Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

Moving To and Within Korea: 3 Tips on Apartment Hunting

Posted on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 05:00 PM

 For those moving to Korea to teach English, your first year will most likely be a roller coaster of learning curves as you become accustomed to your new lifestyle and surroundings. If you are placed in one of the neighborhoods of Seoul, like I was when I first began teaching in Korea, there are so many things to learn such as where to go for things like shopping, food and recreation. During your first few days in Korea, things happen really fast and usually you choose an apartment within 1 or 2 days. This is why, if you choose to stay a second year in Korea, it is almost likely that you would like to move to a new area and find a new apartment. 
moving apartments in Korea
In your first year, after you finish training, you will meet with someone from your branch who will help you search for an apartment that suits your needs and price range.You need to budget for your first month's rent, a bed and some furniture. Once you have signed contracts and paid your agency and rental fee, it's pretty easy to move in immediately and comfortably.  A decent budget would be about $700 for rent, $200 for agency fee, $150 for bed and $300 for any other furniture and house accessories. 
  Moving apartments in Korea during your second year can become quite complicated, and if you can't speak Korean the language barrier is a huge struggle. Although you have lived in Korea for one year, it is still difficult to figure out how to find an apartment, negotiate about rent, and move all your boxes and furniture to your new apartment. It is always helpful to have a Korean staff member or Korean friend you can call or ask for help but, sometimes it's not that simple. So, here are some great tips to help you easily find a great place.
1. Jikbang
Jikbang is a wonderful and useful App to download when looking for a new apartment. It is an App that not many foreigners know about, but if they did it would narrow-down the housing hunt significantly. Although the App is in Korean it is user-friendly and is easy to figure out and search. If you can read Korean this will help a lot and simplify your search even more. A pro about the app is that you can search within your price range, so for example a deposit fee would be 500 manwon (5, 000, 000₩) and monthly rent will be like 65 manwon (650,000₩). Every place differs in value because in Korea the higher the deposit the lower your rent will be. You can also see how much utilities and maintenance will cost and what furniture or appliances the apartment has. The greatest thing about Jikbang is that you can search a GPS map of the area you want to move to and it updates available places in real-time. Once you have chosen a few places you want to see, you can email or call the real estate agency or private owner from the contact details provided.
Jikbang App
2. Negotiations
Nothing in Korea is ever set in stone, so if you find a place that you really like but don't have the deposit money or rent that is required, it is important to keep in mind that most renters are open to a lot of negotiating (of course within reasonable terms). A good tip is to take a Korean with you on the day you will meet the owner or find an agent who speaks a fair amount of English. Even if they don't, hand gestures and Google-translate does a lot of the tricks. It is advisable to never just accept what they are offering, but also remember that being very polite and considerate is important to Korean negotiating and that in Korea the rule 'respecting your elders' will get you very far. Also, please make sure your renter is debt-free and that the rental agency has insurance to protect your key-money deposit.
apartments in Korea
apartments in Korea
3. Moving Day
When planning to move make sure you look at your calendar and book your moving day a few days before your first apartment contract is up. By doing this, you have a place to sleep for a few days in between, and your move will not be jammed into one day. There are two ways you can move your things. First, you could rent a cheap moving truck and just do one move. It would be a good idea to get your academy to help you find a good moving company. Second, you could use the Korean post office. Many foreigners who move from city to city or further distances make use of the very cheap Korean postal service that costs like $10 per box to ship to your new apartment.
moving in Korea
A great, easy online moving service is called MIK: Move in Korea at http://www.moveinkorea.com. All you need to do is submit your name, moving day details, address, and your moving items. For example, I moved from Sincheon to Jamsil for $160 which included a truck, a person to help yon move, and space for 2 passengers. MIK is very efficient and they conveniently call you on the same day and discuss prices and moving details in English. They also move on Sundays and late Saturday night, and you don't have to book far  in advance as they try to accommodate your needs.
moving in Korea 
Finally, at the post office you can buy boxes and pack all your things into the boxes. There are a variety of boxes that you can choose from for only ₩500-₩1500. Once done you can catch a cab to the post office and use one of the lift-up carts to get all your boxes inside.
Apply here to teach in Korea! 

It is no surprise that Tijana Huysamen, a South African born Capetownian, avid traveler and travel journalist, fell in love with South Korea and its people. After Tijana arrived in South Korea in 2010, she had the opportunity to live in the heart of the Korean countryside. During her time spent in Chungnam province she learned to speak Korean, prepare Korean food and experience the humble nature of the countryside people.  After a year break in New York, Tijana jumped at the opportunity to return to Korea again, and is currently working at the CDI Jamsil Branch, in Jamsil, Seoul. Read Tijana’s Aclipse blog to gain a unique perspective on Korea and her shared experiences and adventures both in a major city and in the countryside. Follow Tijana on Twitter @TeeAnni or email tijanahuysamen120@hotmail.com to request more information on teaching in Korea!

Tags: housing in Korea, moving, moving home, Apartments in Korea

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