"Welcome to My Crib" - Finding Accommodation
Arguably one of the most stressful things about moving to a new country is finding the perfect home. But there's no stress here! We're going to break down the process and provide the tools needed for you to find the best place to rest your weary head at the end of the day.
Before you arrive in Saigon, it's a good idea to book an Airbnb for your first month. Having your first month's accommodation sorted will give you enough time to get familiar with the lay of the land and decide where you want to live.
Saigon has 24 districts in total. If you have all the time in the world, you could explore them all and choose to settle in your favourite. For the sake of saving time, though, we recommend looking at districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7. All these districts are bustling with activity and offer a lot of job and housing opportunities.
Photo : afamily.vn
It's not hard to find permanent accommodation in Saigon. There are plenty of Facebook pages where estate agents post daily. A word of warning: Vietnamese estate agents can be persistent and sometimes take clients to apartments that look nothing like the apartment advertised. To prevent wasting your time, be as precise and as accurate as possible regarding your wishes. Be assertive and don't let the agent kill you with kindness. In the end, they only care about one thing: your money.
While you're apartment hunting, view as many as time allows. Be careful: a common tactic employed by housing agents is to show clients four or five terrible places and save the best for last. Never decide on the spot and tell the agent you'll get back to them.
There are tonnes of shared housing opportunities as well. Go on the Facebook expat pages to find shared housing.
There are many factors to take into consideration when finding an apartment in a city like Saigon:
If you're going to get a motorbike, you should think about where you can park it.
You want the building to have around the clock security. Even though Saigon is a relatively safe city, there's still a lot of opportunistic crime.
Avoid living above a restaurant or at street level. As stunning as Saigon is, it's victim to all sorts of pests, and you're more likely to be overrun with rats or cockroaches if you do. For the same reason, make sure that there's a system to dispose of trash.
You NEED a strong air conditioning unit in Saigon. It's an absolute 100% necessity, and no, a fan won't do! Also, most Saigon apartments won't come with an oven so if that's a requirement for you, make sure you tell your estate agent.
Ask the landlord of the area is prone to flooding during the rainy season. Rain is torrential during the summer months, and many streets get badly flooded.
Green spaces are lovely, but it's not a good idea to live too close to them in Saigon. From as early as 4:30 a.m. the city's early birds like to meet there to partake in group exercise, usually with speakers blaring music. It can get unbearable so avoid at all costs!
To get the best deal, you should always negotiate your rent. Be brave and don't shy away or be afraid to lose out on a place because of it. When telling agents your housing budget, always go a hundred dollars lower than the real thing. They will undoubtedly try to sell you a more expensive apartment.
Photo by @Plo
Rental contract duration is usually twelve months in Saigon, but you can negotiate a six-month contract if you can't commit to a whole year. The landlord may ask you to pay the rent three months or even six months upfront. Resist this and firmly insist on paying the rent monthly. What if you notice a problem with the house after a month? You'd have a hard time getting your money back! Likewise with the deposit, never pay more than a one month deposit. Make sure that the contract states the deposit and that the landlord gives you a receipt.
Photo : dothisaigon.com
Some landlords state the rent price in USD. Instead, insist the rent price always be recorded in VND. If the rent is in USD, you may end up paying more each month because of the exchange rate.
By Western standards, rent is very cheap in Saigon. You can live like a king for a fraction of the price! Expect to pay between 200 and 1000 USD per month. Apartments in Saigon sometimes include a communal swimming pool or gym, which can come in very handy when you want to escape the midday heat. It just depends on your budget and how luxurious and big an apartment you want.
As far as location goes, we cannot stress enough the importance of finding accommodation near where you work. Saigon's roads are extraordinarily congested, and a one-mile trip could easily stretch to 45 minutes on a bad day. Sitting in Saigon's traffic is frustrating, dirty, and unhealthy. If you can find an excellent place to live that's also close to your work it will make your time in Saigon a million times more enjoyable.
Vietnam's busiest hub has become a hotspot for expats over the past decade. And who could blame them? It's a magnificent place to live.
Unless you speak Vietnamese, the job pool for foreigners in Saigon is limited.
Once you've found a job, you'll need a bank account to hold all your hard-earned cash.