Interview with a Russian Expat’s first condo in Bangkok

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I was recently lucky enough to talk with a new expat in Thailand who just rented his very first condo in Bangkok.  Whether your you’re a property agent fighting to remain relevant, a company that wants to improve its website, an owner who wants to attract more tenants or just a new citizen of Bangkok looking for a place to rent – I’m sure you will come up with a creative new strategy to help you no matter what side of the property business you stand on.

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Hi, my name is Daniel, I’m from St. Petersburg, Russia. I develop applications, a programmer for Apple iOS apps. I just got a job in Bangkok 2 months ago so I moved here for the first time.

Can you tell me about your new place you’re moving into?

My new place is called the Circle Condominium near the BTS.  It’s a studio, it’s not too big.  But there’s a big bed in the living room and TV which is good so I can lay down and watch TV.

Circle Condo in Bangkok

What made you choose this condo over the others?

Actually I just saw an advertisement in a Facebook group.  I’m quite a laid back person and don’t like spending too much time looking around. I found a condo that was advertised to take over a lease which caught my attention. It was also in the Nana area, very close to my office.
But as soon as I got to see the condo, I knew I would like it because of all the facilities it has on the 8th floor like swimming pool, steam room, sauna, library, gym.

What do you mean by taking over a lease?

The person that rents there now signed a 1 year contract but has lived there for only 5 months.  He’s moving back to his country so I’m taking over his lease. I only have to live there for 7 months now. I give the deposit amount to the previous renter in exchange for his initial deposit.  He doesn’t lose his deposit this way.  If I want, I can move after 7 months without losing my deposit either. It’s more convenient for me.

So you basically point and clicked and found your place on Facebook?

Of course I did some research. I spent about 4-6 hours looking on the internet. I found a lot of sites but they lacked features. Like, some of them didn’t have maps, so when I found a place I was interested in, I had to search separate on Google. Also, there were long lists of districts where the condos are.  But again, I really couldn’t picture the areas in my mind because I’ve never been there before, and with the lack of maps and all.

Why didn’t you go to a property agent?

In Russia, you can’t find a place without an agent. I think it’s because people are more worried about giving out their personal details on the internet so they rely on the property agent to advertise for them instead. But in Bangkok, there are more condos than there are people to rent them. It’s really simple to find a place here. In the end though, I did have to sign with the agent that was representing the owner.  On the owner side, you still need someone in the middle to force action on someone like in the case when damage is done to the property.

How long did the whole process take for you to sign the contract and did you run into any problems?

It only took 2 weeks. I was able to visit the condo within the first week and then decided to take it a week later and gave them my deposit. Maybe not exactly a problem but I heard from a lot of people that getting your deposit back can take a long time, like over 2 months so that gives me some concern. Another thing is it’s been a dream of mine to own a dog but lots of condos here don’t allow pets. I can understand why but I know I’m not the only one because I’ve checked lots of expat forums for Thailand and lots of people want pets like me but can’t find any places.

Chao Phraya view in Bangkok

What advice would you have for anyone new to Thailand looking for a place?

I would say find a cheap hotel and stay there for about a week. Go outside and learn about the area and where the city center is before picking a place and signing a contract for one year.

Overall, what do you think about the condos in Thailand compared to other countries?

Well, I lived in China for a while. It’s pretty much the same there. The cost of living and the number of condos in the city’s capital is very similar to Thailand.

However, in Russia, in St. Petersburg, it’s more expensive to rent there. It can cost around 800 dollars.  But that’s changing now because the economy in Russia isn’t doing so good right now. In Moscow, things are still expensive though.  But in Thailand, in Bangkok, I consider 500 USD a good price for rent so I’m okay with that. Ideally though, for me, it would be nice to see studio condos in Bangkok for 12,000 baht a month. 16,000 baht would still be okay for me.

If you have any comments or strategies that relate to the populated condominium market in Thailand that is referred to in the interview, please leave a comment below for discussion.

I would like to leave you with a link to one of our related posts on Pet Friendly Apartments in Bangkok. Who knows, if Daniel was a regular follower of our Findyourspace blog, he might be living his dream right about now.

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