First of all before you start your search for an apartment in Korea, the size of apartments in Korea are measured in Pyeong. Pyeong is a Korean measurement system that has been used for a long time. The Korean government enacted a new law in 2007 that will replaced the use of pyeong to square meters in official documents however all real estate agents and apartment agencies use Pyeong. One pyeong is 3.3 sq. meters = 35 sq. feet. The average size apartment would be about 10 to 15 pyeong.
In Korea, apartment building usually have more than 15 floors. The size of the apartment depends on the price and location. The closer you get to the city the smaller and more expensive the apartment becomes. Apartments have a kitchen and living room usually shared, a toilet / bathroom and one or two rooms. Again this is only a rough guide as there are thousands of different style apartments in Korea.
How to go about getting an apartment:
The best way is to search the Internet or visit a real estate agent in person. When you find an apartment, enquire about it and pay a visit. If you are happy with the apartment, it is time to negotiate rent and make a contract. When renting an apartment, Deposit / Key Money is needed. This can be anywhere from 1,000,000 won to 50,000,000 won generally about 10,000,000 won. This will be refunded after you move out. Some owners will let you pay a smaller deposit but at a higher monthly rental fee.
Next is Wolse (월세) this is the monthly rent cost and will be negotiated with the owner.
Some owners will need a guarantor (보증인 Bojeungin). This person should be someone close to you who has a stable job and income. Sometimes your school or company will act as your guarantor. If you should fail to pay monthly rents, damage your aprtment or flee, your guarantor will be held responsible. Being someones guarantor in Korea is a big thing and only close friends should be asked.
The benefits of getting an apartment in Korea:
You will have a lot more privacy in an apartment than living in an officetel, Hasuk Jip or Goshiwon. You will have a lot of space to move around and even bring some friends over for parties. If there are any problems with something in your apartment or neighbours, you have the management to take care of these things. Usually on the first floor of the apartment will be some restaurants and shops. Apartments are usually located near train stations, shopping centres and schools etc.
Drawbacks of getting an apartment in Korea:
There is usually a very high deposit, key money and fees when renting an apartment. You must sign contracts for 1 or 2 years which ties you down to one area. On top of the rent there will be management fees and utilities such as gas, water and electricity. Sometimes you may hear your neighbour next door or live beside a neighbour with kids who play and scream everyday.
All apartments are unfurnished, however some come with refrigerators and microwaves.
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