Turning normal apartment into serviced apartment?

Hello,

I'll be moving from Berlin to HMC at the end of October and plan to stay for approximately 2-3 years, depending on how my customer's business in SEA evolves. I'm kind of in a hurry to find a long term renting as there is still lots of work for me to get done in 2019  and my work requires a decent desk setup with multiple large screens that isn't easily set up.

In addition to the apartment I'll also need someone to take care of cleaning and laundry, including ironing and changing bed sheets two times a week for approximately 2-3 hours. Everything here screams serviced apartment but from all that I found online, these usually all look like the same cheap, bland IKEA department. I did came across some nice "normal" apartments  in D2/Thao Dien though but non of those offer any cleaning or laundry service. At least it's not advertised.

Do apartment buildings usually put you in contact with trustworthy maids or do tenants have to find them themselves? How hard would it be to find one?

Additional questions:
Any apartment buildings in Thao Dien you strongly recommend or advise against?

Do higher priced apartmens ($1.5k to $3k) come with a safe for valuables? I usually have some decent amount of backup cash/gold (better safe than sorry) and often have to leave my apartment for a week or two. Are there decent safes available in HMC?

Thanks for your help!

Bob

If they don't have one in the apartment there are actually quite a few places that sell safes of all sizes.  You will see the open front stores selling them everywhere when you drive around.  I haven't checked prices on them.  I feel comfortable with quite a bit of cash in the house because the houses themselves are pretty secure with locked gates or roll up security doors but I don't have hired cleaning help so I understand your concern.

It will be fairly easy to find reliable cleaning staff.  Word of mouth referrals from some of your neighbors once you move in will be your safest bet.  It's very economically priced.  You can base your part time pricing on the fact that you can get a full time person for under $100USD per week, $300-400 per month.  Or, you can just get married like a lot of us and you won't have to worry about a cleaning person but I'm confident that it will cost you more than $400 a month! LOL

I'm not in Thao Dien, but I've stayed there a couple of times before I moved to Vietnam in January.  That said I don't have any building referrals as I was only in small apartments for two weeks at a time last year.  I did like the area.  I'm in An Phu just south of Thao Dien across the highway.  Nice 3 story house in a very quiet neighborhood for $900/mo.  Furnished but you are correct about the IKEA type furnishings.  I'm only here for another year or thereabouts so I'm dealing with it.

Two places to look online are https://alonhadat.com.vn and https://batdongsan.com.vn.  Both are in Vietnamese but if you use Google Chrome and let it translate to English it does a passable job.

Thanks Stein, those links are really helpful. Haven't had too much luck finding non English pages myself yet. Though it looks like both of them could use some re branding to finally arrive in the 21st century.

Another question:
How firm are the prices showcased online (English and Vietnamese sites) ? I keep finding the same apartments with up to $500 difference. Can I just assume the lowest price I find online will most likely be the rent I can expect to pay or is there still room for bargaining? If so, what would be reasonable counteroffer? I guess the 50% off approach I usually take in SEA isn't advisable here.

SteinNebraska :

Or, you can just get married like a lot of us and you won't have to worry about a cleaning person but I'm confident that it will cost you more than $400 a month! LOL

Whelp, at least they clean. My ex gf came with a much higher price tag and I still had to pay my cleaning lady.

Housekeeping is always included in the rent of a serviced apartment. 

In most buildings, housekeeping is twice a week with bed linen and towels changed once a week.  In one of the buildings we stayed while living in Saigon, the housekeeper also washed the dishes and did the laundry -- no ironing.

In this building in VT, housekeeping service is also twice a week, but if the tenants need more frequent cleaning and the staff has the time, the service can be increased to 3x/wk.  Only bed linen are washed and changed, however; laundry is the tenant's responsibility although I've seen the landlady washed and ironed without charge.  The extra cleaning day and/or ironing without charge is the practice of landlords who go above and beyond for their tenants. 

A safe was included in every apartment we've stayed and our rent has never been higher than 12M  ($517 as of today's exchange rate).

The buildings where we lived in Saigon were very nice while this building in VT is of high quality from top to bottom and every inch in between.  IKEA they're not.

If an apartment is in a large building with many units  and owned by a corporation, there's absolutely no negotiation.  If it's in a smaller building owned by private citizens, you can negotiate if you do not use the service of an agency. 

The commission which real estate agents receive from the landlords is one month rent for 12 month contract.  Half of that if the contract is for 6 month stay.  Therefore, if you plan to stay for one year and do not use an agent, the landlord would save the equivalence of one month rent.  If you ask for a discount within that amount, there's a very good chance you'll receive it.

Do not pay several months in advance as a bargaining tool for a discount.

I have also noticed that Batdongsan has some listings that are originally in English and they tend to be more expensive than the listings that are in Vietnamese for the same listing.

On the conversation of real estate web sites, Batdongsan used to have a button at the top of the group of listings to view all the houses that meet your criteria on a map so you could see exactly where they were.  That button is gone now for me.  Anyone else have this issue?

SteinNebraska :

Or, you can just get married like a lot of us and you won't have to worry about a cleaning person but I'm confident that it will cost you more than $400 a month! LOL

SteinNebraska... So how much does it cost you?  I am shopping right now..... LOL LOL LOL

Rahj_Devon :

SteinNebraska... So how much does it cost you?  I am shopping right now..... LOL LOL LOL

Well, paid off her house, but we don't live there because it is too far from where I work so she lets family stay there and we rent another house.  Paid to remodel her parents' house and pave the road to it.  Send them money every month as they are elderly, give her sister money every month while she is back in school for a year and take care of both her and her daughter. And that's just the last 12 months.  But, it's totally worth every penny.  I couldn't be happier.

SteinNebraska :
Rahj_Devon :

SteinNebraska... So how much does it cost you?  I am shopping right now..... LOL LOL LOL

Well, paid off her house, but we don't live there because it is too far from where I work so she lets family stay there and we rent another house.  Paid to remodel her parents' house and pave the road to it.  Send them money every month as they are elderly, give her sister money every month while she is back in school for a year and take care of both her and her daughter. And that's just the last 12 months.  But, it's totally worth every penny.  I couldn't be happier.

You are a good man! She is a lucky woman.... :)

What a nice guy

Thanks for the additional answers.

I went with Honeycomb real estate agency and just moved into a nice 3BR apartment at Golden River. Probably overpriced but I just fell in love with the panorama bedroom and honestly don't care too much about it anyway as my living expenses are still much lower than back in Europe.

All in all a pleasant experience with the agency.

As I haven't found a maid yet I used f5 laundry service in D3 today. Ordering and pickup went very smooth. Just hoping I made it clear enough to not put my custom tailored linen dress shirts in the dryer. I might try bTaskee app for basic cleaning later this week.

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