anyone built a house in VN?

hi all,

Has anyone here built a house in Vn?  I'm not talking about physically building one, but contracting a company to build it from their designs?

Any recommendations or thought about what to watch out for?



I never built a house before but from my experience of my cousins' house, you could find a nice house model on website or design it yourself, then ask a small local construction group to implement it. They would do the same that design for you. Contacting a company and do as their design is pretty good but the prrice is quite high too.


I bought land and  had a house built nine years ago. There are so many problems and pitfalls to deal with, such as:

-  the property must have a 'red book' (sổ đỏ), the land use certificate. It is like a 50 year lease. You do not own the land, you lease it, and the lease is transferrable.
- have the ward or village land clerk come out and properly repeg the block.  Beware of pegs being moved to favour your neighbours.
-if the land is zoned for rice growing, or farming, you must pay a tax to have the house area rezoned as residential land, for which you pay a tax. No need to rezone the whole property.

- you must apply for a building permit and pay tax BEFORE construction starts.
- Engage and architect to draw up plans which comply with building regulations.
- when you engage a builder,  engage him to build only.  DON'T give him a choice to buy all the buildding materials and internal items in your house.
- Buy all these items yourself, including steel, sand, cement, gravel, doors, windows, plumbing pipes, roof tiles, wall and floor tiles, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, lighting, light switches.  Buy the best quality you can afford, because there is so much rubbish on the market.
- use non-slip tiles as much as possible, especially in the bathroom and balcony. Vietnamese like highly polished tiles, which are more expensive and downright dangerous when wet.
- If you want three-wire electricity (positive, earth, negative wiring), then you must say so, as otherwise  you will get two pin plugs and wiring only.
- make sure  you have several double power points in each room, and extra power points for tv and audio equipment; and computer desk.
- If you want hot water (to the kitchen as well as the bathroom) , then you must tell the builder and buy the  appropriate taps, otherwise no hot water at all. Same for airconditioning. Solar heating is now available in VN.
- if you want an alarm system, have it installed during the build, too.
- Be on site every single day to observe, ask questions and give directions. Engage an English speaking building supervisor to liaise between you and the builder.
I used my carpenter brother in law, who is a neighbour of the builder and speaks trade language. Although I speak Vietnamese well, the builder and I couldn't understand each other's accent and I don't know building trade jargon.  This arrangement worked out well.
- Guard your building materials to prevent overnight theft. It is so easy to 'lose' bags of cement, bricks, lengths of steel, and any other removeable items.

- My build was a three month contract, but it took five full months to finish. Over runs are normal.  The builder did a very good job and my wife and I are very happy with our house.

My wife continues to have improvements made to the house, such as post-build aircon, better standard lighting, wind out blinds for shade, raising the driveway 40cm to reduce flooding in the wet season.

Hello Ralph, I enjoyed reading your post on the process of how you went about building your home
& your advice .
I am engaged to a lady in HMC & will be getting married on 21/09/215 , Hopefully if she gets her visa approved  between now and then ' she will come back with me to Australia and hoping that by June 2016 we can decide on purchasing  property in Vn.
I am keen to learn & understand the property market ( not wanting to spend big ) & even where I could find private sellers of existing homes or just land ( not through an Real estate Agency ) to get a faire or even a better deal " I know that I must be aware of everything & check that everything is legal !   
Can I ask how big is your home & how much did it cost for you to build ?


Please enable private messages so that I can answer you question.

Builders are like children... you really need to make sure they do everything right! same goes to painters! basicly painters work completely opposite order than they do in western countries.. :/

Fact that many things they do completely in different order that defies logic.. :)

ralphnhatrang :

Please enable private messages so that I can answer you question.

No, tell us here, I want to know...

My 300m2 block of land is 9km west of Nha Trang and cost $6000AUD thirteen years ago. The house including balcony on three sides, takes up 200m2 and cost $58,000AUD to build. It cost so much because it is full of steel and concrete to stop it moving and cracking.  The village land clerk now values the house and land at 2.2  billion dong ($131,700AUD).

Land in down town Nha Trang is now horrendously expensive and measured in hundreds of thousands of dollars, so that many families are selling their properties at a huge profit and moving out to the surrounding countryside and building or buying houses out here, and then they have lots of money left over.

Thanks for the replies to all - and especially to Ralph in Nha Trang.

We actually looked at some land in West Nha Trang a couple of weeks ago and for all i know, i may have driven past your place.

We - my vietnamese wife and myself, ended up buying some land in Da Nang.  We decided against Nha Trang for various reasons (which i won't go into here) and decided on Da Nang instead.

The red book will be shortly coming but in the meantime we are looking at various house designs and trying to work out what we want.

I have built a house before in that i did a kit home in Central West NSW a couple of years back and i have also done a few renovations on other properties as well.  In fact my license is still valid but only for NSW.  But for this place in Da Nang, i will be putting it in the hands of the builders/contractors to do but i will be overlooking and also "adjusting" a few of the specs to suit myself too.

We have no time line at the moment - but obviously the red book will be the first milestone.  But in terms of building and moving in, there are no timelines yet.  I will be project managing it all and i am well aware of the need to camp on site in case of things disappearing.  Language will be the main issue in communicating with the trades and that is why i want to sub contract the building to some firm and have them know that i am watching.  that way they me be more inclined to have a project mgr on their side who can understand me and i directly communicate with that person and he can pass my info on,.



Hi there, I've been blogging about my experience building an apartment in Ho Chi Minh City, haven't updated recently but there is some info on my blog that may be interesting to you:

Do drop me a PM so that we can get in touch outside the forum, cheers!

Paying a building contractor for a add on , all money up front, 1/3 with incentives?

Hi Trang.

I know your reply is from 2015, but you mention exactly what I consider to do so I had to ask;)

We consider to buy land in Go vap/Q12 and build a 3 floor house.   

Do you know of any construction firm in Saigon whom I could contact in this regards?

Hoping to hear from you.

Kr Morten

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