If you’re considering moving to Vietnam or have already made the decision, congratulations! Vietnam has quickly become one of the most popular destinations in the world, not just for traveling but also for digital nomads and expats. There’s so much to see and do here that you’ll never feel bored while living here. On your free time, you can go to the beach, go hiking in the mountains, travel cross-country with your motorbike, visit remote villages, learn more about the Vietnamese culture and just explore the cities (because there’s a lot to explore there!). But of course, the first thing you want to do before settling down in Vietnam. So here are some tips for house hunting in Vietnam.
Get to know the city
The first thing you need to do is go out and explore the city you’re going to live in. Get to know it before deciding! Just knowing which area and neighborhood to live in can be crucial for you to get a good pad. Like in every city, there are good and better areas, so walk around and get a feel for which neighborhood fits you better. If you’re going to move to Ho Chi Minh City for example, which is a huge city, you’ll want to scout the districts. No two districts are the same so it all depends on what you’re looking for. If you want more action, look for markets and bars; if you prefer quiet, find some place green.
If you can, ask the locals! They’re the pros and will know which neighborhood is good to live in and where you can get contacts. Who knows, they might even know of someone who has a place to rent out! You should also search for expat groups online where you can ask expats who has lived there or is still living there. They’ll surely have some contacts for you.
Remember: travel takes time!
Traffic can be crazy and jam packed in Vietnam, so remember that travel takes time! The majority of expats prefer to live in Vietnam’s largest metro areas. If your work is closeby, that’s great! If not, you should really consider the distance from your home to work. Otherwise, you might end up having to commute for at least 30 minutes. Think carefully about your daily life and which areas that will be best for where you need to be and go, each and everyday.
Look offline too!
These days, the majority of things can be found online, including apartments and houses. But in Vietnam, most of the rented places aren’t found online. So what you need to do is to go by foot and walk around a neighborhood you’d like to live in that seems like a good fit for you. Keep an eye out for signs saying “Cho Thuê” or “Nhà Cho Thuê.” This translates to house for rent. The best thing to do is to ask a Vietnamese friend for help, in case they don’t speak English.
Find a furnished place
If you’re not planning on staying in Vietnam for a very long time, try to find a furnished place. Luckily, most homes and apartments already come with furniture. Otherwise, it’ll take you a lot of time to buy couches, beds, tables, etc. It’ll empty your wallet as well.
Set your budget
Vietnam is known to be a cheap travel destination, but accommodation can actually be more expensive than you’d think, especially in the capital and HCMC. It all depends on the standard as well. You can find very modest Western-style apartments that starts from 300 dollars for example, or very luxurious flats that can start from 700 dollars and up. So it just depends on your budget.
Meet the landlord
Make sure that you do not sign a contract without having to actually met the landlord first. Not all landlords are helpful or responsive, and when things go wrong in your apartment (which it will), you’ll want to have established a relationship with your landlord. When you do meet your landlord, don’t shy away from asking questions. If you can, talk to previous tenants as well and ask them if there’s anything you need to know.
And there you have it! House hunting in Vietnam isn’t so difficult, but you just need to know where to go, who to ask and how much to pay. When you’ve gotten your dream apartment, it’s time to enjoy everything that Vietnam has to offer!
Don’t forget to apply for your Vietnam visa before you go. Depending on how many months you’ll live in Vietnam, you’ll need to apply for the right type of visa. Most digital nomads who are just going to stay for about 3 months usually go for the 3 months tourist visa. But if you’re going to work in Vietnam for a company, you’ll need to acquire a proper work visa.