The Ultimate Expat’s Guide to Renting Property in Vietnam

Being the country’s largest commercial and urban hub, Ho Chi Minh City is currently the largest city in Vietnam. It is also a really attractive place for foreign investment and expat living, with many housing units and subdivisions located near international institutions, a vibrant culture, and great facilities that cater to expats.

When you want to look for an apartment to live in HCMC, there’s a good chance that the plot of land or the unit that you plan on renting is thoroughly documented under the state’s registry.

This means that whether you plan to rent a house or rent a place in D3, or even stay at D7 or in an apartment rental in D2 (popular living areas in HCMC for expats), you can expect that the property is registered for lease, and there’s no need to worry with any legal issues on your part.

Types of Property You Can Rent

There are all kinds of properties you can check out at sites like PropertyLaunch VN that you can rent, whether you are looking for a 2-day trip or a month-long vacation in Vietnam.

• Apartment – A lot of apartment units for rent are often un-serviced and unfurnished. You can find an apartment rental in Ho Chi Minh City in a lot of housing areas, and a Saigon apartment rental is perhaps the most common (and arguably cheap) type of property rental available.

• Condominium – Most of the time, you can find a condominium rental in District 1, D1 to be the quite expensive because it not only is fully furnished, but also because of its location and the regular traffic in a downtown area that makes it really convenient to live in.

• Villa – You can also choose to rent a house in HCMC that’s not too far from the action downtown, but also isn’t too near if you want a break from it to enjoy some peace and quiet. However, a villa rental can be just as expensive as a condominium.

Tips on Renting Property in Vietnam

Looking for a good Saigon apartment rental can be time-consuming, but when you find yourself that one hidden gem that no one else has gotten to, the hard work can really pay off with the ideal place in the country just for you.

When searching for a place to rent, whether online via websites like or by physically visiting apartment buildings, here are a few tips you want to keep in mind:

1. Memorize Vietnamese phrases. When you’re house-hunting for a suitable villa rental for your short stay, an apartment rental in D2, or even simply to rent apartment in Saigon in general, you want to be on the look-out for particular phrases, such as the following:

Nhà cho thuê – Literally meaning “house for rent”. Seeing this sign should be a godsend for you, as you wouldn’t have to pay for a housing agent to lead you to a selection of homes for you to rent.

Phòng cho thuê – This phrase means “room for rent”, and while a lot cheaper, you will only be renting a single room, and may be inconvenient in a lot of other areas.

Ở ghép – This phrase indicates that a group of people are looking for someone to share the rent with.

Nữ – This phrase indicates that the housing is for women only.

Sinh viên – If you see this phrase, it means that the housing available is only for university students, and any of these types of units would not be a good place to rent for you as a foreigner.

2. Opt for unfurnished housing. It’s a rule of thumb when you’re looking to rent a house or an apartment that you automatically go for the one with unfurnished housing, as it’s not only cheaper than the furnished units, but it also lets you fill up the place with furniture of your own choice.

The same strategy also works if you plan on moving into a permanent location in HCMC, especially since you can simply buy used furniture from other expats who don’t have any need for it anymore.

3. Try not to be too picky. If something in a previous unit isn’t to your liking, you can always move on. There’s bound to be an apartment rental in Ho Chi Minh City or a villa rental that will have everything you want and need in a place for your short-term stay.

While it’s good to have something in mind when choosing to rent apartment at HCMC, it’s also good to not have too high of an expectation when the best place for your budget and your lifestyle isn’t what you expected at first.

4. And lastly, don’t rush. There’s no need to take the first apartment rental in Ho Chi Minh City that comes your way – the last thing you need is to get locked into a one-year contract when you’re only in the country for less.

Should You Count on Apartment Finding Services?

As much as possible, your best bet for finding a good place in Vietnam is by actually having a friend, family member, or colleague who lives there, as they can actually help you look for the best places for you.

While you want to avoid most online real estate websites specifically catered to foreigners for this reason – a lot of them tend to overprice housing units – there are a few that have great deals and really good locations, especially if you know where to look.