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Things to know about housing in Korea

  1. Types of rent

    1. Jeonse – Specific rental system that exists only (not sure, but maybe) in Korea. A tenant puts a large sum of key money to the landlord’s bank account for the duration of contract. As long as the agreed obligations and rights are not violated until the end of the contract, the tenant gets back all of the deposit. Then, how do landlords make money from Jeonse system? They use an interest rate of the bank. Once they deposit a large amount of money into their account, an interest rate accrues, so these landlords earn money from the interest rates. Since it is hard to have a big chunk of money for young people like students, most of them go with Wolse. Then, let us figure out what a Wolse is.

    2. Wolse – It requires a tenant to pay both key money and monthly rental fee. The amount of key money for Wolse is much lower than that of Jeonse. Also, while key money in other countries, like the United States, is mostly one or two months rental fee, the amount of key money in Korea (even Wolse) is higher than those of other countries. For example, the average deposit in Korea is 5M -10M won and the average monthly rental fee is  500,000 – 800,000 won (for like a studio). And a tenant has to pay certain amount of rental fee monthly in addition to paying security deposit.

  2. Cost
    1. The cost of renting house in Korea is extremely higher than expected. Many expats become astonished realizing the amount of money they had to bring to find a suitable accommodation. If your accommodation is not paid by your business or school, you might suffer a long period of time to balance the budget.

  3. Terms
    1. The minimum lease length is usually a year. Many expats, especially international students who pursue their studies in Korea for like one or two semesters, are facing problems finding accommodations for short-term, which is usually less than a year. Although few accommodations can be rented for short period of time, the quantity of short-term rent is limited and the price is also much higher than one or two year contract.

  4. Process of Signing
    1. If you are looking for a studio in Seoul, you can visit any real estate offices and ask them for help. Then the real estate office will ask about your requirements such as budget, location, lease-length, number of people living, and etc. Then your realtor will prepare as many options as possible so that you have more options to choose from
    2. You and your realtor arrange for an appointment to visit the rooms. If you are not in Korea and not able to see the rooms in person then seeing pictures and videos of the room would be another option.
    3. Even though you don’t have Korean citizenship, there is nothing to worry about as long as you have a passport or Alien Registration Card. Ok, so suppose you already chose the room that you are interested in, then what? Your realtor will guide you in signing a contract. If you want to reserve the room before you move in, you can pay the down payment, which is part and 10% of your deposit. Once you paid the down payment, you are welcomed to sign a contract with the landlord. The remaining deposit, first month rental fee, and brokerage commission fee should be paid on the day you move in.



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