Finding a condominium or apartment in Bangkok can be quite a hassle, but if you keep these 10 tips in mind you are bound to find something that fits your needs and budget!
1. What’s the difference between a condominium and apartment?
First of all, let’s get this straight. Many people don’t seem to know the difference between a condominium and apartment, and whilst the difference is very small, it’s definitely there! What makes the difference is something purely legal, you cannot simply tell by looking at a property. What defines a condominium or apartment is the form of ownership. Condominiums are properties in a building that are sold individually, therefore in theory every room in a condominium building could have a different owner. Apartment complexes could therefore be built exactly the same as a condominium building, however the developers of the building retain the ownership and rent individual units to different tenants. There’s a difference when you’re dealing with someone who owns the entire building when you’re renting an apartment or whether it’s somewhat more personal when you’re (usually) dealing with the owner of a single condominium.
2. What types of apartments are there in Bangkok?
Bangkok offers pretty much all kinds of apartments you’d find in any big city. However, the majority of apartments you’ll encounter are either studio apartments or one bedroom apartments. Studio apartments are apartments that simply have 1 room, usually with a separate private bathroom, and practically never with a kitchen. The surface of a studio apartment can range from 15m2 to 35m2. One bedroom apartments are, as the name suggests, apartments with a separate bedroom next to a living room, bathroom and kitchen. Usually the surface of these apartments range from 40m2 to 60m2. Most of the time, any apartment you’ll rent is already fully furnished.
3. Where are you going to stay?
The public transport system of Bangkok is cheap, reliable and fast. You can take the MRT or BTS throughout the center and can get practically everywhere. Therefore you can consider staying somewhere somewhat far from where ever you’re traveling each day, for example work, because if you have easy access to either the MRT or BTS you can get everywhere very easily. Real estate developers realize that and you’ll see that there are quite a few places you can choose from close to public transportation stations. So when you decide where to stay, keep in mind that you probably don’t need to be amazingly close to work because there’s a big chance you’re able to get there with ease.
4. What can you expect for your budget?
Living in Bangkok can be dirt cheap compared to big cities elsewhere in Asia, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live it up either. Thankfully, most of the time you get a lot of bang for your buck. You can come by with as little as 6,000 THB per month, that will get you a cozy studio apartment, sometimes even including a swimming pool if you’re lucky. When you’re dealing with a larger budget, let’s say around 15,000 to 20,000 THB you’re already taking a big leap and you can expect to be able to afford a nice one bedroom apartment in a building with excellent facilities such as a swimming pool on the roof, fitness, sauna rooms, 24h security along with your private parking space. As soon as your budget rises above 30,000 THB you’re going to be dealing with larger properties which contain several bedrooms and whatnot. The facilities however, will usually remain the same. Of course you need to keep in mind that prices are higher in the richer parts of Bangkok such as for example Ekkamai or Thong Lo.
5. Start orientating!
Now that you have a some general knowledge about apartments and condominiums in Bangkok you can start orientating and see what Bangkok has to offer. Luckily, there are a lot of websites, such as the one where you’re reading this blog on, that will help you with your quest. Usually there are three things that you need to keep in mind: First of all, know your budget, and stick with it! There’s no reason to exceed your budget, just because that one place seems perfect. They say there are more fish in the sea, and that’s definitely the case in Bangkok. Secondly, know what to expect. You now have a general idea of what to expect after reading number 4., so once you consider renting a studio apartment for 20,000 THB, think again! Thirdly, try to figure out which part of Bangkok is best for you when it comes to access to things like work and leisure.
6. Visit your possible future home in person!
If pictures say more than a thousand words, you can fill a library with books once you see a place for yourself. The owner of a condo or real estate agent often hire someone who is handy with a camera, so that studio apartment you’re looking at could seem remarkably huge on the picture. Yet when you step inside, it’s possible you’ll start feeling the walls creeping in on you. Simply said, pictures can (and usually will) be deceiving. Plus, you’re going to want to feel and smell your possible future home before you sign any type of contract. It might be common sense, yet people can be very persuasive. Always make a visit first.
7. Don’t be afraid to try and cut down on the price
As you might know, Thailand is a country where negotiating on any price is a daily practice. This doesn’t just apply to that nice pair of sunglasses you want to buy on the daily market, it’s also very common to negotiate the price of a condo or apartment. Depending on how long you plan to rent the property, you can usually cut down about 5-10% of the monthly rent. In the long run, that’s quite a lot of money you’ve saved!
8. Try to add some extras
If you’re going to rent a place for a longer period of time, you’ll want to live in a place that has everything you need. Condominium owners usually try to invest as little as possible, yet seeing how it’s going to be your home for the coming year or so it would be nice to have that nice flat screen TV, a microwave, or maybe a washing machine. If the condo you intend to rent lacks anything that you may want to have, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the owner for it.
9. Signing the contract
The real estate agent or owner will have a contract set up for you to sign and finally close the deal on your new home. We have a separate post completely dedicated to lease contracts, we highly recommend you take a look at it. The main things you need to do is to thoroughly read it several times, so there is no small lettering you’ve missed. Also, make sure that both you and the owner have an identical copy, signed by both parties on every page. This is also important, so the owner cannot add another page after you’ve signed it. After that, keep it in a safe place!
10. Make it home!
Happy days! You’ve finally made your choice when it comes to your home in Bangkok. Everything has been taken care of and now you can start actually making it your home. Don’t be afraid to decorate (possibly consult with your landlord first) and be sure to enjoy your new experience in Bangkok!