also convenient. There are schools, hospitals, malls, supermarkets, and small parks all within a few minutes of walking. Most apartments in both areas include free use of the gym, swimming pool, elevators, a community area, and elevators. Some apartments can go cheaper, but of course with less convenience. In Hanoi, Tay Ho, Hai Ba Trung, Dong Da, Ba Dinh are considered a bit expensive compared to other wards and districts.
Rental apartments are for you if you plan on staying for a longer period. Most apartments are furnished, but you can always tweak a few things to your liking; for example, getting a new sofa, bed, mirror, and other furniture or decorative pieces you wish. This type of housing is popular among expat families and if budget isn’t an issue. Some schools or companies even offer free housing like this too.
When renting homes in Vietnam, you have to sign a contract that usually lasts for a minimum of a year or so. You also have to register at your local police station and fill out your pink book or registration book. This must be done within a week of your settlement with your landlord or housing agent. Most housing agencies or landlords also ask for a month or two worth of deposit, which will then be returned once the contract is completed.
Finding your home away from home can get tedious, you have to take into consideration the location, the convenience, the amenities or facilities, the rent, and the overall neighborhood atmosphere. It's a good thing that there are several Facebook groups to help you narrow down your choices; there are also helpful real estate agencies that can make finding a home in Vietnam easier for you.