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South Korea – Finding Property to Buy

Popular Estate Agents in South Korea

South Korea’s real estate market is known for its dynamic and fast-paced nature, and there are several reputable estate agents and agencies serving the needs of buyers, sellers, and renters. Here are some popular estate agents and agencies in South Korea:

  • Samsung Real Estate: Samsung Real Estate is a well-established agency with a strong presence in South Korea. They offer a wide range of residential and commercial properties.
  • Daum Real Estate: Daum Real Estate is a prominent online real estate platform that connects buyers, sellers, and renters. They provide a comprehensive listing of properties across South Korea.
  • Zigbang: Zigbang is another popular online platform for property listings in South Korea. It offers a user-friendly interface and a variety of property types.
  • Habitat Korea: Habitat Korea is known for its specialization in expat-friendly housing solutions, making it a go-to choice for foreigners looking for accommodation in South Korea.
  • CENTURY 21 Korea: CENTURY 21 is a globally recognized brand with a presence in South Korea. They provide real estate services across the country.

These estate agents and platforms offer a range of property options and services to cater to the diverse needs of the South Korean real estate market.

Qualifications and Licences in South Korea

In South Korea, estate agents are required to meet certain qualifications and obtain licences to practice legally. The real estate industry is regulated by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Here are the key qualifications and licences:

  • Real Estate Brokerage Licence: To work as a real estate agent, individuals must obtain a Real Estate Brokerage Licence, known as “부동산 중개사 자격증” (Budongsan Jungga Sa Jegukjeung) in Korean. To qualify for this licence, candidates must:
    • Complete a designated real estate education program.
    • Pass the national real estate agent examination, which consists of both written and oral components.
    • Submit proof of good conduct and financial responsibility.
  • Real Estate Salesperson Licence: Real estate salespersons, known as “부동산 등기인 자격증” (Budongsan Deunggiin Jegukjeung) in Korean, work under the supervision of licensed real estate brokers. To obtain this licence, candidates must complete an education program and pass the examination.

Consumers in South Korea are encouraged to work with licensed real estate agents who can provide professional services and adhere to industry standards.

Breakdown of Estate Agent Fees in South Korea

Understanding the fees associated with estate agents in South Korea is important for both buyers and sellers. Estate agent fees typically consist of the following components:

  • Agent Commission: The most common fee structure is a commission based on the final sale or lease price of the property. The commission rate can vary but is typically around 0.5% to 1% of the property’s selling or leasing price. This fee is usually shared between the buyer’s and seller’s agents.
  • Security Deposit (Jeonse) Fee: In South Korea, many rental agreements are based on a “jeonse” system, where tenants provide a lump-sum security deposit instead of paying monthly rent. Agents may charge a fee, typically equivalent to one month’s rent, for assisting with jeonse transactions.
  • Rental Fee (Wolse) Fee: For properties rented on a monthly basis (wolse), agents may charge a fee equivalent to one month’s rent for their services.
  • Other Fees: There may be additional fees associated with services such as property valuation, document preparation, and notarization. These fees can vary depending on the agent and the specific services provided.

It’s important for both buyers and sellers to discuss and clarify all fees with their chosen estate agent before entering into any agreements in South Korea.


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Finding Property Listings in South Korea

Aside from estate agents, there are various resources to help you find details of property for sale or rent in South Korea. These resources cater to different preferences and needs. Here are some options:

  • Daum Real Estate: Daum Real Estate is one of the largest online platforms for property listings in South Korea. Users can search for properties by location, type, and price range.
  • Zigbang: Zigbang is another popular online real estate platform that offers a wide range of property listings, including apartments, officetels, and houses.
  • Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers: This platform specializes in auctions of various properties, including real estate. It can be a unique way to find investment opportunities.
  • Seoul Metropolitan Government Real Estate Information: The official website of the Seoul Metropolitan Government provides information on real estate, property taxes, and housing-related services in Seoul.
  • Angloinfo South Korea: Angloinfo offers information on various aspects of living in South Korea, including property listings and real estate services.
  • The Korea Times: Local newspapers, such as The Korea Times, often feature property listings and real estate-related articles.
  • Word of Mouth: Networking and word of mouth can also be effective in finding off-market or unique properties in South Korea. Engaging with local communities and expat groups can provide valuable insights.

These resources offer a variety of property types and can be helpful for both locals and expats looking to buy, sell, or rent in South Korea.

Use of Buyer’s Agents in South Korea

The use of buyer’s agents, also known as property buyers or buyer’s consultants, is becoming increasingly common in South Korea. These professionals work on behalf of property buyers to assist them in finding suitable properties, negotiating deals, and navigating the complex real estate market. Here are some key points about the use of buyer’s agents in South Korea:

  • Emerging Trend: Buyer’s agents are a relatively new concept in South Korea, but their popularity is growing, particularly among busy professionals and expats.
  • Licensing: As of now, there are no specific licensing requirements for buyer’s agents in South Korea. However, many buyer’s agents have backgrounds in real estate, law, or related fields.
  • Cost: The cost of hiring a buyer’s agent in South Korea can vary. Some charge a flat fee, while others may work on a commission basis. The terms of engagement and fee structure should be discussed and agreed upon between the buyer and the agent.
  • Services: Buyer’s agents provide a range of services, including property searches, property inspections, negotiation support, due diligence, and transaction coordination. Their services can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each client.

When considering the use of a buyer’s agent in South Korea, it’s essential to have clear communication regarding their fees, services, and the scope of their assistance.

Organizations for Foreign Property Buyers in South Korea

Foreign property buyers in South Korea can benefit from various organizations and associations that provide information, support, and networking opportunities. While these organizations may not exclusively cater to foreign buyers, they offer valuable resources for navigating the South Korean real estate market. Here are some organizations and their contact details:

  • Korea.net: The official website of the Republic of Korea provides information on various aspects of living in Korea, including real estate-related information for foreigners.
  • Korea Appraisal Board: The Korea Appraisal Board offers property valuation and appraisal services. It can be a useful resource for buyers looking to assess the value of properties.
  • Seoul Metropolitan Government: The official website of the Seoul Metropolitan Government offers information on housing and real estate in Seoul. It includes details on housing support for foreigners.

These organizations can provide valuable information, guidance, and connections for foreign property buyers interested in the South Korean real estate market.


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