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stephaniepainter3

Wudaokou Apartment Hunting

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stephaniepainter3

I am thinking about going through Peakinglettings.com to find an apartment in Wudaokuo. Has anyone used them before? And has anyone lived in the Huaqingjiayuan apartment complex? I am going to be going to Tsinghua and want a close apartment.

In addition, had anyone ever used Beijingbuddy.com? They offer assistance finding apartment, pick ups from the airport ect.?

:rolleyes:

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theidealist

I'm also looking at those sites too. After reading about molds, paper thin walls, limited space, and thefts at Tsinghua dorms, I'm thinking whether it would be better to live off-campus. If only I knew two/three other people interested in sharing a 3-bedroom/4-bedroom apartment, I could live in a much better and more convenient place at the cost of living at Tsinghua int'l dorm.

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roddy

“After reading about molds, paper thin walls, limited space, and thefts at Tsinghua dorms, ”

Where did you read it, which dorms, and when was it?

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imron

Generally speaking, living off campus will provide you with either cheaper and/or better accommodation, and living on campus will provide more of a social atmosphere and shorter walks to class at 8.00am in the morning :mrgreen:

Also, I wouldn't consider using anywhere to find/book and apartment before you've actually arrived in China and can inspect the place personally before making your decision.

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theidealist

I've read unpleasant posts about Tsinghua dorms here and here. Today, I spoke to my friend who did the language program a few years ago. He confirmed my worst suspicions and said that his dorm did have some issue with mold. He didn't have an allergic reaction to the mold, so he learned to deal with it for a few months.

There's no question that there are many benefits to living on-campus, and I'm willing to accept that the dorms won't be as clean and spacious as what I'm used to. However, I'm gravely concerned about the health ramifications of constantly exposing myself to mold, which include chronic fatigue, brain damage, respiratory problems, sore throat, and asthma. After contemplating whether to live on-campus today, I decided to try living on-campus first and leave if the living conditions become unbearable. Btw, does anyone know if you can get the deposit and some of the rent back if you decide to live off-campus later on? The admission packet said when I check in, I need to pay the dorm rent for the whole term to January 31, 2012 and the deposit.

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roddy

Fair enough, that does sound rubbish.

Would agree with Imron that you don't want to commit to anything until you get here. This is a few years old, but still solid advice.

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theidealist

Thanks for the link. It's super useful. :mrgreen: I'm definitely planning on looking at apartments in-person if my dorm thing doesn't work out.

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roddy

To be honest, if you're looking to share rather than find somewhere yourself, there's a lot to be said for waiting a while - anything from a week to a couple of months. People will find apartments and want roommates, people will not get on and move out, people will not like Beijing and go home - there will be rooms available, and you can avoid a lot of the hassle.

As for airport pickup services - I really can't see it's necessary, Beijing airport is modern and easy to get around, both taxis and buses are easy to find. Just make sure you find the actual taxi queue.

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stephaniepainter3

Yeah I am going to wait till I am in Beijing to rent an apartment, I was just trying to find some good agents to get in contact with before I go. Thank for all the advice though. I am currently talking with the people at beijingbuddy about an apartment, which is probably the only thing I will use them for. I will let you know what I think about the service later.

:P

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bunny87

regarding the mold issues, I saw it grow in at least 3 different dorms.. either buildings 20 and 21 or 21 and 22. I'm so upset I can't remember which one I lived in. It was the two that had the restaurant in the middle. This was the summertime of 2009. Oh, and the shower head exploding in my dorm and 2 others. And my friend had the tiles fall out of the roof and walls in the bathroom (we all had singles.) Of all the problems, THAT ONE took the cake. thankfully, it didn't hit the girl on the way down.

the health ramifications of constantly exposing myself to mold, which include chronic fatigue, brain damage, respiratory problems, sore throat, and asthma

i knew mold was bad, but ... i didn't realize it was that bad. time to go research mold....

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Freek

Did you check out those saimple pictures on bejingbuddy.com?

Do i see a 3bd space for only 9000 yuan with aye SWIMMING POOL?

~ All i know is that the appartments with students ive been to so far were crappy and expensive.

This seems the exact opposite.

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imron
All i know is that the appartments with students ive been to so far were crappy and expensive.

I would consider RMB 9,000 expensive.

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Brandon-Learn Chinese

Hi,

I just finished my classes at Tsinghua University doing a Masters Degree in IR. I currently live next to the Wudaokou Subway which is the main subway station for Tsinghua and BLCU universities. If you are looking at Huaqing expect to pay about 2500 rmb per month for a shabby small apartment. This would be comparable to paying New York Prices for a small home in Montana. Its too expensive but its supply and demand in this area. I lived right next to Huaqing in DongShen Yuan. Its the same area, but the houses are much bigger and the rent is cheaper. Adds about 1-2 minutes to your walk. Its a great place but also packed. My landlord has a couple places in this area and I suggest you find the landlord. If you go through an agency expect to pay 1 month deposit, plus 3 months up front, plus 1 month agency fee. It gets expensive. Most places you will have to pay 3 months upfront. I really do not recommend the Tsinghua dorms if you have ever lived on your own. They are small, have so many little rules (for example, hot water from 6-8am, and 8-10pm) and many others. They are also more expensive but... you are with all students and the community is good. However living in Dongshenyuan and Huaqing at Wudaokou put you right near all the bars and night life. I live a few stories above Helens cafe which is a very popular bar in Wudaokou, so there are benefits.

I would check out the www.thebeijinger.com and www.cityweekend.cn. These are the two more popular sites among expats and students in Beijing. They also serve as a gate way to most things in China not only those cities. I have lived in Beijing over 2 years and speak Chinese. If you need any help feel free to ask, and I will do what I can.

Sincerely,

Brandon

Director of Marketing, Nice Education

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XiaoXi

If you want to get a good price on an apartment then don't look at English language sites! You can be sure they're bumping up the price for apartments listed on those types of sites since its obvious only foreigners will be enquiring through there. Try these sites instead:

http://beijing.anjuke.com/rental/

http://bj.ganji.com/fang1/

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simenjw

Hi

New to the forum, arriving in Beijing for my IR Master at Tsinghua in 1,5 week.

Any idea on how long it takes to get a flat/room? And any recommendations on what to look for when getting a studio flat or room in the price range 3500-4500?

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Lu

It took me exactly a week from getting of the plane to my first night in my own apartment. There is a lot to rent and the city is teeming with agents. It helps if you speak Chinese though, or have someone who speaks it who can help you with the searching. There has been a thread on this recently I think.

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Cat Jones

Hi all,

I've just found an apartment after being in Beijing for just over a week so sharing my thoughts!

First tip is not to rely on the internet. I don't think I saw a single apartment that was advertised online! Quite often what you will see in reality is very different to the lovely images online. Best way is to go into an agency in person and explain to the agent what you require.

Now I don't speak ANY Chinese but we managed to work with an agency just using the Baidu translate or Google translate. You type in what you want in English and it will translate for the agent. If you have a decent mobile you can access Google translate on your phone for when you are on the move.

We also made use of Beijing Buddy http://www.beijingbuddy.com/ on day 2 - they send a volunteer (usually a student) who can translate on your behalf. I think they tend to use a limited number of agencies (they only took us to one) so what you see with them might be limited. I guess they might go to a different agency of your choice if you ask. It's useful to have a Chinese speaker to help with issues with the contract. They also help with things like mobiles and bank accounts, but we found that was easy enough.

In the end we found our apartment through a private landlord almost by accident. We visited a new apartment block only to find out they were only selling them, but the manager there had details of someone who had bought one who was moving to London for a year so needed to rent hers out.

I've posted a separate post on the police tax - it should be paid by the landlord not by the tenant, but not sure how you get out of that one if the landlord decides to pass it down to you. It's meant to be 5% of the rent I think, so make sure to budget extra for this.

Be prepared to hand over a LOAD of cash too. You will be asked to pay a deposit (a month's rent) and usually up to 6 months rent in advance. You may also be asked to pay an agency fee too if you use an agent. I was under the impression that if you took out a 12 month contract the landlord paid the fee, but if it was less than 12 months the tenant paid the fee. But in all the apartments we saw, we were expected to pay some, if not all of the fee. There's always room for negotiation though - you may find the rent comes down, or the agency fee is lowered if it looks as though you might walk away.

You usually have to pay in cash so be aware that there's usually a RMB2500 limit on how much you can take out of the bank each day, so you may want to consider taking travellers cheques with you to change. But there's also a RMB 20,000 limit you can change each day.

Standards of apartments and prices vary a LOT, so be prepared to visit as many as you can before you make a decision.

Good luck!

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roddy
You will be asked to pay a deposit (a month's rent) and usually up to 6 months rent in advance. You may also be asked to pay an agency fee too if you use an agent. I was under the impression that if you took out a 12 month contract the landlord paid the fee, but if it was less than 12 months the tenant paid the fee.

Quarterly rent is much more normal. At this time of year, in Wudaokou, both landlords and agents will have dollar signs in their eyes. There's a constant tug of war over who pays agency fees - renter says landlord, landlord says renter, agencies will have you both pay if they think they can get away with it.

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Elwin

If you're looking for a room;

We have 1 room available for 2600rmb, it's the biggest room of the three. Me and another nice Dutch guy both will study at BLCU for a year (or more), met today and found this nice 100sq m. apartment, straight north of BLCU, only 5 minutes walk. The high building is called 矿大西一楼。

The apartment is on the 2nd floor (in China that means the floor above the ground floor) has just been partly renovated, has a renovated bathroom, a kitchen and a nice living room. The room itself has a balcony.

The heating is included in the price, internet and electricity for the house will cost around 200 yuan per month. You'll have to pay 3 months ahead, a deposit of 2600 yuan and a one-month fee to the agent.

The contract will be signed on 26th so please contact me asap by messaging me here. The landlord lives in the same building so I can contact her to have a look straight away. Good luck

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aspi

To be more specific with bank withdraws, If I understood correctly you can withdraw 2500 at a time, but per day it is 20,000. This is what I understood from the postal savings ATM machine. But be aware that every time you take that 2500 they will charge you a fee that is bank specific. For me it was 2,5euros+2,5% of the withdraw.

Now to the hunt... We thought it does not hurt to try Beijingbuddy.com, even thought they only use one agency, because it is free so few phone calls and we had our selves a translator and an agent to show us some apartments. We started with few places just next to our university BFSU. One of them was pretty nice but I was bothered by the fact that there was not really anything near by. They showed us few more from the same building but nothing really caught our eye.

And to my first observation and something that you should bear in mind when seeing apartments.

1. If you have seen 1 bedroom apartment in one building, you have seen all the other available ones in the same building. All the 1br apartments are identical to each other, it might be a mirror image but the layout is the same. I am not sure but I think this applies to all other bedroom possibilities also. If you do not like the layout, do not waste time seeing other similar ones since there is a lot more to see.

We told them we wanted to see more apartments and told more details about our requirements which then lead us to near Renmin University. Distance was still ok since more than 10 buses goes from there straight to our university which is 20mins by foot. Subway also goes straight from our front door to the backyard of our university. They showed us apartments from few serviced apartment buildings which we first thought to be offices or hotels. Things started to get more interesting because we really liked the hotel feeling and apartments were nice also. After few too big and expensive places we came to this door where there was vegetables front of the door and loud chatter coming from the apartment. It felt a bit weird to go into someone else's home and I first thought no way we are going to take this one, what a waste of time to even go in, but after we saw the place, it was just perfect. Everything we were searching for. We had seen 6 other places and buildings started to ran out near by so after a good lunch and thinking we decided to go for it.

We thought the hardest part was over but my god! After we met our landlord there was suddenly huge competition over our place, at least that is what they told us. We did not really believe that but went along. Landlord and our agent and translator had long conversations about something and we just stood there and tried to figure out what is going on. Before we met our landlord we were supposed to pay 3 months in advance, but then it became 4, then 6, then 12 months. We told them we are only staying for 10 months but they still expected us to pay 12 months. I think there was misunderstandings from every side but it seemed complicated. Then they offered us a deal that we pay that 12 months and then we get that 2 months back after we have left IF they get another tenant right after us. Things started to get really weird and I got so tired to being bounced back and forth so I firmly stated our requirements and what conditions we were ready to meet and if they can not accept those, we will kill the deal. Tadaa! We got our selves a deal.

Observation number

2. Money, money, money is all they can think now. They will try anything to get the best possible deal for them and not for you. So do not just go along and agree to everything they try on you. Even thought there is huge demand on these kind of apartments, they won't refuse a good deal if it comes right to them.

After we all agreed, off we went to this bunker under our building. Weird weird weird. There we signed the papers and on Monday we can move to our place.

Final result

Apartment: 74m2, 1br, 13th floor, 24h security. Location: Between Peking and Renmin University.

We ended up paying 10 months in advance. They told us that this apartment has not been empty more than 4 days for over 2 years, and we can believe that based on the location and apartment itself. So we had to pay full rent in advance to have a shot for it.

Rent is 6000 yuan per month which is divided by 2 in our case. I know it is in the expensive end but location, location, location. And I am not sure where rents are these days compared to few years back, at least price per m2 has doubled in 2 years so I think we had ourselves an OK deal.

We are not paying that 5% tax, landlord said he will take care of that, he also paid the agency fee. Everybody was happy in the end and I can not wait for us to get to our new place.

If you see here something we should not have done, please do not try to make me feel bad :D I am happy with our choice.

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