As other bloggers have suggested (here, here, and here), the best way to find a house, condo, or apartment in Chiang Mai is by using online listings, word of mouth (how some of our friends found their awesome 3 bedroom house in the old city), or to go through a realtor. Jake and I started off searching online listings and ended up deciding a realtor was the way to go. A realtor will bring you to see a number of places in their car, so you don’t have to worry about transportation or directions, and the service is completely free. No realtor fees! We were able to do some online research, see multiple options in person, sign a lease, and move in…all in less than 48 hours.
To find our condo we used Chiang Mai Properties and they were wonderful to work with. We dropped in to their office at about 4pm on a Wednesday and sat down with a lovely woman who pulled up multiple listing based on our criteria. We set a budget of about 10,000 baht/month (~$286) and narrowed down their listings to 4 possible options to see the next day.
The next morning our realtor Get, a small, soft-spoken, Thai man, met us at our guesthouse. Get drove us all over the city from Nimmanhaemin (an up and coming neighborhood near Chiang Mai University that is very popular with expats and students–but about 30 minutes away from our school) to Hang Dong (where our school is located, about 20 minutes south of the old city).
Everywhere we saw had advantages and disadvantages. One was perfect, but too far from school. Another was also beautiful and in a great location midway between the old city and our school, but a bit over our price range. The third was a large 3 bedroom house with plenty of space, roof access, and a yard; but it was a bit old and dirty and only partially furnished.
We ended up deciding on a one-bedroom condo in The New Concept, a boutique condo and hotel building very close to our school. The place is clean, bright, and fully furnished with a kitchen, eating and working area, living room, balcony overlooking a small man-made lake, large bathroom, spacious bedroom with a big bed and a vanity, and two TVs with English-speaking channels (one in the living room and one in the bedroom). We were told the economy package (10,000 baht/month) was not available, but the premium package for 12,000 baht was. The premium package includes room cleaning twice a month, refill of water bottles and some kitchen supplies like coffee, a fully stocked kitchen and bathroom (plates, dishes, utensils, towels, and toiletries), and bedding. The only downsides were the extra 2,000 baht/month, and no second bedroom that we ideally wanted as a guest room and office.
Get drove us back to our guesthouse and after some deliberation we decided this was the place for us. So we grabbed some lunch and walked over to Chiang Mai Properties to sign the lease.
Now, Get is amazing and as soon as we arrived he sat us down and told us we could in fact have the “economy package” the saleswoman mentioned. This would mean the condo would cost us only 10,000 baht/month which was exactly what we were looking for. The only difference is that we wouldn’t have our room cleaned twice a month (we can clean ourselves for free–and by we, I really mean Jake does all of the cleaning every week 🙂 ), and we would have to buy our own bedding, towels, and kitchen supplies (appliances like our microwave, stove, and fridge are still included; but we would need to buy dishes, cups, utensils, and pots and pans). We knew we could buy all of this for less than 2,000 baht, which would pay for itself in just the very first month, before saving us an extra 2,000 baht every single month thereafter. We agreed and signed a 6-month lease on the spot. Get even picked us up in his car the next morning and drove us to move in right away.
- Very clean and modern
- Fully furnished with comfortable furniture
- Western-style kitchen with a stove and hood (no oven–but no one has ovens here)
- Large and comfortable bed (many beds in Thailand are very hard–ours is great!)
- Big bathroom with a closed off shower (Many apartments in Thailand have “wet bathrooms” where the shower head is part of the bathroom instead of separated by a door or curtain)
- Two ACs and two TVs (one each in the living room and bedroom)
- Shuttle service to get to the old city or Central Airport Plaza (one of the largest western-style shopping malls I’ve ever seen, and a movie theater) for just 50 baht per person
- Free bike rentals
- A cute coffee shop and restaurant on site with reasonable prices, and even room service!
- We ideally wanted a second bedroom to use as a guestroom or office–but it was very unnecessary
- We are 20 minutes south of the old city where most of our friends live and hang out, and what is considered the “downtown” part of Chiang Mai
- Our WiFi is not great. We live in the unit at the end of the hallway so we are as far from the router on our floor as we can possibly be, and it shows. I sometimes have trouble with Hulu, connecting to VPN for my US-based job, or with Skype. This is my biggest grievance with our condo.
- No pool or fitness room–again, completely unnecessary, but would have been nice. However, they are currently building a pool that should be completed by early 2016–so we’re hoping that it will be finished before our lease ends in March!
Overall, we are very happy with our condo and we really can’t beat our 10 minute commute each day. Or this view:
If you have any questions about the The New Concept, finding an apartment in Chiang Mai, or anything else at all, please contact me or comment below!