Living overseas has its challenges, and a commonly agreed upon one is finding that perfect place to live. To help those of us who are curious about the different options for living in Korea, readers have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about on-base housing. Do you live in an off-base (or on-base) house that you’d like to share with the rest of us? If so, please contact our Submissions Manager to fill out a template.
Jessa has given us a glimpse into her lovely home in Simgok-dong, near K16. Thank you, Jessa!
CONTRIBUTED BY JESSA NANCARROW
1. What’s the name of the city/village where you reside?
We live in Simgok-dong.
2. What is the nearest military installation and accompanying entrance (a.k.a. Gate) to your home and what is the approximate driving time to that installation/gate?
The K-16 main gate is about a 5 minute drive from our house.
3. What DoDDS school district is your home zoned for? Is there a school bus system available?
There are no DODEA schools at K16; all students are bussed to schools on Yongsan. The busses for my elementary & middle school kids arrive at staggered times; the elementary student leaves at 0654 and the middle schooler at 0735. The bus ride from K16 to Yongsan is approximately 45 minutes, which makes for a long day!
4. What is the nearest highway or main road to your home?
We live right off Hwy 23. There is also easy access to Hwys 1, 171 and 61.
5. Please describe the “feel” of your neighborhood (i.e. pet-friendly, child-friendly, safety, spaciousness, predominantly “Korean” or “American”, urban, rural, etc.).
We live in a small valley that looks to be agriculturally driven. There is a large garden right outside our living room and fields all over the hills around us. While there are several American families, the majority of people are Korean. The housing is a mix of villas and stand alone houses, both old and quite new, and there seems to be more space between them than in other neighborhoods I’ve been to. There is a Korean school at the end of our street that brings in quite a bit of traffic at drop off and pick up time, plus a famous mud fish restaurant that brings in tons of people during the lunch hour. Otherwise it’s very quite and safe here.
6. Are there places of service in your neighborhood within walking distance such as restaurants, convenience stores, laundromats, bakeries, coffee shops, parks, etc.?
There are a few restaurants at the end of our road, definitely within walking distance. There is a Korean convenience store about a 10 minute walk away as well. Otherwise we would need to drive or grab a bus to any major shopping. We recently moved here after living across the street from every store and restaurant imaginable so we have experienced that as well. After the hustle and bustle I’m happy being a bit further away!
7. Please describe the style of your home (i.e. Westernized, traditional Korean, detached family home, townhome, etc.) What voltage is available in the outlets (110/220)?
We have the entire 2nd floor of a 4 story villa. It was originally intended to be two apartments but the real estate agent convinced the landlord to convert them into one 5 bedroom apartment. It has a penthouse feel to it in that we are the only apartment on the floor so the elevator opens into our foyer. We have a huge kitchen and dining room, 5 decent sized bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It’s a mix of Westernized and traditional Korean. We have 220V outlets but the realtor provided us with five 2K transformers.
8. Please provide general information about your home such as the rent, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, special amenities, etc.).
We are allotted 3.4 million KRW for our rent. I don’t know the square footage but it is pretty big! It’s a 5 bedroom/3 bath apartment. Cable, water and internet are provided. We also have a built in security system. We are also lucky in that we have an actual enclosed garage to park in.
9. Are there any special accommodations or tasks that you’ve had to complete to make your home useful such as purchasing transformers, appliances, etc.?
Our home didn’t come with a fridge so we had to borrow one from housing at Yongsan. Luckly we were able to get a brand new model that uses 220!
10. What costs are there associated with living off a military installation and how do you pay for those costs?
Other than utilities we don’t have any additional costs.
11. How is parking provided for your home?
We have an enclosed garage on the first floor. It fits 6 cars but so far there are only 2 of us!
12. Are there any outdoor spaces or yards provided for your home?
We don’t have a yard per se but there are plenty of places on the hill behind us for the kids to adventure.
13. How did you find your home (i.e. AHRN, agency, classifieds, word of mouth, etc)?
Military approved realtor facebook page!
14. Are you satisfied with the maintenance services that are provided for your home?
So far so good! It is a brand new building and we haven’t had any issues yet.
15. Finally, what advantages and disadvantages do you feel has been your experience living off-post here in Korea?
We lived on post at our last instillation and I think I prefer our off post house here. I think it’s because we’re in a foreign country and I wanted to be able to experience the culture to the fullest extent. If we only lived near other military families we wouldn’t have learned how to fend for ourselves as quickly as we did. I love that my 9 year old has made friends with the old man down the street and hangs out with him after school! It’s quiet and beautiful in our little valley. The only downside is for the kids; they don’t have any friends outside of school that they can readily play with and that gets tough.