Moving to the Big Durian? Whats New Jakarta meets the Founder and CEO of LetsMoveIndonesia Gary Joy, who chats to us about living in Jakarta and tips for finding property in the Big Durian.
WNJ: What brought you to Jakarta and what makes you stay?
Gary Joy: I actually only came here for a career break and to experience living in Asia. Previously back in my hometown of Bournemouth in England I worked in property and investment banking, but I fancied a career break, threw a dart at the globe and ended up in Indonesia.
If you had asked me 5 years ago would I still be in Jakarta, I would have said “absolutely not”, but here I am and I couldn’t be happier. I truly believe Indonesia grows on you if you are open minded and capable to adapt, which is something I have worked hard to overcome.
What keeps me here now is the unpredictability of life; I no longer live a 9-5 life. With a variety of work engagement and events to attend, I never really clock off anymore. Most amazingly, Monday has become my favourite day of the week!
WNJ: From your experience, how can people new to Jakarta make friends and where should they go?
GJ: As one of the Ambassadors of InterNations and the host of Jakarta Business Networkers (JBN) obviously I would champion these events. I genuinely believe they are great ways of expanding your network and have personally benefitted from both.
For those that have never heard of either before, InterNations is a global community set up in a variety of countries around the world. Every month we hold a variety of events and activities around Jakarta, ranging from social networking nights to badminton clubs. It really is a great way to make new friends and try new things.
JBN is a professional lunchtime business networking event, whereby we encourage referrals and help expand each other’s networks. In Indonesia, business is often done via relationships rather than advertising, so having a large network is paramount to running a successful business.
WNJ: Do you have any tips for anyone looking to rent property in Jakarta?
GJ: There are many things to consider when renting a home in Jakarta, here are some of my top tips:
Location – As we all know; the traffic can be terrible here. We don’t measure journeys here by distance, but by time. I would recommend picking a home closest to your most frequented places. Before moving to a new place check google maps or Waze at different times of the day to see how long the journey times tend to be.
Negotiate the price – Many moons have passed since the property owners held the power. With the decrease in high spending expats and the consistent production of new apartments, there are plenty of empty units available.
Feel free to put in a cheeky offer. In this market, you never know what bargains you can find!
Payment terms – For decades Indonesia has been well known for requesting 12 months payment up front. Although, this is still preferred and will give the lessee more negotiating power, property owners are becoming more and more open to the idea of taking less than this. 6 months up front is becoming more acceptable, however owners prepared to accept monthly rent is still very rare.
Contract terms – As with anything in life, the longer the contract, the better the terms. Added to that, if you choose to only sign a 1-year contract, you may find yourself at the mercy of the owner when it comes to signing your renewal.
If you are planning on staying in Jakarta for more than a year, we recommend taking a longer contract. This way you can fix the price and sleep safely in the knowledge you are not in for any nasty surprises.
Pick a reliable agent – Indonesians by spirit are entrepreneurial and always looking for ways to increase their income. Which means anyone can be an agent. No office, no experience, no knowledge, no problem!
With thousands of makeshift independent agents, the service levels can vary; pricing, reliability and honesty can all suffer. Price hikes and back handed dealings are common and with no fixed office address or point of contact, it isn’t uncommon for these ‘agents’ to take your money and disappear. We recommend you using LetsMoveIndonesia of course.
Bills – Always, always, always check what monthly bills there are before committing to a contract. Most apartments will include service or maintenance charges in the price, but if you don’t check, you may get some unexpected bills. Make sure you have all the information and it is documented clearly.
Also, it is wise to ask what the general electricity and water costs are. Obviously, this varies depending on the usage, but there is no harm in being informed.
Pick a serviced apartment – If you want a hassle-free life, we recommend choosing a serviced apartment. Benefits of living in a serviced apartment can include no additional bills, housekeeping, breakfast and peace of mind on an unrivalled level. Some are available from as little as $2000 a month.
WNJ: Where would you recommend people live when relocating to Jakarta?
GJ: I personally think this comes down to where you work and how long you are prepared to sit in traffic. Traditionally in the past, most expats lived in Kemang due to the variety of housing options and leisure facilities, but nowadays Mega Kuningan has become the cool place to live. Some of Jakarta’s most coveted restaurants, bars and clubs are there and this area has seen huge growth over the last few years.
What is LetsMoveIndonesia and how did it all begin?
In 2013 I was trying to find a new apartment, I had tried using a variety of websites and agents however I found that often I was given misleading information and subject to price increases solely on the basis of being a foreigner. I heard horror stories of makeshift agents running off with peoples’ money and for me the experience was stressful and time consuming.
Having a background in property in Europe, I felt that the expatriate community needed someone to improve the way residential property was marketed. It needed to be run in a more ethical, organised way with the focus being on helping people rather than extorting money from them.
In 2016 we opened LetsMoveIndonesia and have since helped hundreds of expats find their new home or relocate to Indonesia.
We are proud to be known as an ethical agency that offers services at competitive prices serviced up with professional standards.
WNJ: What services do you offer?
GJ: Our mission from the beginning was to create a place where people didn’t need to use multiple agents and companies, but just one sole agent who could handle all your needs professionally. LetsMoveIndonesia is a one stop shop for all expatriates needs.
Free Home Finding Service – Our speciality is premium apartments in Mega Kuningan, Kuningan, Setiabudi, Sudirman & SCBD. We represent almost every apartment complex in these areas.
Relocation Services – Visa Services, Company Establishment, School Search, Removals, Settling In and Orientation Programmes, Language and Cross Cultural Training, Pet Relocation Airport Pick Up, Furniture & Vehicle Rental, Security & Facility Management.
WNJ: What should our readers do if they need any help with their housing or immigration needs?
GJ: You can visit our website www.letsmoveindonesia.com or call 021 300 297 27, email [email protected] or you can come in and see us in our office located in Bellagio Mall Upper Ground Floor, Mega Kuningan.