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Renting a house in Bangkok

The Challenge of Finding a House
Visit most Bangkok real estate websites or simply look out the window while taking a taxi through the city, and you will likely get the impression that the Thai capital is a place where getting a condo or apartment is a very simple matter whereas opting for a house is a far more challenging undertaking. Below I would like to discuss whether this is true or not and provide some advice for anyone looking to find a house for a home here.
Houses are usually rented by long stay expats, people with their own furniture, and those with pets such as a cat or dog as finding a condo or apartment which is Pet Friendly is not so easy unless your rental budget is in the 50,000 Baht and upwards range. There are many people who fall into these categories, so as you can imagine, there is a high demand for houses. However, sometimes the demand outstrips supply as the amount of houses available in good locations; i.e. close to a BTS station, in good condition, and most importantly within a person’s rental budget; can be few and far between. What it all usually boils down to (as do most things of course) is a bit of luck. The house that is within budget, in a good condition, and in a suitable location has just become available and is ready to move into on Monday. Sadly, the world we live in doesn’t always play ball, and this is when house hunting truly becomes a challenge! 
Types of houses available
Bangkok has a range of house types:
  • Townhouses
  • Single or Detached Houses
  • Houses in gated communities, private compounds, or Moo Baans
Townhouses are found in most streets in Bangkok. These are similar to terraces houses but generally sit around 3 or 4 to a row and are usually split over 3 or 4 floors. Townhouses are usually the cheapest option as they take up less ground space, i.e. no garden and they are often slightly more tired in terms of upkeep. Nevertheless, townhouses are functional and can be found within easy distance of a BTS station for 30,000 Baht or less. There are of course luxury Townhouses in premium areas such as Thonglor which range between 75,000 – 100,000 Baht.
Single or Detached houses along the BTS line are usually found in the more salubrious areas such as Thonglor, Phrom Phong, or Ari. Single houses in these areas come in a variety of styles, sizes and conditions. When budget isn’t a consideration, it’s possible to find a Miami style luxury house with a large garden, outdoor Jacuzzi and a swimming pool. For the majority of us, a house with a small garden, in standard condition, i.e. no major renovation work, normally starts from 50-60,000 Baht per month. The biggest issue with houses is kitchens and bathrooms as these are not always the most modern and well equipped unless full renovation work has taken place. A determining factor on the price is the location. To be within walking distance of a BTS station is a great advantage and to have that luxury comes at a premium. Getting a house further down a soi which requires transportation to get to the BTS station each time then, naturally, provides a saving on your rental price.
Houses in gated communities or Moo Baans offer certain advantages over standard townhouses and detached houses on a road. Probably the greatest advantage, and one which is very important to most people and especially families, is security. Houses in gated communities have 24Hr Security, and these guards will check all cars and people entering the compound. Another advantage is compound facilities. These facilities can range from a play area for children to fully equipped sports centres with swimming pools, tennis and squash courts, gyms and even boating lakes. However, it is important to stress that while the Moo Baans within the Sukhumvit area will certainly have 24Hr Security and possibly a swimming pool, if you require a large sports centre, then your search will take you the outer districts of Bangkok, and depending on your place of work or your children’s school, your transportation options and even the isolation of living outside the main expat pool will possibly give you pause for thought on whether or not those facilities are a luxury worth having.
Finally, the house in the perfect location and within budget has been found, but what should be done before signing the Lease?
There are a few things to check which might not necessarily be obvious to people who are new to living Thailand or for those who have always lived in a condo and are now moving to a house.
  • Does the house have a powerful water pump to prevent flooding during the wet season?
  • Does the soi flood in the wet season?
  • Is the area known for crime? You might notice almost every house on the soi has a dog!
  • Is there a local pack of soi dogs which gather in the vicinity every night? Soi dogs are normally harmless, but they are very unpredictable with strangers and what seems like a friendly disinterested dog in the hot sun can have a violent personality change at night.
  • Do all the rooms have air conditioning?
  • Does the internal water pump provide enough power to the upstairs shower?
  • If the house is deep down a soi, are there enough food options such as restaurants or delivery services in the area and is there a local shop within a reasonable distance?
  • If I need an electrician or a plumber who should I call? In Thailand these people are called “handymen” who tend to be multi-skilled in electrical, building maintenance, and plumbing which can be great in terms of convenience, providing they more than adequately trained in all areas, but ensure that your landlord knows someone who can carry out repair work when necessary, and if he doesn’t make sure he finds someone.
As we fully appreciate, it’s going to be tough to remember and adhere to all these points when you have a thousand other things racing through your mind in regards to your move, and that’s when our trained staff’s experience and knowledge can come into play. It’s our job to ensure that you don’t make a mistake when choosing your future home.