Where I lived in Korea and How Much The Places Cost Me

//Where I lived in Korea and How Much The Places Cost Me

Where I lived in Korea and How Much The Places Cost Me

Living in Different Places in Seoul South Korea and How Much Housing Costs

Quick Summary:

1. One Room near Yeoksam Subway Station (Line 2): 

-2010 (Summer)

-Normally a shared one room with a co-worker, but I opted to pay extra to cover the other half of the housing cost. Monthly cost came to an extra 400,000won-500,000won

2. One room near Seoul National University Entrance Station (Line 2):

-2010 (Fall) to 2011 (Winter)

-Deposit = 5,000,000won

-Monthly cost = 400,000won

3. One room near Konkuk University Station (Line 2 / Line 7):

-2011 (Winter) to 2012 (Winter)

-Deposit = 5,000,000won

-Monthly cost = 500,000won

-Real Estate Broker Fee = 200,000won

4. Villa Unit near Guro Digital Station (Line 2):

-2012 (fall) to 2014 (spring)

-Jeonse Deposit = 100,000,000won

-Real Estate Broker Fee = 400,000won – 500,000won

5. Apartment Unit near Sa Ga Jeong Station (Line 7):

-2014 (summer) to 2015 (spring)

-Jeonse Deposit = 120,000,000won – 130,000,000won

-Real Estate Broker Fee = 400,000won – 500,000won

6. Villa Unit near Yangjae Citizen’s Forest Station (Shin-Bundang Red Line):  

-2015 (spring) – 2018 (fall / winter)

-Cost = 250,000,000won

-Real Estate Broker Fee = 600,000won – 800,000won

Here is a more detailed explanation of the places I lived in South Korea from 2010-2018.

1. One room near Yeoksam Subway Station (Line 2): 

When I first arrived in South Korea for my second time in 2010, I got a job with an English Hagwon with locations near Samsung Station and Apgujung station in Seoul. They provided me with a one room to stay in near Yeoksam Station. Employees were given the option to live in a shared one room with a co-worker, or pay extra to have their own space to live in. I chose to pay extra so that I could have my own place. At the time it was worth it, but I probably could have saved an additional 1.5 million won if I lived with someone else for that time. But I’ve always been about spending some money and enjoying my time, rather than making sacrifices to save extra money. In the end, I was really glad I opted to pay the extra bit of money because I truly value my privacy. In the end, I only worked at that Hagwon for 3 months. Yup! in 2010, there were teaching contracts for 3-4 months that provided housing and airfare. You won’t find that anymore though. Anyhow, so it cost me about 400,000won – 500,000won a month to live in a one room near Yeoksam Station. The one room was pretty spacious for a one room in that area. I believe the room was at least 10 pyeong I recall.

2. One room near Seoul National University Entrance Station (Line 2):

I then somehow got a job as a marketing manager at a Korean manufacturing company that exported their goods to different parts of the globe. At this company, I met one of my business mentors, my wife, and I was influenced to start my journey to become an entrepreneur. I worked at the company, The Dental Solution, from  the end of 2010 to the end of 2011. During this time, I lived in a one room near Seoul National University Entrance Station on Line 2. This was the very first place I found on my own and I was lucky that the owner of the building turned out to be an honest guy. You see, I found the one room by searching on craigslist. At the time, I didn’t even consider going to a Real Estate agent. Honestly, I didn’t even know that’s what I was supposed to do. Heck, this was the very first time I found a place to rent on my own, so I really didn’t know what I was doing. Anyhow, I met the girl who put up the ad on craigslist. It turns out that she just knows the landlord and got a small commission from the landlord for people she finds to rent rooms.

So anyhow, I meet this girl outside exit 1 of 서울대입구역 and I have no idea what the place even looks like. All I know is that the deposit fee is 5,000,000won and that the rent is going to be 400,000won. I do my best to be friendly and she seems to be friendly as well. We then walk together to the one room building and she takes me upstairs to meet the landlord. The landlord turns out to be a man in his 70s. He says a bunch of things that I kind of understood and then goes on to explain the contract. I honestly understood like 20% of what he was saying, but saw that the amounts written on the paper were 5,000,000won and 400,000won and then another amount for 20,000won. I found out the 20,000won was for maintenance and utilities. I signed the papers and he stamped them with his personal stamp. Then I handed him 5,400,000won in cash. He then gave me a copy of the contract and that’s how I found my place. After I signed the contacts and handed over the money, I felt a little suspicious. So I texted the girl who introduced me to the place and thanked her for helping me find the place. I was thinking that it would be good to keep in touch with her just in case things didn’t go well with my landlord. And she never replied back to the two messages I sent. I was a little nervous the first month, but after two months passed, things turned out to be okay and I lived at that place for a year.

The one room was located on either the 3rd or 4th floor of the building. The place was a little small. It had a tiny kitchen at the entrance when you walked in. And right when you walked in, you can see a single bed. Then to the left of that there was a closet and a desk with some drawers. There was also an old air conditioner by the window and then behind the kitchen, there was a bathroom. Oh, and there was a small fridge as well.

Looking back on this experience, it was really risk for me to do it this way. There was no third party involved and if the landlord just ended up taking off, or if that guy actually turned out to be some random guy posing as the landlord, then 5,400,000won of my money would have been long gone and I would still have no place to stay. In the end, if you are looking for a one room, you will end up paying the real estate agent a fee for about 200,000won – 300,000won, but I think it is worth it so that you have the real estate agent working in your best interest.

3. One room near Konkuk University Station (Line 2 / Line 7):

Once I found out that working in a Korean company wasn’t all that great, and that I wanted to go my own way, I decided to live closer to my then girlfriend and my new job. Once I found out that I was going to be teaching at Yeoksam Elementary school, I found a location that would allow me to be relatively closer to my girlfriend / fiancé at the time and my school. And Konkuk University Station area was just right for the occasion.

This time, my then fiancé helped me look for a place. We went to some real estate agents and they showed us some places. I remember telling my wife that I can just go on craigslist and then I won’t have to pay the real estate agent a broker fee. I told my wife that I could just go straight to the landlord and make a deal with him or her. And my wife just got all shocked and started explaining to me how dangerous that was. She then told me some stories of people  getting scammed and losing money. After hearing her stories, I was like, oh…damn…good thing I didn’t get scammed by my previous landlord.

So we ended up finding a place for a 5 million won deposit and a monthly cost of 500,000won. There was no maintenance fee, but I had to pay my own utilities. Also, I had to pay the real estate agent a fee of about 200,000won. The location of my one room was really good, but it was a little small. But it was a little bigger than my previous one room.

This one room wasn’t in a big apartment type building, but in like a home with 2 floors that was renovated for the purpose of renting. I believe the building had about 4-6 units available for rent. I was on the first floor. So right when you walk in the front door, the fridge is to your left and then you see the kitchen along the right. There was a built in washing machine underneath the kitchen counter top. And then there is just open space for your things and a bathroom that was to the right of the space. The open space didn’t include a bed or any furniture, so I bought some shelves and a clothing rack for my things. I also ended up buying a small table for me to use and some cushions for me to use as a mattress. And that was pretty much it.

4. Villa Unit near Guro Digital Station (Line 2):

Once my wife and I decided that we would get married and soon start our English Gyosoopso business, we decided that we would do our best to save money. So the goal was to get a Jeonse place so that the money I was spending on rent could be saved and used for our business and other life expenses. But the problem was that I had a one year contract with my one room near Konkuk University from late 2011 to late 2012. So we tried contacting the landlord, but he was literally MIA. So I ended up subletting the place by placing an ad one Craigslist and I was able to have it subleted for all but one month it would have been vacant for 500,000won each month. So we ended up paying one months worth of rent, which I was pretty happy with. So I believe the one room contract was to end in end of 2012 and I was living in our Jeonse villa by some time in the fall of 2012. And we paid 100,000,000won Jeonse for the villa and ended up giving the real estate agent somewhere between 400,000won – 500,000won for helping us find the place.

The villa was a little old, but it was spacious enough for the both of us. There were two bed rooms, a kitchen, an open area, a bathroom, and some space for washing machines and a small space for the boiler.

So since we actually got married in Korea on paper in September 2012, we were considered married, which allowed us to qualify for the New Married Couples Jeonse Loan. So we got a Jeonse loan in my wife’s name and got our 100,000,000won Jeonse place. I believe we had about 20% or 30% of the money. So even though our wedding day wasn’t until January 12th, 2013, we were legally married in September 2012. And this helped us save a good chunk of change.

5. Apartment Unit near Sa Ga Jeong Station (Line 7):

We them moved into an apartment that was closer to where my wife’s family lived. We were in our second year of running our English gyosoopso and business was pretty stable by then. So we invested a little more money to live in a nicer place. The apartment wasn’t huge, but it was big enough for my wife and I, and we could have probably raised at least one child there comfortably, but two would have been a challenge. In the end, we found some apartments that fit our budget. The apartment ended up costing about 130 million won for a Jeonse lease. And the broker agent that found it for us charged us about 400,000won – 500,000won for finding the place. This place was probably the best place I lived in while staying in Korea. And we probably would have stayed longer, but the landlord actually ended up selling it before our contract was up, so we found ourselves looking for another place. But the good news was that we were planning to move closer to Yangjae-dong because it is closer to our Hagwon business and we were also planning on starting a flower business. Even though it kind of sucked that we were forced to find a new place, it was an opportunity for us to move to a place that was closer to our Hagwon business, and that would benefit us when we started our flower business.

The apartment was nice, it had two rooms, a kitchen and open space area, a bathroom, and a pretty spacious veranda that was great for drying your clothes after putting them through the laundry.

6. Villa Unit near Yangjae Citizen’s Forest Station (Shin-Bundang Red Line):  

We then found a place to stay in Yangjae Dong, Seocho-gu, which was pretty close to our Hagwon business at the time. Our Hagwon business was not too far from Gangnam station, so our commutes went from 40mins – 60 mins to 5 mins – 10 mins. It was awesome! But the villa was smaller than the apartment we lived in. And the Villa cost more to live in than our apartment. In the end, it cost us around 250 million won to purchase the villa unit. And we ended up getting some loans to help us purchase the villa unit, but it was worth it. The location was amazing for what we were doing. Once we closed our Hagwon business, we found some business space for our flower business. And we were in walking distance of our flower business now, so the location was prime. And the community was really nice.

In the end, we paid the broker about 600,000won – 800,000won for helping us find the place.

Our unit was located on the fifth floor of the building and the Villa building was less than 2 years old when we bought it, so it was pretty new. There was enough space to park in our parking lot and the building was very clean. Our unit had two rooms, a kitchen with open space, a bathroom, and some small rooms that housed our boiler, laundry machines, and acted as storage area.

The cost of homes can vary greatly depending on the area of your home. For example, my friend bought a 25 pyeong apartment unit for 200 million won in Yongin, Gyeongido. However, you wouldn’t be able to find a 200 million villa unit in certain parts of Seoul and in certain areas, 200 million won may only get you like a 13 pyeong villa. If you want to look up the costs of homes, you can just search for “아파트 매매 (apartment units for sale)” on Naver or for  “빌라 매매 (villa units on sale)” and it will take you to land.naver.com which will then list some properties for you. You can see the listing prices of some of the properties. Sometimes these prices may be higher or lower than the actual one on the list, so you will have to consult with a real estate agent that you trust when looking for a place in Seoul, South Korea.

So this is just a little information about the places I stayed in while living in Seoul, South Korea. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or send an email to entrepreneurkorea@gmail.com

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