Tips for Finding an Apartment in Jakarta

Moving to a foreign metropolitan like Jakarta can be daunting, especially when you’re ladened with the challenge of looking for an apartment on your own. If you’re a beginner in apartment-hunting in Jakarta (or anywhere, really) and have nowhere to go to for advice, rest assured. We have a checklist of things you need to be aware of when browsing for apartments (assuming you’re not relying on word-of-mouth). Here are some tips to guide you to look for the perfect apartment in Jakarta!

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1. Deciding on an Apartment

Just like when deciding on a pet, you need to understand what kind of apartment you’re renting. Start from researching and knowing your apartments A-to-Z. If you feel lost, we have some leads to help you get started.

First, know your apartment sizes. Universally, apartment units come in four sizes: Studio, 1BR, 2BR, and 3BR. If you’re a student or fresh graduate on a smaller budget, consider choosing Studio for its more compact size and lower price range. 

Next is choosing between furnished and unfurnished apartments. Most people go for renting a furnished apartment since they want to cut down on budget and time for interior design. However, those determined for personalizing their space from the top may consider choosing an unfurnished one.

A rising trend in apartment renting is the availability of serviced apartments. These are units that are cleaned weekly by the apartment management. On the other hand, online apartment marketplaces that directly manage their listings sometimes hire cleaning crews to maintain their units. These serviced apartments are worth checking out if you don’t mind allocating a budget to free yourself from house chores.

Finally, there are the facilities you’re expecting in your apartment. Apartments usually have the same set of facilities: swimming pools, a fitness center, 24-hour security with CCTV (sometimes with access cards), and parking spaces. However, you need to be on the lookout for more basic facilities such as minimarkets, laundry (since they’re usually not covered by apartment management), and ATM centers. Consider asking the contact agent for details or try visiting the building yourself if possible.

2. Choosing a Neighborhood

For strangers to Jakarta, choosing apartments can be pretty tricky, especially with no prior knowledge of Jakarta’s neighborhoods. If you don’t have any references to go by or still have questions after reading about others’ experiences living in Jakarta, we have a piece of good advice for you.

The rule of thumb when looking for apartments is picking the closest to your main point of interest, be it your office or school. However, some may have pointed out that wallet-friendly accommodations may be hard to find if you happen to work at upscale business districts like SCBD and Thamrin.

Thankfully, those business districts are also known for their extensive public transportation choices: Transjakarta buses, commuter trains, MRT, you name it! Chances are, you’ll be able to find a transportation option that can take you to various other points in Jakarta, including residential areas. 

To do this, first, open your workplace on Google Maps and locate the nearest transport stops around. Then look at the routes and take note of stations with the nearest distances and cheapest tariffs. Afterward, look up these stations’ district names and search for accommodations around the area. 

The above tip is just as useful when you’re planning to commute using online motorbike taxis. Even if you don’t mind spending Rp 6.000 more to escape crowded buses and trains, prices can surge higher the further you are from your destination, so keep this in mind if you want to allocate your transportation budget properly.

Some apps help prospective tenants find suitable accommodations by sorting them according to the nearest business districts, universities, and even malls. An example is Orento, which is available for download on iOS and Android.

find out more about Strategic Neighborhoods to Live in Jakarta

3. Using Apartment-Finding Apps and Websites

You can find apartment listings from all sorts of websites, including Indonesian versions of Craigslist with their bare-bones introduction and poorly-lit photos (which isn’t very Craiglist-like, we admit).

The trouble with these websites is that the independent agents behind these listings aren’t always trustworthy. Even real-estate agents can be hit or miss in terms of cooperativity. To avoid complications further down the road (like slow response with apartment maintenance or unreasonable price surges in rent), we recommend looking at websites with ‘a certified agent’ filter like Airbnb and its ‘Superhost’ feature.

If you want to be extra sure that you’re not putting your money (and payment details) in the wrong hands, we recommend that you opt for websites that handle payment directly via the website. Furthermore, these websites usually allow you to pay monthly with a range of payment methods (even without using credit cards!). Better yet, they sometimes manage on their own, so you need not worry about maintenance or other services. Such hassle-free websites include Travelio and Jendela360

Tip: if you’re worried about getting fooled by listing pictures, we recommend that you check websites like the abovementioned Jendela360 and Flokq that feature virtual room tours.

4. Checking the Safety of Your Surroundings

An uber-important thing that you need to make sure is your future apartment’s security. When looking through selected listings, look at what security measures are available. While apartments usually guarantee standard facilities like 24-hour security service, access cards, and CCTV, there’s no fault in contacting agents or the website customer service for detailed information.

Another way of knowing the safety of your prospective neighborhood is to look at the listing’s review. Current or previous tenants will notify or warn others of their less-than-savory experiences while living in the area.

This Jendela360 article also suggests that you visit the property at night. Not only will you be able to determine how noisy it is at night and the condition of the parking spaces, but you will also be able to see whether your prospective neighborhood stays safe even after nightfall. 

There you have some tips to find an apartment in Jakarta, we hope you find the place you need! Last but not least, involve friends and family in your search. Hopefully, their input can further guide you in choosing the right apartment according to your needs and budget.

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