How to Pay Rent in South Korea

How to Pay Rent in South Korea

Paying rent in South Korea is not as easy as writing a check. American military who live off-base has to go through a few steps in order to pay rent to their Korean Landlord. It seems complicated at first but becomes just one of those things you have to fo to live there. Here are my tips on how the American military can pay rent in South Korea.

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How to Pay Rent in South Korea

You’ll Need a Money Changers

 

So it’s the end of the month, time to pay the pay rent in South Korea again. And for my friends who don’t live in South Korea here is the process for paying rent in South Korea. You’ll need to understand and find a money changer you trust.

 

Rental Agents

 

American soldiers cannot just give a check to their Korean National to pay rent in South Korea. Americans get paid in USD while Korean landlords/ rental agents prefer Korean WON. So you’ll need to exchange those dollars for Won every single month you pay rent in South Korea.

 

1. MONITOR the Dollar to Won exchange rates

 

First, all American soldiers should monitor the Dollar to Won exchange rates towards the end of every month… trying to catch it when the dollar is the strongest against the Won. We use the app xe.com, but they all pretty much work the same. When we’ve decided on the best day.

This is not scientific by any means. It’s all about observation and informed: “guessing”.

 

2. WITHDRAW THE MONEY

 

I’ll go to the bank, withdraw the money in dollars.

The banks don’t offer the best exchange rate. The rates are posted daily. Some people prefer ATM withdrawals, we don’t for USD but do for Korean WON.

Make sure to only get large bills because money changers prefer larger bills. They will often give you a better rate if you do this.

 

3. GO TO A MONEY CHANGER

 

My money changer prefers larger bills. You gotta make him happy, right? Money changers are like nail and beauty salons. Once you find a good one you become a loyal customer. They also monitor the exchange rates and quote you a price where they can also make a little money on the transaction too.

I believe this “job” is how the Korean government inflates employment statistics. I highly suggest you ask your friends for a recommendation on who they use to pay rent in South Korea. I also suggest you avoid the businesses located right outside the gate.

 

 

What a Money Changer Does

 

My money changer does not have office hours. When I need to change Dollars for Won, I call him on the phone. He’s not Korean and his English is worse than my Ancient Egyptian. He doesn’t sit in his office all day. He usually arrives at the office on his bike. And as soon as we finish, he peddles off again.

I’m not sure why he operates this way. I wish I could ask, but we communicate with grunts and pointing most of the time. But he gives great rates, so I’m cool.

 

4. NEGOTIATE with the Money Changer

 

They are there to make money, but you don’t want to be a sucker. Make sure you research the exchange rate BEFORE you go. They’ll have exchange rates posted. Make sure he prints out his BEST rate. Try to get as close to your exchange as you can.

TIP #1… The more money you exchange the more leverage you have over the rate. 

TIP #2… Don’t be rude, just firm and direct.

I went to the same money changer once a month for two years. Some days he was very nice, he walked me to my car because he loved my Jeep. He also kept a fridge full of yummy yogurt drinks.

He would give me one if he felt like he got the better deal. If he didn’t offer me one– It was because I did. I can remember a few times walking away with only the cash.

 

5. PAY your Rental Agent

 

Now you take that cash to your rental agent, along with your ledger. This is important. You need to get a receipt for your payment. I have heard horror stories of people who had to pay their rent twice because they didn’t get it in writing.

 

TIP#3… This is where it’s important to do business with a rental agent you trust.

 

The rental agents deal with so much cash, they load it into the cash counter and verifies the amount. You both sign and agree to meet the following month.

It’s important to realize, that since we pay rent in the local currency, we usually never pay the same rent in South Korea every month.

 

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Comments

  1. Ernesto

    I’m getting sationed there in February ahead of my family. My wife is also in the Army and will PCS 6 months after me. We have six children (two sets of twins!), none of which are EFMP. How likely are we to get approved for Command Sponsorship? How hard is it to find homes near Camp Humphreys?

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Hi Ernesto,
      Unfortunately, this is an impossible question for me to answer because there are so many factors that go into whether you’ll receive command sponsorship besides EFMP. But I can tell you I’ve only known one person who was refused CS because she had a condition for which there were no identifiable treatment facilities for it. She went anyway and had no issues, but I’ don’t tell you that without full considerations of all that could happen without it. Your second question about getting housing is based (in part) on the first. If you don’t receive CS you won’t be given housing large enough for your family– so again you really need to consider this. However with CS in place I haven’t heard of anyone being turned away up at Humphreys– they have a lot of housing available. Good luck and let us know how it goes. I think you’ll all love Korea.

  2. Kay

    Hi,

    I came across your site while researching Baumholder, I am currently here and
    researching a place to live. I am single and have no dependents. Since you had the
    chance to explore this area, can you please recommend a place in the area (30-40
    minutes drive from post at the most) to live? I am looking for a lovely town or
    city with somewhat of a night life. And when I say night life, I don’t mean
    clubbing, looking more for bars, pubs and such. A lively place that still has
    culture.

    I hope to hear from you soon. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you and God bless.

    Kay

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Hi Kay, I really love the downtown area. There are lots of places to shop and eat as well as party (when you feel like it). It also offers a great opportunity to use public transportation and meet the locals through daily interaction. Another great place to live is in the Suseong area. It does get pretty busy on the weekends, but its a lovely place to explore and the lake is a wonderful place to walk and take in the duck boats.

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