Determined to have a house in the center of Hanoi, but in the end we moved to the fringes to live. Translating Covid-19 further helps us realize that it doesn’t matter where there is a house, the most important thing is how we live in it.
That is Hoang Nhat Vuong’s confession when telling Batdongsan.com.vn the story of leaving a townhouse about his family’s outskirts:
My hometown is in a poor suburban district of Hanoi. My father is a teacher, my mother betrays pork at the market, this is also the main livelihood of the family because his father’s salary is three or three dong. My grandparents, accumulated their whole life, just hope I have a job and stable accommodation in Hanoi.
About 6 years before I got married, my parents both gave me 1 billion VND in the hope that we could buy a small house near the center. The amount of money given by parents is large, but it is not enough to buy a house because we have just started to work and have not accumulated. However, we still decided to borrow 300 million from relatives, set up a red book to borrow 500 million from the bank to buy a house of 1,850 billion. This house has 3 floors, built on 30m2 land near Xuan Thuy, Cau Giay. We use the wedding money to buy furniture, paint and repair the house. The house is located in a small, deep alley but we are still extremely happy to be the owner of our own home, no need to worry about staying here and there. My parents were also delighted when their children had a house on the street.
With the idea of having a house, we just work hard and pay off our debts, but life is not like a dream. In the following years, we lived in a shortage before and after, a hard life and heavy pressure of debt. My wife works as a nurse in a public hospital, comes home late, is on duty late at night, and the salary is low. I work as a construction engineer constantly, so life becomes more chaotic when I have children.
Road congestion is the biggest horror for me living near the center of Hanoi. Illustration
We have to ask our mother to take care of the grandchild, but the house is small, cramped, and very inconvenient. In front of the house is a small alley, going round and round until Xuan Thuy street, but always clogged, the high road is awkwardly built, the restaurant is noisy from morning to night … making life more and more stuffy. My mother has joint pain so going up and down stairs every day is also a pain for her. I cramped my guts as I watched my mother wilt but still tried to stay and take care of her. When my wife gave birth to the second child, my mother could not help me because my father was often sick. His wife had to quit her job at home to take care of her children, sometimes selling small items online to make money for milk diapers. My family’s expenses and large debt are all based on my salary.
After 5 years living in a cramped street house, I find life is not any brighter. The bank debt is still 100 million, the debt of relatives is still there, we are like people living in a small house. In 2019, I thought about going back to my hometown to start over, thinking that I would have to persuade my wife, but I did not expect her to agree because she was too tired of the current life.
We discussed the work in the country and sold the house. After 2 months someone agreed to buy the house for 2.7 billion dong. During that time, I was able to finish the work arrangements. I also asked my parents to find a spacious land, near my grandparents’ house, to build a house and garden. My hometown is about 50km from Hanoi, so the land price is no longer cheap. The land I bought is 500m2 wide, including 100m2 of residential land, priced at 1.3 billion VND. Paying off the debt, minus the money to buy the land with the balance of nearly 1 billion, I built a grade 4 house with the cost of VND 500 million, the rest was to renovate the garden, dig a pond … parents house.
Fresh fruits and vegetables in the garden are always ready for meals
Peaceful scene in front of my house
Back home, I worked as a contractor by myself, hired a team of workers to build houses for people in the district. In urgent work I will stay to look after and urge the brothers and sisters. When I have free time, I will stay at home to help my wife and mother in the garden. We grow vegetables and sell them to a number of clean vegetable stores outside of Hanoi. The children go to public schools in the commune, so they can ask their grandparents to pick them up, don’t have to worry about traffic jams, traffic jams … Out of debt, almost self-sufficient life, even though starting a business, the income is not much but we felt very comfortable, not stuffy like living in the street.
This year, Covid translation made many people unemployed, many families had to return to their hometowns to live in … we feel very lucky that we have moved back to their hometown. I think if the income is not high, the job is uncertain … do not try to stay in the city, buy a house in the outskirts or come back to settle in a much more comfortable business.