The Modern Korean Housing for Rent: Officetel

When living in the big city, most people would imagine being surrounded by large skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. Among the many Korean housing options out there, officetels offer the most convenience and are sought after by many Korean workers and businessmen.

But you may be wondering, what are officetels? Are they limited only to Korea? What amenities and benefits do they offer residents compared to other housing options? We’ll try to get through everything you’ll need to know about most modern type of housing in Korea.

What are Officetels?

As a portmanteau of the English word office and hotel, the Korean officetel was originally a work facility that also included basic living amenities. It is a Korean made concept which combines workplace and living space so that business owners could thrive without having to pay for an office and their own individual apartment.

Officetels possess the look and feel of an actual office, yet they’re also equipped with  their own kitchenette, sinks and toilets like any other apartment. They’re also considered very convenient as they’re usually located near transportation hubs in the city.

seoul officetel

History of Officetels

The first officetel was introduced in Korea during the 1980’s but only became popular during 1990’s and 2000’s.

When the concept for office tell was first established, it was considered illegal in Korea for offices to be used as housing.

However, as the economy in Korea became difficult during the late 1990’s, the government started to deregulate in order to boost the economy.

The result of the deregulation caused a huge surge of officetels appearing all over Seoul and other big cities such as Daejeon, Daegu and Busan. Progressively, more residential officetels were built that function more like an apartment rather than an office.

officetel seoul

Why choose an Officetel?

One of the biggest perks of renting or buying an Officetel would definitely be the fact that you can legally register your apartment as a place of work. If you plan to run a business in South Korea, you can do so without having to buy a separate office.

You may also have clients visit your office/house and conduct business without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. This legal ambiguity has benefited many businesses in Korea as it removes the need for having two separate places.

Officetels are also easy to find in the heart of large cities. They’re conveniently placed in some of the most urban parts of Seoul such as Gangnam and Jamsil. You can even find them around the satellite city of Bundang.

Their desirable location makes it easy to get around as they’re only an earshot away from a nearby bus stop or subway station. This also means that there are many shopping centers, gyms, bakeries, post offices, supermarkets and restaurants nearby.


What do Officetels come with?

Similar to living in a studio apartment, officetels come with many of the basic living amenities such as a bathroom, kitchen, closet, laundry machine, etc.

If you decide to purchase or rent an officetel, you can take full advantage of its legal ambiguity and design your space to either be more work oriented or to be more like a comfortable living space.

Furnished vs. Unfurnished

You’ll have to furnish your own officetel if you decide to buy one. However, if you’re renting it from someone else, it may already come furnished. In either case, you may want to discuss with  your real estate agent as to what your options are when getting an officetel.

If you do need to find your own furniture and home appliances, there are many places in South Korea for you to shop. You’d best check out a local Hypermarket such as E-mart, Lotte Mart or Homeplus.

You may also want to check out shops near your officetel as they tend to have many local markets which sell home appliances and housing utilities.

If you already have a bank account with a working credit card, you’ll also be able to just conveniently order your own furniture online.

Internet and Cable TV

In most officetels, you’ll have to set up your own internet service by contacting one of the three internet service providers such as LG UPlus, SK Broadband or KT Corporation. It’s best to check up with them about their rates and how they can install internet in your apartment. Many of these services now have an English speaking representative that can you out.

Officetel with a Loft Style

Some of the more recently built officetels may also include a Loft or a second floor. Naturally, these types of officetel are usually more expensive as they come with more space. To have a loft is usually a sign of luxury, as they can look very grand and make your place seem much bigger.

Security and Safety

Officetels usually come with state of the art security. Many people who conduct their business in their officetel would require top notch security to make sure that they can track what goes in and out of their business.

From fire alarms and sprinklers to digital door security systems, officetels come with everything you need to feel safe and secure. Most public areas are also being recorded on CCTV. Some officetels also come with their own security guard and receptionist to help facilitate client interactions and help guide them to your Office.

Parking Lot

Depending on your officetel and how its managed, you may or may not have to pay for parking. This can be agreed upon when writing up your contract. For many officetels located in a densely populated area such as Gangnam, you can pay around 30,000 – 50,000 won ($30 – $50 USD) monthly to secure your own private parking space.

Convenient Shopping, Dining and Other Amenities

One of the best aspects of living in an officetel is how it’s common to find stores and facilities that operate within the same building. It’s possible to have an indoor gym, spa, hair salon, supermarket and even restaurants. Similar to how a hotel is structured, you may never have to leave your building if you choose to.

How can I rent an Officetel in South Korea?

Most officetels in Korea are built by large corporations that sell the property to private owners. If you choose to rent an officetel, you’ll have to make a contract with the owner of your specified unit. It’s best to have a reputable English-speaking realtor by your side who can help you negotiate the best deal possible. 

If you’re still unsure on how to rent an officetel, then feel free to ask us by checking out or by filling out the form below. Let us know how we can help you get started in finding the best place for you in Korea. You may also check this beginner’s guide on the Korean rental system and look over all the different types of housing available.

officetel loft
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