When my fiance Jason and I woke up yesterday morning, we weren’t sure where we would be living beyond our two-week stay at a serviced apartment in Chiang Mai’s Old City.
By midday, that had changed. We’d signed a lease on a luxury one-bedroom condo in Nimman—a trendy area full of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and boutique hotels—for the very attractive price of 20,000 baht ($827 a month).
As of next week, we’ll be living at a modern property in a complex just off Nimmanhaemin Road and within walking distance of the upmarket Maya Lifestyle Shopping Centre.
But with so many amenities on offer, we may never leave the complex at all. It includes a swimming pool with a jacuzzi, a gym, a sauna, a library, a semi indoor-outdoor wine bar, an outdoor barbecue area, a relaxation garden and a rooftop with views of Doi Suthep mountain.
The mountain can also be seen from our new apartment, which comes fully furnished and with blackout curtains (although I’m not sure why you’d want to block out a view like this…).
I’m amazed at what our money is getting us here in Chiang Mai. Especially when I compare it to our old apartment in Melbourne, where we were paying $1,738 a month (plus bills) to live in an old building with no amenities.
On top of that, it can take weeks or even months to find and secure a long-term lease for a rental property in Australia.
Not so in Chiang Mai. We met a property agent at 10 a.m. yesterday morning and by lunchtime we’d secured a six-month lease for our new place.
So, how did we do it?
Well, rather than fending for ourselves and hoping for the best, we went through a real estate agency. We contacted the agency, (we used Perfect Homes), which asked for some basic information about our budget, the type of accommodation we were looking for and the areas we preferred.
We met with an agent called Elle, who happily took us to three different properties, showing us five different apartments in total. Elle patiently answered all of our questions (we had a lot!), but put no pressure on us whatsoever to commit to anything.
But when we saw our apartment, we knew it was the one. With a fresh, bright outlook and sweeping mountain views, we knew we’d be stupid not to take it then and there. Initially it was priced at 22,000 baht (about $909) per month, but we were able to negotiate the price down to 20,000 baht ($827).
Once that was done, Elle took us to a nearby cafe, where we signed a form and handed over one month’s rent. We also need to give the agency a two-month security deposit when we move in, to be returned to us when we eventually move out.
I highly recommend going through an agency or at least utilising their local knowledge and experience. There is no way we would have found a property quite so special on our own—and certainly not as quickly.
Now we can sit back and relax and look forward to moving day…