This is never easy, no matter where you live or how much money you have. There are so many factors to take into consideration. Living in or near Seoul, there are even more criteria. For me in my situation, the things to consider are:
1. Accessibility. We don't drive, so it would be nice to live near a subway station and/or major bus stops
2. Spaciousness. I'm a Westerner. I like a big home.
3. Environment. It would be so nice to live near a park rather than an ongoing construction site. Also, since we don't have a car, nearby shopping, like a Homeplus or Emart, would be excellent.
4. Job prospects. We're thinking or using our tutoring licenses to start a home school. We need to be in an area with lots of families and schools for this to work.
There are other things of course, but these are the biggies. I've tried to put these criteria in order of importance to me, but it's really hard.
Yesterday we looked at a place in Bucheon, near Yeokgok Station. This place rates poorly in accessibility. You have to get out of the station, walk to the bus stop, take a maul (village) bus (about 5-10 min), get off near the complex and walk up to the complex (about 5-10 min). I could see myself just opting to stay home a lot, especially in really cold or hot weather. It's also old. The flooring and wallpaper would have to be replaced. The cupboards should be changed too, but I'm not sure that's in our budget.
The up side? It's the biggest complex in Bucheon, containing 3000 units. It's huge. It could be a goldmine for teaching opportunities. Sejin's aunt lives in this complex and says that word travels fast through such places and she's confident we could get a lot of students.
Here's another one. Sejin saw a brand new officetel near Bucheon Station. New, spacious, modern, beautiful. 5 minutes to the station, fitness centre inside, etc. Downside: location. There are not a lot of schools in the immediate area or apt complexes nearby. Not enough potential students.
This is the dilemma. It seems we just can't have everything -- you need serious money to have that. I'm afraid of taking a place in the middle of nowhere so that we can get students and end up hating living there because I feel isolated. On the other hand, we could take a nice place, like the officetel, and then find that life is inconvenient because we have to travel to find students rather than have them come to us.
When Grace wakes up we're going to Uijeongbu to look at a place Sejin likes. In a complex, and a little more accessible than the other place, near a park, but not near any shopping. Maybe we should just get a car...