As I wrote earlier, I was relatively satisfied with my little Goshiwon here in the Yeoksam neighborhood of Gangnam. Moving to the big city here without depending on anyone could of cost an arm and a leg if I decided to book a month in any hotel in this area. I guess I could of rented or stayed elsewhere in the city, but it would of taken a good 40 mins to an hour each way from more affordable parts of the city. I also knew I would of had time constraints really needing me to be close to this neighborhood. So, the goshiwon served it’s purpose. I could of lived there for more months, but I decided to take a plunge into the Korean real estate market.
Avoiding the Wol-seh Deposit
Normally, you need to deposit about 5,000,000 to 20,000,000 won to rent a decent officetel or one room here in the Gangnam area. I only brought with me about $5000 and spent a good 1,000,000+ this past month while living here. Gangnam Style isn’t that cheap, but it’s definitely cheaper than many other places in the world. So, I didn’t have the minimum deposit available, but decided to check out a few one room websites anyway. To my surprise, I found a handful of units that didn’t have the 5 million won deposit minimum. I found several with just one month’s rent.
What’s the lowest rent available in these parts?
I found one or two at 650,000 won a month, but most of them started at 700,000-900,000 won. I noticed a number of the lower priced ones being advertised by one agent nearby. I gave him a call and we made an appointment for the next day. We went and checked out 3 of them at 700,000 won and 1 at 650,000 won. It took no more than 20 minutes to see all 4 and I knew my due date for the goshiwon rent was only a day away. So, I decided to go with the most modern of the 4, but it turned out to be the smallest too. It was 8 pyung. Even though the other ones were a 50% larger (12 pyung), I didn’t want to deal with the headaches of older appliances and possible cockroaches. They were run down looking as well which can also affect the mindset being in it for a good 50% or more of your waking life.
Here’s a few photos of them before I moved in.
A view from the door:
A view of the small kitchen area:
The TV & Air Conditioner:
As you can see, the bed is quite a bit bigger than my goshiwon. It’s a full sized bed and frankly, if it was a twin or smaller, I might have a bit more room. The TV, air conditioner, washing machine and refrigerator were all much newer than the other 3 units.
The cons of moving to the new space:
Despite the larger space, this neighborhood’s lacking in terms of food options and transportation. The good news though is that I don’t have to walk “up hill” to work every morning. So, I’m not sweating when I get to work. However, there are hills still here and there. I also noticed if you live northeast of the gangnam station in the immediate larger area, there’s a HUGE hill to some of the housing. it might be considered the “gangnam hills.”
I haven’t found too many convenient places nearby for food options. I’ll have to report back if I do. I may have to start relying on ordering “take out.” I’ve definitely got my share of take out menus – another chance for me to improve my Korean!