Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Personal Victory: New Apartment!

So, after finding a new job I came to the super-unwelcomed discovery that I also needed to find a new apartment. I discovered this while re-reading the job description to the job I had accepted.

First I was all...

Then I was all...

But then I remembered all the other stuff I've had to do since getting here and just went...

Most public and private school gigs in Korea provide you with housing. I think this is largely because they assume that most teachers are fresh off the boat and don't have the time or resources to really find a place on their own. University positions, however, assume that you've been here for one or two years already, are a fully capable, mature human being and can find your own place.

Just look at how responsible and mature these two Korea University employees are!

To be fair... I sorta cheated..

And by sorta I mean I was playing the entire game with the strategy guide in hand.

What was this strategy guide, you ask?

Two words: Korean.Boyfriend.

Yeah, I know, so it's more his victory than mine. I really want to ask one of my friends who doesn't speak Korean to write a guest post about finding their own place. I'm going to have my friends who are doing the same thing as me to write a post as well. One of them speaks advanced intermediate Korean but he would be able to give you some of the vocabulary you'd need.

Anyway, SeungHyun was amazing. He made endless calls, dealt with my few persnickety opinions about apartments, and was, in general, a freaking saint and a rock star throughout all of this.
승현양 superstar at both X-Rated Apples to Apples AND finding apartments
Korean apartments, unless you're moving to the foreigner districts, require a massive down payment called key money. It's pretty much like buying the apartment, but you get the money back at the end of your lease. My maximum was 50,000,000 won (approx. $43,000) for key money and 500,000 won a month  for rent ($430). We looked in various areas around the northeast. My one priority was for the apartment to be in walking distance of KU. We saw everything, from massive 3 bedroom places to tiny studio apartments, all within the same price range. We saw villas (split-up houses), officetels (studio apartment buidlings), and apartment complexes. Old houses and brand new apartments, we saw it all. It was crazy to think that I could afford all of these different kinds of places.

The biggest roadblock we ran into was apartments being taken before I had a chance to say yes, and one super-flakey realtor (out of the, like, 7 that we saw apartments from).

I finally settled on a one bedroom apartment in a brand new villa. The one downside is that it doesn't have a refrigerator (though it does have a washing machine, range, and air-con), but with so many people moving and leaving the country this time of the year it wont be that hard to find a used one. It's a 30 minute walk from KU and a 5 minute walk from the closest subway station (LINE 4, BABY, YEEEAAAHHH!).
Those two places written in blue are both subways stations, fyi

Now comes my THIRD least favorite activity (I just can't win, can I?): moving. I'm hoping that it wont be that horrible, seeing as we have from now until August 24th to move all our crap. I also need to buy some stuff... like closets. Oh, that's another thing you should probably know. A LOT of Korean apartments don't come with closets included, so be prepared for the possibility of having to buy a wardrobe (the olde-timey kind).

So huzzah! I sign the contract tonight and then it's all mine!


  1. Nice move, Margaret! Haha! I like the gifs you inserted here... It definitely brought up the idea and the looks you got when you landed to that job. How's the work and new apartment now? :D
    ~Marry Digg~

  2. You’re very fortunate to have boyfriend as supportive as SeungHyun. When looking for an apartment in a place that has a very different culture, it is always better to leave the negotiations to a trusted local. Anyway, I would love to read more about your adventures in your new neighborhood and work. =)

    Von Madison