This page contains posts related to the following (long stay) tags:

#Homes, #Apartments, #Bills, #Condos, #Deposits, #Renting, #Utilities, #Workman

City/Country: Advice: Saving:
Apart from air con one of the best ways to cool down a room or house is to put an awning outside to prevent direct sunlight from reaching the walls and especially windows. They also provide shelter from rain. No need to go to shop, just look for people driving around slowly with a load of awnings on the back of a truck, or call a number on an awning you see already in place somewhere and they will come to you. Expect to pay 2-2,500 baht for each, which they will fit for you. Bit rough and ready but do the job. Awning sizes are around 3 to 4m wide by 2-3m tall. Colours are usually all bright. Green and blue are most popular. Awning prices
Smoke alarms are not common in Thai houses and I had a hard time finding some to put in my pad. After drawing a blank at several building stores I spotted them at ‘Global House’. Just 300 baht each for peace of mind. Website: . Global House is good for cheap building materials but I hadn’t thought to try for electrical. Your life?
Before moving into a Thai property check all the drains work. Most Thai houses have exit pipes only half the diameter of what we would use at home and so block very easily. Check the toilets and shower drains. Make sure the bathroom floor drains also have covers not only to stop them getting blocked but to stop wildlife from getting in the house.
To have a blocked toilet system pumped out is about 500 baht. To then have the toilet removed and replaced to clear a blockage - toothpaste tube flushed inside! - about 1000 baht.
Avoid problems
Thailand Please think very carefully when buying a Condo in Thailand that is not yet built. The discounts are very tempting and there are always people with stories about how they doubled their money but it is just so risky.
Many of the Condo developments need to get pre-orders of 50% to afford to actually start building and it can end up with a ‘Ponzi’ style situation where pre-sales from one Condo development are used to fund the construction of an earlier development.
In Asia unless you are a property expert or can afford to lose your deposit it is just not worth the risk. There is so little protection for the buyer. To avoid being stung, only buy in a Condo block that is finished and already being lived in. The occupancy rates will also indicate how desirable it is. (H. Rushton).
Condo deposit
Thailand My two cents for the talk about room and house deposits: Decide what you want to pay for before you move in and then explain that you will pay for that work to be done instead of paying the full deposit. There is nearly always some sort of work to do on private Thai properties, even if just locks and paint.
The other thing is to be very careful of moving into a new place that has never been lived in before. In Europe it is well known for people to buy a new property, offer if for rent for a year so the tenant pays for all the work needed inside. Then they are told to leave and the property owner moves in! (Claus).
Room or Home deposits
Chiang Mai - Thailand
This is just to say thank you to the people warning about room deposits.
I paid a 10,000 baht deposit to a private landlord, two months of rent. When I wanted to move out I followed the information about asking him to take the last month rent (5000) and any outstanding utility bills (around 2000) out of the deposit and give me whatever is left.
Long story short I never got any change from the deposit and when a drove by today, I see he hasn’t paid any of the utility bills either! The bills are all stuffed in the door.
So it seems he’s pocketed the remaining 5000 from the deposit, but at least I’ve only lost 2-3000 baht, taking the bills into account, rather than 7-8000 if I’d paid the last month of rent as well. So thanks!
Udon Thani - Thailand

Phil from Udon again. I’ve already listed a proven electrician and plumber and here is my recommendation for Air Conditioning. I didn’t buy the original air con unit from them but from Makro. Makro farm-out the installation work and it was really rough.
I called in ‘Charoen Chai Air Con’ to tidy it up. They looked at the original work and laughed. They did a good job of improving it so when I moved house recently I called them again to take the air con to the new place.
They went the ‘extra mile’ without being asked by running the wiring into the loft space so as much of it was hidden as possible and all of the switches were high quality. They also painted the loft hatch when they had finished. And to top it all they turned up early!
Cost, including an air con service, was about 500 baht but I always tip them on top as it seems to put you on their priority list.
I have no connection with them and couldn’t even tell you their names. The phone numbers given on their business card are: 042 324946, 086 8533311, 086 8159302.
Good service, good price
All of Asia
My wife runs a small restaurant for Thais so I get to hear lots of stories from the locals about what to look out for. This is a typical story from a customer this week and with Songkran coming up and people going away I thought I’d share:
Lady says: “We went away for 3 days and when we came back someone had broken into the apartment and stolen everything, about 100,000 baht’s worth.”
When you ask a few more questions you find out why it happened.
Mistake 1: She told her neighbours she was going away. They have since vanished. So no surprise she suspects it was them. The neighbours knew what was in her room, including a nice new LCD TV, because they could see inside as they walked past.
Mistake 2: The robbers got in by unscrewing the window guards at night. Instead of rivets that would need cutting or drilling to remove, the window guards were fixed with normal screws.
We hear these stories all the time. Please, if you are going away, DO NOT tell anyone your room or house will be empty. This is the biggest reason properties get burgled. Thais are quite naïve at times.
The best way to avoid having your house robbed is if the robbers think people are still inside. Even if you have great neighbours, they might innocently mention to someone else that you are gone.
So leave lights on. Maybe even a radio and draw the curtains on any windows that people can see inside with. Leave the other curtains (upstairs) slightly open. If you live in a busy area and cannot make a sly exit, do fake waves back at the house or apartment as you go, as if saying goodbye to people inside.
Don’t forget about Taxi drivers. If you all jump into a Taxi with suitcases and go to an airport. Or worse still ask the same Taxi driver to bring you home in a few days that’s a safe bet the house is empty until then.
Fix this with the fake waves back to the house as you leave and then a fake phone call, speaking in Thai, when you are in the Taxi. Pretend to talk to someone in the house and tell them there is food in the fridge and to be careful of the dog :-)
For the window guards, if they are held on with screws and you can’t get them riveted. Loosen the screws and put some heavy duty glue on before re-tightening. Then scratch off the centre of the head, so the screw cannot be undone again. (Alex W).
Home Theft Prevention
Thailand For those that want to cut down on the heat inside the room without ‘hardware’ changes outside the building, there are ‘UV’ curtains for sale in stores such as Home Pro ( These claim to cut the UV entering the room by 90%.
There are also UV films with decorative designs that fix to the inside of the window - no glue, you just spray water on the window and apply the film - that do the same.
They won’t replace AC, but if you have a big window with direct sunlight they certainly help keep the room a few degrees cooler.
Prices: Regular size UV curtain 2-3,000 Baht, Blackout curtain 5-700 Baht. UV film 500 Baht per metre square.
Reduce room heat
Mosquitos annoy the hell out of me. I come out in huge bumps if I’m bitten. Sealing the doors and windows all the time is fine, but it will pump up the air conditioning costs or leave you sweating. I don’t think inhaling conditioned air all the time is good either.
So I’ve had metal mosquito mesh fitted to a simple wooden frame, hinged so it opens like a second door inside the other main door. That means I can get air flow from outside while still keeping the mossies and bugs out, especially in the evening. Local tradesmen will knock this sort of frame up and fit if for you for under 1000 baht.
Added to this I’ve found you can buy special bulbs that have a yellow light for use outside the house. These bulbs don’t attract bugs like the normal white bulbs do, but still provide plenty of light.
If mossies still get through, sit or sleep with a fan blowing air over you. Mossies are not strong flyers and will be blown away (Squeaky).
Beat the mossies!
Thailand I’m in the process of moving into my new house in Thailand. Here are three stores to check out for anyone needing white goods on a tight budget.
1. “Makro” is a good discount superstore with branches across Thailand. They are hardtop beat on prices for electrical goods such as TVs, Air Con, Fridges and Washing Machines. They also sell food and smaller consumables in bulk. They are no frills, just big warehouses. Their website, where you can find the nearest store by changing the zone box, is
2. “Big C” is another alternative to try for cheap goods. It’s more of traditional Supermarket than Makro, but also stocks electrical goods and clothes.
3. For electronics and white goods, “Power Buy” is worth a look and has better reputation than the others for after sales service. (Stevie Preston).
Best prices
To the fella below talking about air-con doubling his electric bill, there are 2 main ways to reduce the amount of air conditioning you need.
The first is to keep as much direct sunlight off the walls of the house as possible. The walls heat up and make the house like an oven and are why walls stay hot even at night. Trees are the natural way of doing this but if you can’t wait you can put screens up outside (wood slats with spaces in between for the air and some light to pass) to take the brunt of the afternoon sunlight.
You see these kinds of slat designs on the outside of lots of modern Thai buildings. You can get them made to fit your requirements or just buy some free standings screens from a garden or woodwork shop.
Thai people hang those big sheets of mesh sacking to do a similar thing. That is cheaper but not as effective and looks ugly, but you could combine with the slats.
Those things won’t help with direct sunlight on the roof though, so the second thing is to get some insulation in the loft to stop the heat coming downwards. Go to a home DIY store to find this. (Brad)
Less air conditioning use
As foreigners cannot buy land in Thailand most will rent. The alternative is to buy in the name of your Thai wife/partner, but still renting might be the best option if you are starting a business.
Trouble is, once landlords see you have piled lots of money into a place some of them assume it’ won't leave and thus think they can name their price when rent is reviewed.
This, and landlords selling the land from under you at short notice, are the two main things to watch out for. Protect yourself by getting the following in writing in your rental lease:
* Go for a multi-year contract, with an option (you have the option) of an extension for the same amount of time at the end of the first contract period.
* Agree to make a decision to extend or leave with 6 months of the first contract left to run. Never put yourself in a situation where the landlord can keep you guessing about a rental renewal. The closer it gets to the expiry date of your contract, the harder it is for you to leave if they decide to raise the price.
* Try and fix the rent price for the whole term of the first contract and insist on a maximum rent increase should you agree to the extension - such as no more than a 30-50% rise (use inflation rates as a guide).
* Circumstances do change, and with the best will in the world your landlord might have to sell your property before the lease is up. Include a clause that allows the landlord to buy you out of your contract for a certain (high) price and length of notice to leave. It’s better than nothing.
* Should you want to leave early, write that you can transfer the lease agreement to another person at any time without penalty and that all terms of the original lease will continue unchanged for the new occupant, who takes over full responsibility for payments.
One of the best deals I had was rent fixed for 10 years, option to extend for another 10 years and maximum increase of 45% rent for the second contract.
I sold the lease on to another expat after 5 years (allowed under the contract) and it sold quickly, thanks partly to the clear and secure rent contract.
I’ve seen too many people get shafted, especially if it’s a business (Thai people see customers, assume you are making loads of money, and decide to hike the rent).
Use the points above and you can’t go far wrong. They probably apply to other countries as well.
Best to rent from a rich/successful landlord, they are less likely to be banging on the door for rent and those that own their own business (most rich Thai people do) will understand better the costs you face rather than think they are missing out. (Gary).
Business/Rent contracts
I don’t think this has been posted already so here goes. This is for people self-catering in Thailand. It won’t be any use if you stay in a hotel!
This is how local Thai people buy purified water in bulk, instead of buying bottled water from a supermarket (expensive) or drinking unclean water straight out of the tap.
Instead normal Thai people buy purified water in large (usually white) plastic barrels, the size and shape that you get in Water Coolers (15 liter?) from pick-up trucks that drive by throughout the day.
The top of the containers are sealed with plastic wrap to prove they have not been opened and the purification places they come from need certificates.
That is not enough for me to be completely confident so I still buy bottled water from the supermarket to drink raw, BUT I use these cheap barrels for all kettle water and cooking.
It saves a decent amount of money, is very convenient (they bring to your door) and means you don’t have to keep going out to buy and carry home lots of heavy water bottles!
How to get them:
The pick-up trucks are easy to spot as they drive slowly around with rows of water containers in the back. Some will beep the horn to alert people.
If you want water just wave at them to stop.
If you do not already have an empty water barrel to swap you’ll need to buy one (the first time) which will cost about 100 baht for one.
Thereafter, all you need to do is swap your empty container for a new full one - as and when you wish - for a cost of around 10 BAHT per refill!!
The genius part is that you do not have to use the same truck that you bought the container from. Any truck will swap your empty container for a new one.
You do not need to speak Thai. Just point to a container to buy the first time and once you already have a container they will know you want a refill without any talking at all, just have some small change ready.
(Ed Morris).
100-300 baht a week in water
Nong Khai - Thailand
The cool season in North Thailand really has been quite cool for the past month, at night anyways, which has allowed me to see how much air con costs me in electricity.
Usually I turn on the air con every night (it’s only in the bedroom) and off in the morning but for most of the last month I haven’t needed it at all.
The electricity bill arrived today and it was 50% lower than normal - at least 1000 baht cheaper. I was quite surprised air con was costing me so much. The air con unit is newish, less than a year old.
The electricity saving for air con itself is probably more like 1200-1400 baht because the cooler weather means I have had the shower on hotter, which uses more electricity.
Maybe knowing that saving is useful for people... Definitely think I need to work out how to cool the house down better without so much air con in future.
(David, Nong Khai nr. Laos)
1000-1400 baht
Thailand Golden rule for long-term accommodation deposits: Use the deposit to pay off the last month(s) of your rent. So if you've paid a one month deposit, say ‘Just keep my deposit’ when it is time to pay for the final month of your stay
As others below have said here (v. good info on this site) getting anything near a full deposit back from a private landlord is next to impossible in most places in Thailand. There is always some reason why they don’t have it - sometimes they just seem to act as if you never even paid a deposit! (Benji, BKK)
Don't lose your room deposit
Thailand If you are staying at a locally run guesthouse or renting a place rather than in a hotel, haggle to keep the deposit as low as possible and always ask for a receipt, because in my experience landlords in Thailand will rarely pay it back in full.
Some will act like they have forgotten about how much was paid, others will say come back another day (the Thai way of avoiding confrontation, but it means forget it), some will come up with a technicality (usually a minimum length of stay they didn't mention before) as to why you can't have it back and even large guesthouses or apartments often take out a massive "cleaning fee" from your deposit even if you leave the place spotless. (Tony Ferguson).
Deposit scams
Thailand If you are renting somewhere for at least a few months and want some improvements made, for example better security (new doors or window guards), it's perfectly acceptable to tell the landlord what you want done and - if they are not keen on paying themselves - offer to pay for it in return for getting the same amount of money taken off your future rent bill.
I can't see what the landlord has to gain by saying yes to that idea, but a landlord with quite a few buildings told me it is seen as a good compromise in Thailand.
Thai landlords prefer not to get future rent than to pay for things up front themselves - perhaps using borrowed money - and then have to wait for the rent money to come in. (Steve, Koh Samui)
Free home improvements
Thailand This is for Expats or long term renters. It is much cheaper to use gas to cook rather than electric. A gas bottle refill only costs 300 baht and will last about 3-4 months. 
There is always a local shop nearby that will bring gas bottles to you and connect the bottle up using the necessary piping and safety valve. Just ask around. Then you just phone them when the gas bottle is empty and they will come and change it over for you.
You can get a decent two hob gas cooker for 500-900 baht.
I also trust gas more for safety (use in a ventilated area) as I've been shocked a few times from electric cookers. The comments on here about Thai electrics are true!
Gas cheaper than electric

Small advice but can be quite a saver. If you pay your own electric, and are running air con (who doesn't?) if you combine it with a fan (stand up type, for sale everywhere) you can get the same cooling effect for a much higher air con temp. And as we all know air con eats electric. Lower electric bill

If you are renting an apartment make sure you check which bills you will need to pay for and the price per unit of things like water and electricity. You can then check online to see if that is the usual rate. As you are not being billed directly by the utility companies you are at the mercy of the landlord to charge the real rate and some will double the price per unit to make a tidy profit. (Kevin) Potentially 50%

If long-term renting you shouldn't have to pay more than one month as a deposit and watch out for any small print catches, such as 'minimum stay 4 months' which are used by landlords to keep the deposit. Great idea when you check out is to give the cleaner a nice tip, because 99% of the time it is the cleaner that the management ask to confirm the room has no damage/problems to come out of your deposit. Get deposit back
Thailand You only have to look at all the wires hanging down from the poles to know electricity standards are poor in Thailand. For those of us that say in cheap hostels it's a particular worry, although I've heard some upper class hotels are not much safer.
Normal buildings rarely have an earth and biggest risk for westerners is the shower. If you're not an electrician there's not much you can do other than have a close look and, if in any doubt, just have cold showers. This is what the locals do anyway, which is why more of them are not electrocuted. (TM)
Udon Thani - Thailand< NT Apartments has just opened. Rooms not huge but has all mod cons, inc wifi, lcd TV. Four floors, the top two of which are for long term rent - cost is 4500 baht a month excluding bills. Much cheaper than most places in city centre. Also do nightly rates. I think around 350 baht. It's located in Adunyadet road (same road as Ruy Suk). 5000 baht a month cheaper than most apartments in area
Udon Thani - Thailand Cheap apartment block located opposite Big C Supermarket. It's called "Ruan Nara Apartment". Turn left off the main road to Big C just before the esso petrol station and its about 100 metres down the road. Ask a tuk tuk to take you. Price 3500 baht for a month. You can get your washing done as well and has wi fi. However no cooking facilities and there is a school near which blasts out loud music at 8am so ask to stay on the far side. You'll need your own transport, but at that price who cares! Cheap Apartment
Udon Thani - Thailand Having had to pay to get most work done twice (to correct initial shoddy work) in my experience these Tradesmen in Udon Thani area are reliable, work to a high standard and price fairly. Note their English is limited so have a Thai speaker handy.
Electrician (and TV): 0811849393 (has worked abroad so understands proper standards)
Plumber: 0862185637 / 042347410 (no-nonsense grafter who gets work done and gives itemised bill). (Falang Phil)

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia My general advice, writing as an Expat in Malaysia (KL) for several years, would be that unlike all other SE Asian countries I've visited, accommodation is the big expense in Malaysia. Living costs (food etc) are much cheaper than most places if you avoid the tourist traps.
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia If you are an expat looking for a city center condo/apartment, 'Park View' is among the best for balance of location and price. It's a few hundred metres from the towers and you get a place for about 3000RM per month (1month) down to nearer 2000RM for longer stays.
If you negotiate well you can get some or all bills included. Has swimming pool and gym on roof. 24 hr security so v. safe. Not cheap but others I've asked about in area are upwards of 4000RM. Be aware that music from the bars/clubs below can be heard in some of the rooms so 'try before you buy'. Quieter rooms are the ones facing the main road, Jalan Ramlee. Just ask at reception for information on renting a room.
Note that the 'Serviced Apartments' are much, much more. Make clear you don't want it to be serviced!
1000RM less than nearby condos
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia Expats looking for cheap furniture, there is an IKEA at Damansara. Take the Kelana Jaya LRT line from city and then you can either get a shuttle bus the short distance from the station to the store or get a taxi.
Taxis are available outside the store to take you back - you'd be amazed what they can fit into a car! Alternatively, IKEA deliver if you are prepared to wait.
Cheap, quality furniture
Saigon - Vietnam Most people stay in District 1, but I've heard District 7 is the place to be for those with a bit of money. Lots of new modern developments and hopefully some cleaner air! Have a look if you get chance. Have a look