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CSS Profile Housing Information

Sam000Sam000 1 replies1 threads New Member
Hello, there. I'm an international student filling out the CSS profile. I'm stuck on the housing information section because I don't know what to select or enter.

I'm South Korean, and my country is known for a unique mode of payment for housing. This mode of payment is called jeonse (전세), and the closest English translation of this term (according to Wikipedia) is lump-sum deposit or key money deposit. However, the jeonse is nothing like the typical lump-sum deposit or key money deposit that people know of.

So, normally, a person can either buy a house (that is, own a house) or rent the house. I wouldn't have posted on this forum if my housing situation were as simple as choosing any of the two ways of living mentioned previously. I'm posing because "jeonse" is neither buying a house nor renting a house. Okay, this may sound very confusing, but I hope the explanation below clear things up.

In South Korea, people living off of "jeonse" pay a lump-sum deposit that is about 40~60% of the house's market value. So, it's evident that you're not owning or buying a house if you live off of jeonse.

But the twist is that for paying such as huge sum of money BUT not owning a house, people living off of jeonse get to live in the house literally rent-free (as in 0 dollars for rent) for 2 years. Since you don't pay rent, I don't consider jeonse as renting a house.

I emphasize not owning a home and not renting a home because the housing information section of the CSS profile prompt me to choose one of the following:

1. Own home
2. Rent home
3. Live with others
4. Housing provided by employer

I guess "jeonse," a unique mode of payment for housing, does not apply to numbers 1 and 2 above. And, I'm not living with others. And, I'm not employed.

I'd appreciate your help on how to go about this.

P.S.: I emailed College Board about this but haven't hear back from them yet.
3 replies
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Replies to: CSS Profile Housing Information

  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 5150 replies23 threads Senior Member
    But the twist is that for paying such as huge sum of money BUT not owning a house, people living off of jeonse get to live in the house literally rent-free (as in 0 dollars for rent) for 2 years. Since you don't pay rent, I don't consider jeonse as renting a house.

    Wikipedia refers to jeonse as a lease, and says that after the two year period ends, the entire lump-sum deposit is returned to the lessee. This is clearly a rental situation, as the only legal right to the property that the lessee has is a lien against the property for the amount of the lump-sum deposit.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeonse#:~:text=Jeonse (Korean: 전세; Hanja,80% of the market value.
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  • Sam000Sam000 1 replies1 threads New Member
    edited October 29
    @BelknapPoint Thank you for the input. I think your point holds water. I have an additonal question, though, and I'm really hoping you (or anyone reading this thread) can answer.

    Considering jeonse as a rental situation, would it be appropriate to divide the amount of lump-sum deposit by 24 months to calculate the monthly rental payment? The lump-sum deposit is a one-time payment at the beginning of a contract with no additonal monthly payments thereafter, but the CSS Profile requires a monthly amount.

    An additional concern I have is that if I were to divide the lump-sum deposit by 24 months, the resulting monthly rent would be "quite high" (relative to typical monthly rent) since the lump-sum deposit is about 40~60% of the "house's market value." I'm afraid this could portray me as a rich kid who manages to pay excessive monthly rent when I'm not.

    Any thoughts? Please let me know if you need clarification.
    edited October 29
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 5150 replies23 threads Senior Member
    This is the type of situation that can/should be described in the "Explanations/Special Circumstances" section at the end of Profile.

    Since a jeonse lessor returns the full lump-sum deposit amount at the end of the two year period, the benefit the lessor receives over that two year period is the investment earnings on the deposit. Those earnings are comparable in practice to what a landlord would receive in a conventional rental situation. I suggest that using a commonly used current market rate in South Korea, you determine what the monthly earnings would be on the lump-sum deposit amount and use that as a monthly rental equivalent (and explain this on the Profile form). This is the amount that the lessee is giving up by letting the lessor use the lump-sum deposit for the 24 months. The lessor gets the benefit of the earnings, and the lessee gets the benefit of the housing.
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