It’s common knowledge that there are two different prices for one item in Vietnam. A lower one for aggressive bargainers (usually Vietnamese people) and a higher one for those less inclined to negotiate (usually foreigners). Normally, the price difference isn’t huge, maybe only a few dollars on average. But the disparity really starts to show when you rent an apartment in Saigon. Expats, who may not be used to haggling over rental prices and fees, often wind up being charged hundreds of dollars more per month than their barter-savvy, local counterparts.
Other real estate agents won’t tell you about the two-price system. But we’ve put together a cheat sheet that tells you exactly how much you should expect to pay for rent in Ho Chi Minh City.
Make a budget
Before we get into the nitty-gritty rental price details, it’s very important to first define your budget. Nobody should ever be worrying about making rent. The popular rule-of-thumb that says living expenses shouldn’t exceed around 25 percent of your salary remains true in Vietnam, so plan for it accordingly. Having to break a lease because you can’t afford rent can be even more expensive and disastrous.
Vietnam’s best-kept secret: The apartment price index
Based on our sale team’s experience in the Ho Chi Minh City real estate market, we have created a table detailing the rental price of some of Saigon’s most popular apartment buildings for expats. All of the listed apartments are located in interesting areas of the cities and most offer a swimming pool, a gym, security, receptionists… What is commonly called a superior living standard.
Check out the table below to see what you can expect to pay for rent in Saigon:
|BUILDING / TYPE||1 BED||2 BEDS||3 BEDS||4 BEDS|
|$1000 – $1200||$1400 – $1600||$1700 – $2500||N/A|
|$700 – $800||$900 – $1200||$1300 – $1600||$1700 – $2300|
|$800 – $900||$1200 – $1500||$1600 – $1900||N/A|
|$600 – $700||$800 – $1500||$1000 – $1500||N/A|
|N/A||$1000 – $1300||$1300 – $1600||N/A|
|THAO DIEN PEARL
|N/A||$800 – $1000||$1200 – $1500||N/A|
|N/A||$900 – $1100||$1300 – $1500||N/A|
|$600 – $700||$800 – $1000||$1000 – $1500||N/A|
(Note: All prices are in USD)
Don’t forget the fine print
Remember that amenities, location, room measurements, furnishings and facilities will all influence the price of properties. Most buildings will have set prices that can vary depending on the view, the age of the apartment and the condition of the furniture. You may be able to drive the price down a little on any of the aforementioned points.
To avoid the kind of surprises that no one likes, make sure that you know exactly what is included in your rent rate. Don’t forget to ask about any additional fees you may need to pay for separately. The best way to fight hidden apartment fees is to know what to look for.
Water, internet and electricity are usually paid for by you, not your landlord. So, if the tenancy contract doesn’t explicitly outline the above, you need to ask which party will take responsibility. The best way to do this is to ask through your broker or agent. If it’s not included, make sure you know the exact prices of the rates before signing anything. The price of electricity is sometimes artificially inflated and the extra goes into your landlord’s pocket. Also, make sure that there are no limits if something is included in the overall price, like the gigabytes of an internet connection.
Management fees for apartments can be outrageous in Saigon. It’s best to clarify if there are any and how much they are prior to signing any contract.
Cleaning fees can get stuffed into the small print of your contract. It’s common for landlords to withhold some of your deposit after you vacate the apartment to pay for “cleaning services.” Check the document carefully for this ridiculous add-on.
Maintenance fees like paying for an annual cleaning of the apartment’s air conditioning units could be slipped into the contract as well.
It’s up to you!
Now go location hunting, find something that you like and negotiate the price as best as you can. You may never hit rock-bottom prices that a seasoned local will reach, but at least you won’t be grossly overcharged.
For more tips on renting apartments in the city, download our FREE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO HOUSING IN SAIGON.