So, you’ve landed a gig teaching English in South Korea—congrats! Now, onto the next big hurdle: finding a place to call home. Trust me, I’ve been there. Navigating the housing market in a foreign country can feel like solving a puzzle, but fear not! With a bit of know-how and the right apps in your arsenal, you’ll be kicking back in your own Korean flat in no time.

Let me level with you—I’ve been through the ups and downs of the apartment hunt myself. It took me quite some time of searching and living in less-than-ideal accommodations before I stumbled upon a building that felt like home. After exploring numerous options and enduring a few less-than-pleasant living situations, I finally found a building that caught my eye.
Determined to make it mine, I visited their real estate office and had a chat with the agent. Despite no available flats at the time, I left my number, hoping for a stroke of luck. And guess what? A couple of months later, I received the call I’d been waiting for—a perfect flat was opening up, and to top it off, it was on the side of the building I preferred. You can actually find it on KOLARIS’s social media channels–check it out when you get a chance!

My Apartment, check out my apartment tour on Instagram here

Alright, first things first, let’s talk about what you’re up against. Before diving into the apartment hunt, it’s essential to understand the housing market in South Korea. In major cities like Seoul, Busan, and Daegu, you’ll find a variety of housing options ranging from studio apartments to larger flats. Prices can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, size, and amenities.

Now, let’s get down to business. Here are a few apps that’ll be your trusty sidekicks on this apartment hunting adventure:

  • Zigbang: Think of Zigbang as your personal real estate guru. It’s one of the most popular real estate apps in South Korea and it’s got everything you need to scout out the perfect apartment—location, price range, housing type, you name it. Plus, it provides detailed listings with photos, descriptions, and contact information for landlords or real estate agents.

Zigbang App

  • Dabang: Similar to Zigbang, Dabang is another useful app for finding apartments in South Korea. It’s got a slick interface, tons of listings, and handy filters to help you narrow down your search. Bonus points for providing info on nearby hotspots like supermarkets and eateries.

Dabang App

  • Airbnb: Yep, you read that right. While Airbnb might be known for short-term stays, it’s also a goldmine for ESL teachers on the hunt for a more permanent spot. Many hosts offer sweet deals for long-term stays, so don’t overlook it as a potential option. Trust me, I speak from experience. When I found myself in between apartments, Airbnb came to the rescue, offering a range of short-term rental options at affordable prices.

Airbnb App

Now that you’ve got your apps locked and loaded, here are a few insider tips to help you snag that dream apartment:

  • Crunch Those Numbers: Before you dive headfirst into the apartment hunt, figure out your budget. Factor in things like utilities and transportation costs so you don’t end up in over your head.
  • Location, Location, Location: You know what they say—location is key. I had my heart set on being close to the beach, as well as near a metro station for easy commuting. Thankfully, my apartment checked both boxes. When choosing your neighborhood, prioritize what matters most to you—whether it’s proximity to work, amenities, or favorite spots. The right location can make all the difference in making your new place feel like home.
  • Get Up Close and Personal: Once you’ve found a few contenders, don’t be shy about scheduling viewings. If you’re dealing with agents who don’t speak English, no worries! Just fire off a message using apps like “Papago” for smooth communication. During the viewings, keep an eye out for cleanliness, maintenance, and the neighborhood vibe. These little details will help you decide if it’s the right fit for you.
  • Work Your Charm: Last but not least, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Landlords are often open to haggling over rent, deposit, and lease terms, especially if you’re willing to commit to a long-term stay.

So there you have it, folks. Apartment hunting in South Korea might seem like a daunting task, but armed with the right tools and a can-do attitude, you’ll be living your best life abroad in no time. Whether you’re dreaming of a cozy studio or a spacious flat with a killer view, there’s something out there with your name on it. Happy hunting!