Updated: Feb 1
You might have seen several ads that tells you the house costs only around 300,000KRW per month. Seriously, you will have to start thinking what could be wrong with this place then. Here are some reasons WHY you shouldn't fall for them.
Average monthly rate? 500,000KRW
There were times when average monthly rate for one-room renting was about 250~300 thousend KRW in Seoul. That was until mid-2010s. Now, the average rate is around 520,000 KRW per month, according to one of major housing platforms in Korea. Then what could still be holding the room rate so low for these unbelievable houses? There are several factors why you shouldn't even give a glance. Rate below average shall also mean quality-of-life below average.
(Statistics source: Dabangapp)
Space might be terrible
One should at least have his/her minimal space. That space can vary. Usually if you take a closer look at these kinds of ads, you will mostly find the space to be 14~17㎥. You will reach the room no less than 2~3 steps if the room is this small. These houses can be from villas but they are more likely to be gosiwons (if you are unfamiliar with this term, read this first.) Imagine you have a kitchen, a bed, and a bathroom (more like a shower booth with a toilet) all in a single room in this small space. Won't be very happy.
Location might be terrible
This factor can be somewhat compromisable. If the room is cheap, they are likely to be located in a very steep hill or in a outer part from the city, or in a deep deep alley in a very old neighbor. You can climb steep hills. You can simply commute from rural the area. You can also take good care of yourself even in a unsecured place. But if these hinder your quality of life greatly, I suggest a no-go.
Inner-condition might be terrible
Some small rooms can be brand-new but are just one of the aboves. But mostly, they might be very old and filthy. If lucky, old buildings can be okay since many of them are renovated inside afterwards. However, if not taken care of, water pressure can be very low, hot water can be hard to get, pests might become your close friend. The owner didn't even care to renovate the house, and why should you?
Just isn't there
If the information seems too good to be true, then this is a more plausible scenario. A lot of the times, the real-estate agencies just hung these ads in the front and wait for interested people to stop by. When they 'catch' them, they will simply tell them that the house has been already signed and that they will show you a similar one but with slightly higher room rate. That way, you will end up looking at houses with normal price. These kinds of tactics are after vulnerable, innocent students and foriegners who are relatively easy to manipulate. It is always good to have someone around who knows how things go.
The average room rate 520 thousend KRW is for Seoul. If you are looking for places outside Seoul than thing will get pretty much easier. Still there are provinces and cities that offer a decent one-room for 200~300 thousend KRW. However, it is still important to know the average room rate in a specific area that you are looking for and a standard housing conditions in order not to get skamed. Because, wherever you go, there still might be a bargen-like places and there are people who fall for it.