Sunday, March 10, 2013

Apartment Living Korean Style

Well we did it! We found a new apartment closer to work and surprisingly it's not the size of a shoebox!  Through finding a new apartment, I realized that I had never shown any pictures of our old place on this little blog of mine. Finding an apartment as a foreigner can be a little tricky. Most of the time, apartments are provided by the school for the foreign teacher. But since we knew we wanted to stay in Korea for a few more years and weren't sure if we would be staying with the same school, we wanted to find a place of our own so if we did by chance change workplaces, we wouldn't have to change apartments.

To find the place that we are currently in, we narrowed down the area that we wanted to be in and drove around for days, looking for new buildings or buildings that would be soon be done. We then gave the telephone number of that apartment to a rockstar Korean friend of ours who would then call the building and get all of the details for us. Not too difficult, just time consuming. We felt extremely blessed with the building that we found. It was a great location for us at the time, the landlady was beyond nice and went out of her way to work with us and make us feel at home, and it was the perfect size for the both of us. Which surprises me since back in the states we felt cramped in a 700 square foot apartment and our old place was roughly 600 square foot apartment (or about 18 pyeong-the Korean measurement) and felt spacious.

Paying rent in Korea is a little different also. You have rent but then you also have what is called 'key money'. Think of it as a really big deposit before you move in. Most apartments start with key money of $5,000-$10,000. But here's the cool part. Say you found an apartment for $600 and they required $5,000 key money. Well say that you had more money saved up (lucky you) and wanted to put it towards the apartment. Well, typically for every $10,000 extra that you are willing to put down, the rent will go down by $100 a month (this is not a rule but what we have found to be true). Every apartment has a limit of how much key money they will accept and how low they will let the apartment rent go down to. But it's such a great way for those savers out there to save some money on rent. You may be asking 'do you get that money back?' And the answer is, yup. Every penny of the key money that you put down, you get back the day that you move out of the apartment. Win win.

Without further ado, our humble Korean abode.
Most of the apartments in Korea don't have key holes. Instead they have keypads where you type in the code and it opens the door. Great for people like me who are prone to lock my keys inside. 
Before and after of our bathroom. Traditional Korean bathrooms have no separation of the shower from the rest of the bathroom which leaves the whole place soaked whenever you shower. To prevent this, hubs took a ridge of plastic and used caulk to secure it on the floor, stopping any water from flowing out of the shower area and also added a shower curtain.
There is no central heat and air in Korea. This is both our air con and our heating along with having floor heat.
The view from our back window.
Wood cabinets are extremely expensive and therefore extremely rare in Korea. Majority of places have plastic cabinets and prefabricated kitchen units. 

I'll be sure to post pics of the new place and the story of how we found it when we finish getting settled!

Linking up with Molly and Brooke, Meg