*Photos and details presented below are for informational purposes only*

Adjusting to Korean life - Types of Leased Housing in Korea

Do you remember the terms that were at the end of the last post? All of these terms are helpful as you search for housing. Now, let’s become familiar with the types of housing typically leased in Korea.

One-room/Two-room/etc (원룸/투룸/등)
Oneroomstreet

These normally require a lease contract and while the size may not be what you are used to back home, the names are comparable to a studio/1-bedroom/2-bedroom apartment in the west. Normally, the higher the security deposit, the lower the monthly rent.

  • Monthly Rent: Varies greatly depending on facilities and amount of money you put down as the security deposit. Typically between KRW 300,000 - KRW 700,000 for a one-room and can increase depending on the apartment size/facilities. Utilities are normally not included in your rent payment but sometimes Internet/Cable TV are included.
  • Management/Maintenance Fee: Yes, typically from KRW 50,000+ per month.
  • Rental Period: Typical lease contracts start at a year and can be for multiple years.

  • Room Size: Varies greatly, one-room sizes can start around 10 square meters (3평).

  • Required Security Deposit: Typical amounts start from KRW 5,000,000 and up.

  • Shared Facilities: Building elevator if there is one. Some will allow rooftop access.

  • In-room furnishings: Can come as a full-option (풀옵션) unit, completely unfurnished, or anywhere in between. Sometimes the in-room furnishings can be negotiated.

  • Benefits: You’re own space to call home! While some people do get roommates with two-room or three-room units, most people live alone in one-room units.

  • Drawbacks: In general, the size of the units are not very large and therefore accommodating guests can be a challenge. You may have a lot of neighbors in adjoining units which could bring issues such as noise. Parking can be very limited if you own a car.

 

Villa (빌라) - Multiplex House (다세대주택)
Villa

These are multi-story buildings divided into units. There are usually no elevators despite them being 5 or more stories tall. Typically there is no security guard for the building.

  • Monthly Rent: Varies greatly depending on facilities and amount of money you put down as the security deposit.
  • Management/Maintenance Fee: Typically none.
  • Rental Period: Lease contracts start at a year and can be for multiple years, unless you are subletting a room.

  • Villa Size: Varies greatly depending on unit. Can be upwards of 33 square meters (10평).

  • Required Security Deposit: Varies but can be very high.

  • Shared Facilities: Building parking if available.

  • In-room furnishings: If subletting a bedroom, typically a bed, desk, chair, and some storage. It may include a personal A/C unit. If renting the whole villa, you will have access to whatever furnishings are present upon contract. These can vary.

  • Benefits: Ability to share housing costs if you have roommates; normally villas can be more spacious than one-room/two-room apartments.

  • Drawbacks: Villa buildings are typically older and you may have more maintenance issues. Insulation in older buildings can be very poor which makes for colder temperatures during the winter and warmer temperatures during the summer. If you own a car, you may have to park on the street or share the parking area for the villa if there is one.

Officetel(오피스텔)
Officetel

These are normally newer buildings, sometimes with businesses and/or offices on the lower floors with housing on the upper floors. They normally require a large security deposit, and a  large building management fee. They may have shared community facilities like a fitness center or meeting spaces. There is typically a security guard and maintenance staff.
 

  • Monthly Rent: If not contracted by jeonse, this can be very expensive reaching 1+ million won per month.
  • Management/Maintenance Fee: Yes, typically from KRW 50,000+ per month.
  • Rental Period: Lease terms start at a year and can be for multiple years.

  • Room Size: Typically larger (starting around 10평) and can include separate bedrooms or a loft area.

  • Required Security Deposit: Varies but usually very high

  • Shared Facilities: Building elevator, parking, and any provided community facilities

  • In-room furnishings: Many will come with appliances but no furniture. Others may come as fully furnished with appliances and furniture. Some may come completely unfurnished.

  • Benefits: Newer, spacious, sometimes lofted units. May have conveniently located shops/restaurants/etc underneath your apartment. Parking is usually available underneath the building. Security and maintenance staff.

  • Drawbacks: The management fee for officetels is typically very high. Having other businesses within your building could be a drawback as many non-residents may be entering/exiting the building.

Apartment (아파트)

Multiple bedroom and bathroom apartment built to house families. Can be expensive and luxurious. They may have shared community facilities like a children’s playground, fitness center, or meeting spaces.

  • Monthly Rent: If not contracted by jeonse, apartments can be very expensive. Reaching over 1+ million won per month. Usually several million won per month.
  • Management/Maintenance Fee: Yes, typically from KRW 50,000+ per month.
  • Rental Period: Lease terms start at a year and can be for multiple years.

  • Room Size: Large living areas with bedrooms and bathrooms off a main kitchen/living area.

  • Required Security Deposit: Varies but usually very high

  • Shared Facilities: Building elevator, many have parking garages or parking lots, and any provided community facilities

  • In-room furnishings: Will most likely come unfurnished if contracting a whole apartment. Others may come fully or partially furnished depending on the terms of the contract and/or building.

  • Benefits: Large place to live with multiple rooms and community benefits. Parking is usually available around the building and in underground parking garages. Security and maintenance staff.
  • Drawbacks: Apartment complexes are very large with each building housing many units. The amount of privacy you have can be limited as the view from your window can be another apartment building.

 

BONUS INFORMATION: Free-Standing House (단독주택)
House

A large house for a single family. It is not divided into separate units. They are normally found in the countryside and in certain areas of cities. This type of housing is harder to come by in cities due to high population density. The price for a free-standing house is very high. They may have features such as a courtyard or other outdoor space.

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The next post will cover visiting real estate agencies and contracting housing in Korea. Please feel free to email me here with any questions.

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