All in all, it took one week for us to find a home in Bangkok, but it was really tough going. Even the most organised and patient person in the world would find it difficult not to get frustrated and impatient with the process. Pictures and prices in adverts tend to be deceiving, there are language barriers and it can sometimes seem like there is nothing suitable at all.
Prices depend entirely on what your priorities are in a potential living space. Our main criteria were decent wifi (non negotiable for writing blog posts and keeping in touch with friends at home), a location within a five minute walk to any BTS station, a clean bathroom that wouldn’t also be home to cockroaches, a pool with space to sunbathe, and a hotplate and toaster to create some basic meals. All for about 15000 baht a month? Ambitious maybe…
We were looking for a 3 month contract, with the option to extend if needed. This was one of the biggest challenges, most we viewed had a minimum lease of 6 or 12 months, and shorter terms were only possible in pricey serviced apartments.
Initially we set out well-organised and enthusiastic, with lists and appointments, but eventually found ourselves wondering the streets aimlessly in desperation! Here was what we found with different approaches:
Pros: We used an agent from Amazing Properties, quite a large company based in Bangkok. They were very helpful and friendly, had a large variety of flats to show us, and even paid for us to travel between properties.
Cons: The apartments didn’t exactly match the online listings, but were still really nice and all seemed to be serviced. Also prices seemed to be slightly higher than the online quotes.
Pros: These are generally freelance agents or locals with apartments to rent, and so can be a little cheaper than private agents. Some agents will also have more than one property available.
Cons: The adverts don’t alway give huge amounts of detail, so you don’t know what you’re going to see until you get there! Also be prepared for limited spoken English on the phone.
Pros: You can browse by particular area, budget or even for a specific building.
Cons: The prices seemed crazily low and tended to increase when we actually enquired. Most adverts were just too good to be true.
Walking the streets!
Pros: You can target certain regions and this is a really good way to get a feel for somewhere and work out your proximity.
Cons: Many apartments are privately owned, and reception staff, if there are any, usually can’t help you. Serviced apartments welcome walk in customers, and are happy to show you flats and discuss prices straight away, but they tend to be really pricey. It also gets hot and tedious pacing the streets!
We wouldn’t rule out any of the above strategies, but we found noticeboards to be the most successful, and discovered our lovely little 1 bed in Phra Khanong using a private agent. It costs 16000 baht a month which is a lot pricier than some apartments here, but it has everything on our list. Although we have to share a bedroom, we’re accustomed to it after a few months of island hopping and going for a one-bed meant that we could get a nicer apartment within our price range.
Home sweet home…
Other tips we have are:
– Don’t forget to include a budget for the add on prices: utilities, television, internet, cleaning and parking might all cost extra. Deposits are around two months’ rent.
– You can usually move straight in, Thais advertise apartments when they are ready to go, but get it cleaned by the landlord first. Check all appliances and have them fixed straight away, keeping receipts for any money spent, as you would back home.
Charlotte and Sarah x