Landlords think of foreign tenants as guests, and will do their best to make you feel at home. Even low-end apartments generally come with window curtains and bedding. A basic apartment will come furnished with simple beds, tables and chairs, while high-end villas or executive suites may include everything from fine china to antique furniture. If you are bringing your own furnishings, be sure to negotiate with your landlord or agent that you want your new home unfurnished–otherwise you might find yourself trapped in a space with someone else’s stuff.
Rooms are counted as the number of bedrooms, and floors are numbered in the American way, with the ground floor counted as the first floor. In listings, a unit’s area is listed in square meters–multiply by ten to approximately convert square meters to square feet. For example, a 200 square meter house is roughly 2000 square feet.
Balconies and terraces are a common and pleasant feature of many buildings in Hanoi, so keep an eye out for them in listings.
English is the lingua franca between Vietnamese, Americans, and Europeans in Hanoi–however, the level of local English ability is sometimes rudimentary. Perhaps because of a lack of linguistic sophistication, in real estate listings there are no localized abbreviations for English words–everything is written out as plainly as possible. Listings are no more esoteric than misspellings and grammar mistakes, though they may occasionally incorporate local spellings. For example, you may see “tivi” instead of TV.