Perhaps the first thing to consider is to be aware of noise nuisances, such as early morning markets or late night karaoke bars in near proximity of your place. Also, take into consideration that, inevitably, there will be some sort of construction project happening at some point in the future. For that reason, it would be best to avoid renting a place that has an obvious vacant lot next to or in front of your housing.
Houses of similar size in the the same area should be of a similar rent price, so if the rental you are looking at is significantly cheaper than others in the area, there may be a negative reason why that is so.
Lastly, rentals go pretty quickly in Vietnam, so if a place has been empty for more than a month or two, there may a reason that that particular structure is undesirable.
Furnished or unfurnished?
Accommodation in Vietnam is available furnished or unfurnished. Basic equipment provided by the landlord in any type of accommodation is generally:
Kitchen/laundry: a range-top stove with an oven, cooker hood, refrigerator, dishwasher negotiable, washing machine, clothes dryer negotiable.
Amenities: satellite and decoder (or cable TV), two-way split-air conditioners in bedrooms and major living area, voltage stabilizers, ceiling fans if they can be fitted in.
Kitchens and bathrooms in Vietnamese housing, for the most part, are acceptable of international standards. Do check to see if the electrical outlets are grounded, to avoid power surges; and that the water pressure is adequate and the water heaters are large enough to fill a bath.
Any requests you may have for renovations must be negotiated prior to commencement of the lease. Landlords will usually agree to reasonable requests, such as providing fitted curtains or blinds, but be aware that the costs may be added to the initial asking price of the rental (the landlord may increase the rent). It is also possible to request that an unfurnished property be furnished, with your choice of new furniture, for an additional US$700 to $1,000 (€550 - €785) per month.
Utilities and additional costs
Basic utilities should be roughly 500,000 VND (US$30 / €24) a month, and it can be arranged for bills to be delivered to your home or included in your monthly rent. Electricity and telephone usage is metered, and when you move into a rental property, you should be issued a comprehensive ‘handover’ document - to make sure that all meters have been read, and that you are not paying for these services for your neighbors.
It is common to hire domestic help in Vietnam, and your maid will usually be able to organize and make payments for garbage collection and water bills. Although the majority of expatriates opt not to have security guards, some embassies make it a requirement. In larger houses, a night guard may double up as gardener, pool attendant, etc., as to alleviate these chores from the domestic helper.