Image Credit: Will @ VietnamDaily
If you are staying long-term in Vietnam, you’ll be happy to know that it is getting easier and easier to find apartments online, at least in big metropolitan areas like Hanoi Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An, etc.
Based on our personal experience living in Vietnam and searching for housing, here are our top 5 recommended online tools to find apartments:
- Facebook Groups (like Hanoi Massive Housing)
- Hire a broker online
- Agoda.com / Airbnb
- Google Maps Search for “Serviced Apartments”
1) Facebook Groups for Expats Looking for Vietnamese Apartments
While Facebook is uncool and boomer-esque in the West, the Vietnamese love Facebook and use it for many business operations beyond chatting with friends. For example, Facebooks Groups are the most popular venue for user-forums, like the Vietnamese equivalent of Craigslist or Gumtree or Kijiji.
Here you’ll find the largest aggregation of people seeking roommates, or small landlords and brokers looking for tenants. The posts almost always include pictures and many postings are in English.
There are many different groups, so you’ll need to join and monitor many different groups to find the best housing/roommate. The groups are often private, so you’ll need click “join” and wait for someone to approve you (which can take 1-3 days before a moderator sees your request). Here are some of the larger groups that include apartment listings (among other things):
- Hanoi Massive Housing (32k users)
- Hanoi Expats (19K users)
- Saigon Massive (8.3k users) – general buying/selling like scooters and apartments
- Expats in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam (142k users)
- Living in Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) – Vietnam (38k users)
- Apartments, Houses, Villas Rental in Da Nang – Hoi An Expats (10.7k users)
- Expats in Da Nang (13k users)
You can find other housing- and expat-communities in other cities by searching for keywords like “massive” or “expat”. Beware, each Facebook Group has its own rules and guidelines, so read carefully before you post anything (and possibly getting instant-banned)
Like any posting in Vietnam, beware of scams and misrepresentations by the poster. Also Beware facebook persons promoting their services based on their good “reviews” by other foreigners — we’ve encountered such people who threaten foreigners with being “blacklisted” from getting visas to enter the country, using their government connections unless the expat post something nice about them on Facebook.
2) Muaban.net – Online Rental Postings
Muaban.net is one of the more popular Vietnamese websites for finding rental accommodations, as well as other classified-ads, likes properties for sale, cars, services, etc. The website is relatively straight-forward to use, albeit, it is mostly in Vietnamese, so this may not be a great option for foreigners arriving in Vietnam for the first time. Look for the real-estate category Cho thuê nhà đất in order to find rentals (as opposed to properties for sale).
Be aware of postings using fake or altered images, which is very common, especially for large glitzy condos. Always try to visit the rental-property in-person before agreeing to anything.
Also, be aware that most of the postings are made by real-estate brokers, and not necessarily by the property-owners. Which leads us to our next point…
3) Brokers – A Great Way for Travellers to Find Rentals in Vietnam
Real estate brokers are very common in Vietnam. They are a great way to find apartments. Typically, brokers will earn a commission from the property-owner, equivalent to 1/2 or 1-month’s rent. So, as the prospective tenant, you don’t need to pay a fee for the broker services. But you should consider hiring one outright if you want them to work for you, rather than serving the property-owners’ interests.
Where can you find real estate brokers in Vietnam? Many of them are the authors who write the positings on Muaban.net and Facebook Groups. So, reach out to the people posting those ads, or post your own ad saying that you are looking for a broker — it shouldn’t be that difficult to get multiple offers. Be sure to mention up-front that you are looking for an affordable apartment, and not a glitsy penthouse in Royal City. Another option is to use a task-website like Fiverr.com and recruit a “researcher” who can find a brokers for you.
Compared to the USA or Canada, Vietnamese brokers are much more willing to serve lower- and middle-income clients and help them find good deals. They are nicer to deal with than in hot North American markets where real estate brokers only want to serve high-end clients looking for million-dollar properties — even then, they do it without much gumption. Therefore, you should definitely take so take advantage of this service in Vietnam!
4) Agoda.com (and Other Hotel Booking Sites)
Agoda.com is not just for hotels — there are a few long-term rentals on Agoda in big Vietnamese cities. These apartments will typically cater to expats and be higher-priced. They often include various superfluous cleaning services (aka ‘serviced apartments’); many have kitchenettes and laundry-machines within the room.
The main advantage of using Agoda is that you can see the open-reviews by previous guests and perhaps find something from abroad without having to see the apartment first-hand. We’d recommend this option for 1 or 2 months only, using it as a launch-pad to find cheaper options when you are there in-person.
The best apartments on Agoda will be gobbled-up quickly, so you should book well in advanced! Here are some examples on Agoda:
5) Google Maps Search for “Serviced Apartments” in Vietnam
Hunting for apartments via Google Maps isn’t the necessarily best method, in terms of vacancy. But, at least you’ll see where there are possible apartments which cater to foreigners. Also, where there is one, there are usually many — this is a Vietnamese truism: one successful business will immediate spur a rush of neighbouring copy-cat businesses. So, if you find one serviced Apartment in Vietnam via Google-Maps, you could just walk around the area and you’ll likely find many others options.
This method of virtual apartment hunting isn’t likely to turn-up cheap apartments: these serviced apartments usually cater to higher-end expats and diplomats, rather than boho digital nomads and frugal ESL teachers. Nonetheless, it can be a good start.
Is There a Craigslist or Gumtree of Vietnam?
The closest Vietnamese equivalent to a Craigslist (or Gumtree) in Vietnam are:
- Muaban.net – mostly in Vietnamese, mostly focused on real-estate and auto/bikes
- City-specific Facebook Groups – As we explain above, each Vietnamese metro-area has several Facebook Groups that cater to expats trying to buy/sell/swap things, from small nicknacks to roommates to used scooters. They are mostly in English and you must get moderator approval to join. To find these groups, use search-keywords like “Massive” or “Expat” or “Buy/sell” when you search in Facebook, and filter by city and “Groups”.