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I want to share a way to find a fully furnished apartment, when traveling. I used this method several times and created it while applying it. I'm sure it's not optimal and that there are things that can be improved in this method. Please let me know, if you can think of some improvements.

Goals:
Finding a fully furnished apartment for a few weeks up to a few months when traveling. Cheaper price than average. You can make sure that you like the apartment, area and endowment before you agree to pay for a longer period of time. Uncomplicated and relatively low (but not no) effort.

How to do it:
1. Book a cheap and strategic good positioned place to stay for the first few days when you arrive. For example a dorm room in a hostel for two nights.
2. Think about where you want to live, how much you are willing to pay, what endowments are mandatory for you and when you want to live there.
3. Use the famous website, that offers private accommodations for travelers and set up the filters to your needs. I prefer the map over the listing.
4. Write messages to the hosts. The messages should include all requests that are important for you like several bed linens for example.
5. Ask about the exact location of the apartment.
6. Make appointments to visit the apartments in person. Try to make the appointments according the locations of the apartments. I visited about 8 apartments in one day.
7. Talk about paying in cash and renting without the platform, when you are there and find out what's the lowest price you can get. Ask for their contact details, so you can contact them later without the platform.
8. Write all the collected information down and sort it. For example: name of the building / name of the landlord / price you have to pay / things that you found especially good or bad in the apartment / etc.
9. Choose your apartment

You should start messaging the owners a few days before you go there, because some of them will need some time to respond. Of course this doesn't make sense, if you only stay there for a week and there are also betters ways to find apartments when you stay for longer periods, but in my opinion it's the best method to find something in between short and long term periods of renting.
Have done this before and it works well enough since they are getting shafted with fees and would usually rather take cash straight.

But the best way to find an apartment while traveling is to make local friends and have them set you up.
Any way to swerve those greedy lying cheating motherfuckers gets my vote.
I'd also say that it will help to find webpages used by locals, so nothing of expat.com or travel.com pages. They will charge you more, mark my words. And make sure you at least understand a few words or the basics of the language that is spoken in that area. Otherwise try to make some local friends (pipelining chicks is very helpful in that regards no matter if she is perhaps a 6 only) and they can assist you for a while.
This is a pretty huge time invesment, for those not willing to do that I recommend booking the best apartment you can find for a few days that is available for the next few months or however long you need then after you get the hosts whatsapp message them directly and ask how much cash to stay longer.
How do you set up meetings with hosts on that famous website before you book a place? How do you exchange info? Do you use words or smileys to send them your number/whatsapp? Did anybody get their account shut down for trying to exchange contact info instead of booking an apartment through the website?
Well he said get the address to have a look in person, then get the contact details. That should work without setting up any alarm.
(01-29-2019 09:30 PM)bigbadpua Wrote: [ -> ]Well he said get the address to have a look in person, then get the contact details. That should work without setting up any alarm.

If we're talking about AirBnB, they will only share the address after you book and pay. I did leave my phone number to one of the hosts in the past by typing something like one-2-three 4-five-6-seven eight-9-ten, then got in touch and looked at the apartment. However, my concern is that if AirBnB catches me doing this, especially several times, they'll ban me.
That's also my concern and there is a possibility that this can happen. Mentioning a name of a platform here doesn't make the chances smaller. Some hosts write me their email address or mobile number with some tricks like mentioned above without me asking for it. I ask for it, when I meet the hosts in person.

They can write the address in messages without any problems.
This a great suggestion. Many thanks.
For areas that are less developed and not well served by these big sites, here are a few extra tips.

1. Get a map of the town/city you want to live in.
2. Draw a perimeter around the area you want to live in.
3. Be able to recognize the local script for ˜for rent/sale. The sign is normally posted on the outside of the property in question. If you see the sign on the first floor balcony, it is that level that is for rent.
4. Get on a motorcycle and drive around the area.
5. Take DISCREET photos of the property and save with the St. number, together with the phone number. The number will be on the sale/rent sign. I use the photos to weigh up options later. f you have a really good memory, just write down the address.
6. During this process, avoid talking to owners/onlookers at all costs if possible. Its easy to understand that the best time to do this would be at night, when you would also get a good idea of the noise levels in the area.
7. Once you have surveyed your area, go home.
8. Make a list of things you need regarding the apartment. Here is my list:

a. Quiet: this takes independent research, as an owner will tell you what you want to hear, and many locals are immune to noise that annoys westerners. If you see dogs, chickens, metal shops, karaoke bars, RUN! If you hear freshie boy kids doing karaoke at the home next door, RUN!
b. Separate entrance.
€. Aircon (this can be installed by negotiating if they don't have it, I paid an extra month's deposit as the owner spent $400 on a Panasonic inverter)
d. Western toilet
e. Glass and steel windows for quiet and security
f. Partly furnished
g. Secure parking for two motos
g. Reliable electricity (it goes without saying that the owner will seldom be honest about this)
h. Water that does not rely on an electrical pump if the above is dodgy.
i. Cable TV/internet. Most houses renting will have cable TV, but few will have internet.
j. Decent water pressure (check at peak times, 6am-830 am)
k. I have my own electrical water heater, which goes when I do. About $100.
l. Does not face west (too hot in the afternoon)

Now that you have your list, find a local friend to make phone calls for you to ask the rental price and check what each property has in terms of your requirements. In addition, they should ask what deposit is required. One month is standard in most places. If they say 2 or more, and you want to negotiate it, do so if you like the place when you see it..
Write down the rentals next to your list of properties.
Take your local friend and visit the places. If rental prices are adjusted when you visit, RUN!
OK, so let's assume you have found a place. Next step, sign the lease, right?

NO! FAIL!

You should check the lease for the following, which should be clearly stated IN WRITING (your local friend should check the details, and you should get an English copy signed and thumb-printed by the lessor):
I write these things down before and my wife explains them to any potential lessor.
1. Electricity rate should be at company rate, no levy by the owner. Apartment should be sub-metered. 2. Water should be at municipal rate.
3. Garbage removal at municipal rate.
4. Right of fair access to the owner should be provided for by mutual agreement, appointment only.
5. Certain items under maintenance should be the owner's responsibility: wiring, plumbing, aircon, leaking roofs, painting etc.
6. Minor items such as light bulbs and things you damage/break are your responsibility.
7. A provision should be that you give one month's notice, and that the lessor then uses your deposit instead of you paying rental for the last month.
8. Change all the internal locks, and do not give the owner a copy of keys.
9. Make sure you have bike insurance; the owner is generally not responsible for loss/theft, so get disk locks/chains.


Thnaks to Vlad for putting this together.
This list applies to SEA but other places will be different.
My last place up the borderlands for example was very different with loads of unexpected rules that do not apply any where else on earth.
Hope that this helps.
I will definitely be trying out the Bongo King's method next month.
I'll add the following tips, specifically for airbnb:

1. If staying about three weeks, set your dates for 28 days instead. Most apartments offer a decent monthly discount for bookings 28 days and up.
So, a 21-day booking would sometimes be more expensive than 28 days. You save money, and have the option of staying longer.

2. Look for new listings. There isn't a way (that I know) to filter for new listings. However, brand new apartments/hosts often offer a 20% discount in addition to the monthly discount. These are usually the best deals, and can save you hundreds of dollars on the booking.

3. Rent the ideal place for 2 days. If you find a place you're happy with, and your dates are available on the calendar, then rent it for 2 days. When you get there, discuss a direct extension with the host. Don't try to discuss this with the host beforehand on the site. They'll play innocent, get defensive and might refuse if you bring it up in person during your 2-day stay. No one wants to lose their account.
I've extended my stay and paid cash a number of times, and the hosts are always happy with it. No one likes the damn airbnb fees either.
This strategy is doable but a big time investment seeing all those places and there's a decent possibility of getting banned. There is a button they can click on your inquiry to report you, and some hosts will. Then your account is done. A lot of hosts don't like to mess around with people outside of the system like that because there is a good chance you waste their time, are difficult to deal with making a bunch of requests, and will negotiate for every last penny. You said yourself you viewed 8 apartments to book one. That means you wasted 7 host's time.

Also, you have zero protection this way. If you lay down a deposit nothing to stop them from taking your money and claiming you never paid. Risky to save a few dollars. Better strategy is to do what Shimmy said, book for a few days then negotiate later if you like the place for more time. Or even stay for a month then arrange cash payment and discount for the following months if you are staying a while and some trust has been built.
I prefer the old school method of showing up and pounding the pavement. On my recent trip to Playa Del Carmen, I took the bus from Cancun, got off right downtown on 5th avenue then started walking around and within 5 minutes a local vendor asked me if I needed a place. He showed me the apartment he had, it was great then we negotiated a price and he sold me some weed and blow too. I paid about $40 USD/night; it had a kitchen, two balconies, two futons and a huge bed.

Brodiga drank with me a couple of nights on the balcony, I think he’d agree that it was a pretty dope spot. Sometimes this method works out really well, gotta be creative when you’re banned for life from Airbnb.
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