Expatriates looking for a place to rent in Bangkok for the first time, will need to have a clear understanding of the difference between a serviced apartment, an apartment, and a condominium. For many foreigners moving to Bangkok these terms may have somewhat different meanings than they do here in Thailand. Let’s take a look at each term and the type of housing they describe……
What is condo?
3 Bedroom condo for Rent
A condo is similar to an apartment, but you are renting from the owner of the unit instead of the owner of the entire building. Each condo owner contributes to the care and upkeep of the entire building, and fees associated with this responsibility are usually included in the rent price. Condos can have the same amenities as serviced apartments, or they can be completely unfurnished. Most condo rentals do not include housekeeping, and some owners will require tenants to purchase their own cable, satellite or Internet service as well.
Building amenities can range from beautiful swimming pools and large fitness centers to nothing at all. It is very important to explore more than one facility in order to compare prices and services before making any commitments. As the owners are the owners of these common parts of the property, it is essential that you rent from an owner or agent who will provide good and responsive service if problems arise. You may also be responsible for obtaining your own cable, satellite or Internet service as well.
These owners also own the common parts of the property such as a swimming pool or fitness center. Of course with ownership comes some responsibilities and with condominiums there are usually additional fees that are paid by the owners for maintenance and upkeep of the property. The best way to understand what a condominium is might be to understand the meaning of the word, “condominium”. The word is derived from two Latin terms. Dominium is the Latin term for ownership and “con” means together. Giving this, it might be easiest to understand and remember that condominium means “together and ownership”.
Condominiums are often used by investors as a place to park their liquid assets in hopes of seeing an increase in their investment while at the same time enjoying some revenue from that investment. In Bangkok, you might expect to see approximately 30% of the condominiums that are rented out by the owners while they wait for their investment to yield them some income at a later date. An alternative approach is for investors to actually live in their condominium while they realize a gain in the equity and value of their property.
What is a Serviced Apartment?
Serviced apartment for rent at Ariel apartments
Earlier, we mentioned the difference between serviced apartments and regular apartments. The primary difference is just what the term “serviced” would indicate. Serviced apartments are rented out to individuals who are looking for maid service, as well as laundry service and many other secondary services that approach the level of attention you will enjoy at a hotel. A full service apartment will approach the same level of service you would expect at a 4 star hotel. However, a serviced apartment will include living accommodations that you won’t find in most hotel rooms. Serviced apartments will usually have cooking facilities as well as washing machines and other appliances that you would expect in a home or apartment.
A serviced apartment is usually a fully-furnished apartment that includes amenities such as housekeeping, cable or satellite television and Internet access. Some properties also include a pool or fitness room as well. Housekeeping services are usually offered once or twice a week, and you should have access to a halfway-decent Internet connection in the room. Many serviced apartments also include a kitchen or cooking area along with laundry facilities, a common area and a small shop or restaurant.
What is the Best Choice to Make?
Choosing to rent a condo or serviced apartment depends on your length of stay as well as your personal preferences. Serviced apartments are geared towards visitors who will be staying in the Kingdom for less than a year. Condos are popular with expats who plan on working or living in Bangkok for a long time, and lease terms tend to be for a minimum of one year.
Condominiums usually cost a bit more than serviced apartments as well, but this is not always the case. Remember that there are no hard-and-fast rules in terms of prices for things in general. However, chances are that you will be spending a couple thousand Baht more per month for a condo.
You can expect to pay for water and electricity on top of rent no matter what option you chose. Electricity rates tend to be a little higher in serviced apartments than in condos. However, the difference in price is rarely more than 500-1000 Baht per month.
Living in a condo has certain advantages over a serviced apartment. These condo buildings are usually occupied by professionals, families and individuals who are living and working in Bangkok. Backpackers, party-goers and itinerant travelers tend to stay in hotels or serviced apartments. Condos are generally more peaceful and quiet, and most will include some form of security and parking facilities. Many condo rentals are in newer buildings. Features such as lifts, lobbies, pools, fitness rooms and common areas tend to be in good condition and well-maintained.
Condos also come with rules that each owner must agree to follow. These rules will vary from building to building, but they are designed to promote a positive living environment for all of the residents. Make sure to read the rules and policies regarding everything from pets to guests or the use of facilities before signing any contracts.
Condos can range anywhere from 10,000 Baht to more than 150,000 Baht per month depending on the unit, building, amenities and location. Plan on spending a minimum of 20,000 Baht per month for a decent condo in a nice building with basic amenities.
The advantage of living in a serviced apartment is you are not tied to long-term contracts and issues related to your apartment are dealt with by the landlord. It is much easier to move to a different apartment than it is to change condos if you are not happy with your accommodation.
Prices for a serviced apartment will depend on the size of the unit, the condition of the property, the quality of the amenities and location. Apartments within a short walk to the Skytrain are usually considerably more expensive than properties that are further away. The length of stay also dictates price, and rents for apartments can be considerably less if you plan on staying longer than six months.
You should expect to pay between 15,000 and 60,000 Baht for a quality serviced apartment. However, it is not difficult to find a room for less than 10,000 Baht per month. Remember that there is a direct relationship between quality and price in this city. Cheap serviced apartments will tend to have thin walls, loud neighbors and questionable service. You can also expect to be situated quite a ways from the closest Skytrain or MRT station.
Where to Look for Serviced Apartments and Condos
Properties are in abundance all over Bangkok, and it will not be difficult to find the right place in the area you wish to stay. However, the largest concentration of serviced apartments and condos are located in Sukhumvit and Silom. These areas are popular with foreigners as well as middle-class Thai residents who prefer to live in the center of the city. Living here will give you easy access to shopping, entertainment, transportation, good hospitals and western-style amenities.
However, there are also many condominiums that are being built in the outskirts of the city as well. These areas are newer, quieter and less congested, but there are also fewer services that are targeted towards foreigners. Language can be a barrier, and access to western-style amenities may require a long ride on the subway or Skytrain.
Your experience in Bangkok will be greatly influenced by your living arrangements. Allow time to find the perfect place to call home in order to fully enjoy what this city has to offer.
Living in a good serviced apartment is an excellent option for the majority of people who will be visiting Bangkok for less than one year. However, it is very important to take time to find the right apartment. Look at the facilities and keep an eye on other residents and staff as you are exploring the property. This will give you a glimpse at the level of service you can expect as well as what kind of neighbors you will have.
So whether you are looking for a lot of service, an investment opportunity, or just a reasonably priced place to live while staying in Bangkok, there are housing arrangements that will work best for you. Bangkok Condo Finder is an experienced and full service company that will work with you to identify and locate the type of housing that works for your housing needs.