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Your Accommodation in China

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A bump for this one, both to bring it to the attention of those who'll be arriving in China after the summer and are starting to think about accommodation, and anyone who has recently signed up or moved house and wants to add their info.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Just completed the move from Kunming to Guangxi Baise. Found a nice, newly

finished rental 10 minutes walk from the university. "Found" is the correct term,

as there are only three rental agents in this town of 350k. The finding essentially

requires walking into every building and asking if there are apartments available, as

well as asking taxi drivers and anyone you happen to run across. Interestingly, the

agents charge a 30-50 rmb fee for the phone number of each apartment's landlord.

They are not involved in viewing, nor in the contract arrangements, so there is no

one month rental fee.

Anyways, the details. Building completed last year, this apartment finished last week.

First floor, three bedroom, two bath (one with toilet and tub), large living room, decent

kitchen with space for fridge. 122 meters, unfurnished, rent is 1000/month with a

2000 rmb deposit. First floor, with bars on all windows, balcony, and sunroom.

Clean and quiet.....except for late afternoon noise from the basketball

court below my rear balcony. Five minute walk to the pool. Water and maintainance

fees paid for the rest of this year. This being fine Chinese engineering, the lovely

ceramic sinks drain yucky toothpaste water onto your feet, not far from the drainpipe.

The drop-in tub was, uh, dropped in sorta to the rear of the bathroom. Not sure how

I'll be able to clean behind it with all the exposed PVC piping tacked to the walls.

Moved most of my stuff from Kunming in what was surely an adventure in moving,

10km of the freeway closed led to a 40km detour over the mountains on muddy, rutted

roads, adding another three hours. Not much slower than the freeway, as the driver

never got over 60km/hour. (i can bike faster than that!) Apartment came with H2O

heater and kitchen exhaust. Brought my gas stove from Kunming, but need to switch

out the jets due to the lower altitude. Nice gentleman way over on the other side of town

(20 minute walk) is making me a pair of furr'ner sized sofas for 800 rmb.

Fees......30x pass to the cement pond runs 105, one year of unlimited 2M ADSL is 770.

Local shop carries satellite TV systems, 60cm dish starts at 550 (15 western stations,

including cartoon network!!!), up to 2800 for 200+ channels. Small tank of gas runs 49

with a 100 rmb deposit (no gas mains).






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  • 3 weeks later...

Location: Beijing. Wudaokou (right next to subway station)

Date: Sept 08 (rented through July 09)

Type of accomodation: Rented apartment

Description: Large 1 bedroom (separate, not studio), 90 m2, north facing unit. Building built 6 years ago and our apt recently renovated. 1 bathroom with enclosed shower (no wet floors! yay!), sink outside bathroom. *Brand new* appliances and furniture (we're the first tenants since the renovation; still has that "new apt" smell). Amazing views and beautiful floor to ceiling windows -- soundproof -- in bedroom alcove and window seat in living room. 24h security, 24h hot water.

Rent: 5500Y a month, paid 6 months up front. Property management fee included, electricity and gas extra. Internet 290Y paid quarterly. We definitely are paying on the expensive end for a 1 br, partly because of the recent renovation. But my boyfriend and I split the rent and it works out really well for the amazing location and amenities.

Found via: Local housing agent. Full House, in complex. LOVED our agent. Showed us lots of places in the complex (we had decided we wanted to live here) until we found one that was right for us. She never pressured us, as did other agents we looked around with, and was incredibly professional (that goes for the other staff at the location, we well). She has also helped us buy bikes, deal with the residence permits, taken us to ATMs, etc. since we don't speak Chinese. She is "our woman in Beijing" and I would recommend her company in a heartbeat. PM me if you want her details.

Lease: 11 months

Came with: King bed with comfy mattress, desk and office swivel chair, futon couch, leather day-bed couch, washing machine, brand new stove top and fridge, 31" TV, breakfast table and chairs, huge armoir (sp) and built-in shelving near door, including full length mirrors.

Landlord / Building management: Landlord speaks English and works for an American firm. No complaints (yet).

Notes: I simply love this apartment. Maybe even more than our last apt in NYC, which is saying a LOT because we had an amazing deal there and I never thought I'd find another place like it.

Edited by doki doki
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Built 2 years ago
Have they built new buildings there recently? The big pink Huaqing Jiayuan buildings have been around for at least 6 years, as they were already there back when I first lived in Wudaokou.
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Rent: 5500Y a month, paid 6 months up front.

That seems to be very expensive for a place in Beijing. Is it supposed to be a luxurious apartment at a prime location, or is it just that the rent in BJ has gone up a lot?

Nowadays, real estate agents seem to provide a lot of service. Mine arranged the connection of power and water for me, which I hadn't expected. And she charged me and the landlord each half a month's rent for the service, which was the standard in HK. How much did yours charge you?

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It's one of (probably the) most popular apartment complexes with foreign students in Beijing, which pushes prices up, plus this is a busy time of year (for that particular location at least). Location is between BLCU, Beida, Tsinghua, on the Wudaokou strip, which is where all the foreign students are.

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That seems to be very expensive for a place in Beijing. Is it supposed to be a luxurious apartment at a prime location, or is it just that the rent in BJ has gone up a lot?

Nowadays, real estate agents seem to provide a lot of service. Mine arranged the connection of power and water for me, which I hadn't expected. And she charged me and the landlord each half a month's rent for the service, which was the standard in HK. How much did yours charge you?

Yeah, we know it's expensive, even by the other places we looked at. But we did our homework and decided it was best for us, especially given the renovation. You can definitely get cheaper around the area, but for splitting this place between the two of us, we're happy with it (I'd never settle on this place if I was alone).

No charge for anything the agent did for us. She helped set up our internet, showed us grocery stores, and is even accepting some urgent signed mail for me in case I'm in class. She's awesome.

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  • 2 months later...

Type of accomodation: Rented apartment

Description: 70m2, newish building (four years or so), furnished. smallish kitchen, large lounge, two balconies, one bedroom, bathroom. Modern, decent quality stuff.

Rent: 4300Y a month, paid quarterly. 4500 was asked for.

Location: About halfway between Xizhimen and Beishida, Beijing. 10 minutes from subway. Maybe 15.

Found via: Agency. Can't remember the name, but wouldn't particularly recommend them anyway.

Lease: One year.

Came with: Pretty standard. Huge amount of storage space, which is amusing considering I don't actually own any things.

Landlord / Building management: Local Chinese couple.

Notes. I'm maybe 90% happy with this place rather than 100%, but it was looking like it was this one, or expand my search to other bits of Beijing, which I didn't really want to do. Coming back to Beijing I'd decided I'd try and find something in the apartment buildings I used to live in, as they're decent places and I like the area, or something nicely furnished and modern very close. However this turned out to be not so easy - walked into the management office to see if they knew of any places available, not a single one. Tried four agencies in the surrounding area and they came up with only one in that building. Saw I think four other apartments, all of which were cheaper, but suffered from random furnishings or bizarre layout, etc. Livable, but I wanted something . . coherent. Also, I'd discovered on returning to China that I'd miscalculated how much would be in my bank account and I had extra money to play with.

Basically I think I've ended up paying a bit more for a bit less, due to a combination of having absolutely no patience, a too narrow idea of where I wanted to live and a sense of having extra money in my pocket. Main problem with the place is that it's north facing and gets no direct sunlight. All the one bedroom places in that complex are the same (I think there are larger 90m2 ones that have a limited east / west aspect though) and two bedrooms are now up at 5500+, which was more than I wanted to pay even with my miscalculation windfall. It's also lacking a sofa, sporting instead two rather natty reclining armchairs. They're great fun, but you can only seat two people, nor can you easily yawn, stretch and put your arm round anyone's shoulders. I may buy / speak to the landlord about buying a sofa, although where the two hulking armchairs would go may be an issue. Internet also isn't working yet, but should be able to sort that out easy enough.

Some notes on the agency - fine for me, bit crappy for the landlord. She'd apparently made it clear when she gave them the details that she was willing to pay half a months rent as a fee, and no more. I'd made it clear when I went in to the agency that I wasn't paying anything and had that added to the slip they ask you to sign. They said that their cutoff point for renter pays / landlord pays was 3500Y a month, although I suspect if I'd walked in and said I wanted an apartment for 5000Y, here's 5000Y, find me one, they would have been happy enough. Landlord was also surprised to find she was paying heating and management fee, although at that point the agents were fairly good and just told her that's the way it is and she swallowed the extra cost. There was no 'can't we make him pay that' effort.

Anyway, despite both me and landlord having made that position clear there were repeated attempts to get both of us to pay more / anything. They didn't get anywhere and accepted the half months fee from the landlord, but (after saying she could get one) refused to give her an official receipt as they (claimed they) couldn't get one from head office, as they weren't authorized to give that level of discount. They promised her a receipt, which then turned out to not be a proper company receipt - as those are numbered and head office would want to know what it had been used for. So she ended up paying a couple of thousand yuan and getting a receipt on a piece of paper signed by one of the agents, without even the company's name on it. There was a fair bit of arguing about this, with one of the more senior agents (by a year or so, I'd guess, I don't think I saw anyone over 23 during the whole process) pleading clemency on the basis that the 50% discount shouldn't really have been given, they'd lose their jobs if head office found out, etc. At this point I was almost willing the landlord to tell them to take a hike and we could have just dealt with each other and let the agency sue us or send the boys with baseball bats round (to the landlords house, preferably). Basically the office did an under-the-table deal cutting out the head office. Didn't make any difference to me, but I was not impressed by their professionalism.

Having dealt with about four agencies, I can't say I was impressed in general. The agents are likely to have not even visited the place, they don't have photos, and they don't have any real info on the places beyond size, number of rooms and location. "What kind of furnishings does it have?" - "It's furnished", etc. Also ignore website listings - 我爱我家 listed a number of suitable apartments but when you turn up in the shop they just don't exist. There's also an issue with landlords / agents presenting places as 一室一厅, but when you turn up it's a studio and your 室 and your 厅 are the same place. That said, there do seem to be larger studios around now - 50m2, maybe more, where the kitchen is enclosed rather than next to your bed. They might be more livable.

It also seems damned near impossible to find places directly from the landlord, unless you walk into complexes and ask at the management offices / gate, which didn't work in this case. Websites are swamped with agency listings and not all of them let you filter by 中介、个人, those that do have few private listings and even those could be suspect. Wuwoo.com used to be good, but has a new website which I found virtually unusable.

Think that's all. Will try to get some photos, but my camera phone isn't great.

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I'd miscalculated how much would be in my bank account and I had extra money to play with.

That's nice. :)

I'd made it clear when I went in to the agency that I wasn't paying anything and had that added to the slip they ask you to sign.

I would try this next time I look for an apartment but I guess it probably wouldn't work in HK.

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So you're back in Beijing now? Congrats :clap

The negotiation stuff sounds terrible. I can't help thinking that I'd get brutally ripped off at every corner just because I don't have the patience to argue like that.

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Oh, I'm sure I do too. I'm fine negotiating for something I don't want (Ok, so 35.34 yuan? You sure? Ah, changed my mind, bye) but when I actually would like to have something I'm rubbish at it. It's not so much the negotiating I'm bad at, it's the possibility of having to walk away and doing the whole product finding process again that makes me give in early.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I moved into my apartment today and it took me about 6 hours to clean up everything and to unpack my stuff. i am so tired but nevertheless I took some photos to help others

It's 73m2 and has a bedroom, a kitchen, a living room, a bathroom and two balconies. It is fully furnished and everything is brand new cuz I am the first tenant who lives here. It's Located in Zhangjiang High-Tech Park in Shanghai and is around expensive expat apartments. The original rental was 3300rmb but I negotiated it down to 3000rmb and the deposit is 3000rmb. I found it via real estate agency Actually I had seen many apartments with another agency and I wasn't satisfied, this time I went to 21 century and this was the first apartment the showed me.The broker was quite surprised to see me taking the first one.

A useful tip for beginners in negotiation like myself, you can say "if you give it to me for xxxxrmb I will take it today."








Edited by rezaf
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  • 3 months later...

I live in JingAn district (about 2km north of JingAn subway station). I pay RMB2500/month for a 35m2 studio apartment furnished with a stove, small washing machine, TV, fridge, microwave, bed, wardrobe.

Rent per m2 = RMB71.4/month

In my opinion, my rent is a lil high (considering it is quite a walk to the nearest subway station, I work a 9-5:30 job & don't use half the stuff they furnished).

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