Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
Brought-Cutlery, wine glasses and bedding. Left - Leather jacket, old family photos (just bring copies) and dried foodstuff
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
Through an agent and talking to friends
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
Large 4 bedroom house and yes.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Similar to UK. Land is expensive and housing can be too. You can find more local style housing for $500-700 a month, but really you need to think about paying around $1000-1200 for something decent. The Embassy type housing goes for $1800-3500 and most good quality apartments will be $2500-3500. The most expensive place I have heard of is around $10,000 a month!
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Hanoi is very small and there are only a few areas where most expats live. You can live in town, but then the noise can be a factor. Most kindergartens and schools are out of the centre. There are a few real estate companies and they generally have very good networks. I would recommend picking two or three and just spending time driving around to see what is on offer. You should never tell them your real budget and ask around to see what others are paying. You will probably change houses at some time during your stay and will know better the second time!