Finding an apartment on a budget is difficult, but a few strategies will make it a lot easier. Personal finance experts suggest you keep your rent under 30 percent of your income. But for many young professionals in cities these days, that’s a big ask.
The leasing prices in HCMC remain reasonable; expats are spending around 30 percent of their income.In Ho Chi Minh, for example, a one-bedroom costs an average of $700 a month.
In fact, I lived at home for four years after college to save money while I figured out what I wanted to do with my career, and I saved about $47,000 in the process.
- Know your deal breakers
Here’s my recommended list of things to consider:
Your travelling time
Whether the apartment is smoking or non-smoking
How you feel about pets
If you want a quiet or lively local place to live
If you need a stove, oven, elevator
Additionally, think about whether or not you can afford to use a real estate broker.
If you’re on a tight budget, chances are you won’t be able to. Brokers in major cities generally charge 10 to 15 percent of the annual rental fee. For a $1,200 apartment, that’s between $1,440 and $2,160. If you can’t afford a broker, use keywords such as “no broker” or “no fee” when looking at listings.
- Visit some local website
To stay up to date on the listings, visit pages like Housing Saion, Apartment for rent in Ho Chi Minh, ….. Checking them daily is a convenient way to cast a wide net, since you’ll find unique listings on each. If the websites offers certain benefits to people who create an account, such as the ability to save your searches or keep track of your favorite listings, take advantage of them. Your search will be a lot easier.
- Save yourself time and stop looking for a studio
Finding an affordable studio apartment in a city like New York is extremely difficult, if not impossible.
On the off chance that you do find one, it almost always has some sort of major catch: It will be the size of a closet or it won’t have its own bathroom. If you have roommates to share an apartment with, you really open up your options.
- Join Facebook housing groups
There are dozens of Facebook groups out there where people post apartment listings. A friend invited me to join a Expats in Ho Chi Minh City group an Expats and Local in HCMC, and I’m so glad she did. It makes searching for an apartment more personal, since you can check out the lister’s social media profile and put a face to the name.
Look up your city name along with “apartments” “listings” or “housing” and you’re sure to find a bunch of groups. Request to join them.