Generally, the process of finding a home in Vietnam is relatively simple. While some expats may have accommodation provided for them as part of their employment package, most have to make their own arrangements.
It is not advisable to commit to a contract without having seen the property beforehand. For this reason, many expats check themselves into a guesthouse when they first arrive in Vietnam and subsequently begin their search for a home.
Due to the often short-term nature of expat assignments, most foreigners who relocate to Vietnam opt to rent rather than buy a property.
Types of accommodation in Vietnam
The types of property in Vietnam vary depending on one's location. In major cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, expats will find a lot of luxury accommodation options available which are on par with property standards in their home countries. Brand-new apartment buildings can be found, as can older, more traditional apartment complexes. In the suburbs, housing is more spacious.
Naturally, the location of a property, the number of rooms and the type of property will impact the rental price. When viewing apartments, especially in Ho Chi Minh City, it is wise to take a walk around the immediate area surrounding the complex to check if there is any sign of new buildings going up. Building work is common in rapidly growing Vietnamese cities and can cause a great deal of annoyance, particularly on weekend mornings when residents may wish to lie in.
A range of options are available for different budgetary needs, and those who are price-conscious should also be able to find basic accommodation options at very affordable rates in most places.
Finding accommodation in Vietnam
Most expats find accommodation in Vietnam via word of mouth, through their employers and by using the services of estate agents.
In cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, numerous websites cater specifically to the needs of expats. These portals are a great source of information and have listings of available properties.
For those who are not lucky enough to have their employer source accommodation for them, the next best thing is to enlist the services of a real estate agent. These professionals have a detailed knowledge of the local property market and can assist expats in finding a property that meets their needs and requirements.
Estate agents also generally have access to a larger pool of properties, many of which will be snapped up before they can be advertised in local classifieds or property portals. Furthermore, having an estate agent negotiate a lease on behalf of an expat who doesn’t speak the local language can be incredibly useful.
Renting accommodation in Vietnam
Making an application
Foreigners will be asked to provide a copy of their passport, work permit and the address of their employer. By law, landlords in Vietnam have to report this information to the government when they rent out a property to an expat.
The standard lease term is one or two years, during which time the rental price is fixed.
To rent a property in Vietnam, expats will usually be expected to pay at least one or two months' rent upfront as a security deposit. While some landlords have been known to ask for payment of the full rental period beforehand, this is not the norm. In fact, it can be rather risky and is not advisable.
Expats will also need to budget for monthly utility costs such as electricity, water and internet. Those who live in apartment buildings may also need to pay a management fee for cleaning, maintenance, security and salaries of the building management staff.
►For more on money matters, see Banking, Money and Taxes in Vietnam
"The most famous among expat areas is West Lake. If you choose accommodation close to the outskirts and non-touristic places can get a better price." Learn more about moving to and living in Vietnam in our interview with Russian expat Anastasia.
"Housing in HCMC is fantastic. There are a number of options ranging from studios to one/two bedroom apartments, penthouse suites, and even villas! You can even go for shared room options. Almost every budget can be accommodated. Most apartments are brand new and come fully furnished with cleaning services, WiFi, water and electricity included in the monthly rent. Hoozing is my go-to for housing options." Find out about the expat experience in Vietnam in our interview with American expat Izzy.
Are you an expat living in Vietnam?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Vietnam. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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