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icebear

Resources and Advice for Apartment Hunting in Beijing

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icebear

Resources (Links) [see General Advice in post #2]

Listings

安居客 [CHINESE]

我爱我家 [CHINESE]

赶集 [Chinese]

58.com [CHINESE]

HOZE (CBD focused, higher end, search by complex/map)

The Beijinger

City Weekend

Maps

Google Maps

Baidu Ditu

Public Transit Information

北京公共交通集团 (bus routes by location and destination)

ExploreBeijing (interactive metro map)

Forum Posts

Your Accommodation in China

Edited by icebear
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icebear

I move back to Beijing in July and have started casually browsing listings to get a better idea of what to expect (and fantasize about the move!). I certainly don't expect to find anything worthwhile this early or from this distance, but I thought it might be helpful to gather resources and advice in a single thread, given that my searches on this forum have shown a lot of information, some very dated, and all scattered about various posts. The primary value will be in links that consistently are provided to new forum members (see first post), as well as some general advice (second post). Discussion and suggestions concerning these points in the rest of the thread would be great, and I'll try to update those first two posts periodically to reflect any major changes in the market or consensus opinions from forum members.

I'd also like to solicit advice on one type of website I haven't found yet - one which lists the 小区 in Beijing in a way that is easy to associate with an area of town (i.e. a adress, nearby public transportation stop, intersection, etc). I'm trying to get an idea of the places I should be going in person once in Beijing (and prices I should expect by area) that are within a reasonable walking distance from where I'll be working. The obvious solution is to just wait until I'm there and wander around myself; until then, I was hoping (expecting) there is some website that makes gathering this information easy (which I can then use in the search field on the real estate websites). Perhaps Baidu Ditu does - it also is loading incredibly slowly for me tonight so I can't confirm this yet (but Google Maps definitely doesn't).

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Ludens

As I'm in the same situation, I can add http://bj.58.com/zufang/ to the links section.

When browsing these ads, I often find it hard to be sure if they are advertising a room in a shared apartment, or a complete apartment/studio. This is probably due to my Chinese skills, but any pointers on this would be welcome.

Another question: does anybody have experience with finding an apartment through these kind of websites? Any tips on what to look for in ads?

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icebear

Ludens, thanks for that link. A nice feature of 58.com that I just noticed is they allow you to search according to nearest bus/subway station (i.e. select a line and then a stop); while not exactly what I was looking for above, it helps a lot since I think most foreigners in Beijing are more familiar with the nearest public transport than all the names of the various 小区 and 胡同.

Regarding shared apartments versus renting the entire one, at least on AnJuKe there is a data field called 租赁方式 (rental method) which has either 整租 (entire-renting) or 合租 (co-renting).

Similarly on 58.com there is an option below the neighborhoods and prices that is 方式 (method) where you can select 整套出租 (full rent), 单间出租 (single room rental) or 床位 (single bed - i.e. multiple beds per room). I haven't browsed 58.com as heavily so I'm not completely certain about the later two, but the first should get you entire apartment listings.

My past apartment hunts have been through friends or The Beijinger; TBJ will get the job done but you definitely are just seeing a subset of what is available, and in general paying a slight premium for English listings (I think). In my 2nd hand experience, friends with the best accommodation (conditions and prices) tend to have used Chinese listings, or gone directly to a desired neighborhood and inquired with local agents or landlords. If that's out of one's grasp (Chinese wise) they probably are better off asking a Chinese friend to help or sticking with expat listings.

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Ludens

Thanks Icebear for the reply. I did notice the 整套 and 整租 filters, but when using them in combination with a price range filter of 500-1000元 on inner-city districts there are still so many results that it makes me wonder how reliable this data is. If there are so many cheap apartments in that price range, why would people go for 3000块 apartments?

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roddy

Good work, Icebear

If you want to provide some links to stuff you're seeing that looks suspiciously good, someone can probably tell you what the catch is. But with all property websites, you need to be aware that the listings are often dubious - it's all agencies flooding the sites in the hope of getting people in the door, at which point they'll start worrying about what apartments they actually have available. Even the ones listed in the agency windows are often theoretical - I once asked about one suitable looking place and the agent told me it was gone. I asked him if he shouldn't take the notice down from the window. He said he would later. I looked pointedly at him. He took it down and put it, very carefully, unfolded, on top of the bin.

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icebear
I did notice the 整套 and 整租 filters, but when using them in combination with a price range filter of 500-1000元 on inner-city districts there are still so many results that it makes me wonder how reliable this data is. If there are so many cheap apartments in that price range, why would people go for 3000块 apartments?

All of the sub 1000 ones I'm seeing in the area of Chaoyang I'm interested in are either basement (地下) units or around 10-15 m2... in which case the price differential is probably fair. Provide a few links and maybe we can make some sense of them. As roddy said, they all need to be read with a grain of salt - plenty of the midrange prices show extremely luxurious apartments, which I just dismiss as bait.

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icebear

Added 1 new link in the first post, and the corresponding advice in the second. If anyone has advice specific to certain parts of the city I will edit in there as well.

Those interested in mid- to high-scale apartments in the CBD might find the following strategy helpful: using theHOZE map of complexes in the CBD determine a few which are close to your desired location (i.e. near work). Find the Chinese counterpart on this page. Then use that search term in one of the Chinese listing sites and you'll see the rents drop. (E.g. searching Anjuke for 泰悦豪庭 instead of HOZE for Taiyue Heights yields similar size/quality 1 bedrooms for around 5500-6000 instead of 8000).

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icebear

Added the 赶集 link and revised the text about agents to reflect the what I've noticed at most web listings as follows:

Many ads placed online are typically by agents. They can be helpful in reducing the amount of leg work you have to do, but typically will have a fee equal to one month, paid by either the tenant or landlord, and sometimes negotiable. You should clarify this when responding to online ads; if you're trying to search online you'll find that a large number of postings at the above websites are actually posts from agencies such as 我爱我家 or 21世纪 - which may be an indication that you might be better off just going directly to the area desired and inquiring at those offices rather than muddling through all their webpages.

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icebear

Regarding agencies - is anyone aware of the current standard fee for using an agent? I've seen some posts that said if you pay more than 3000 RMB per month the fee is generally waived (or born entirely by the landlord), and even had the impression this might be the law. Any truth to that? What about for lower value leases? I'd like to add this information above but as I've not dealt with agents before was hoping someone could back this up.

I'm not a huge fan of agencies anywhere but it seems the overwhelming majority of online posts are actually by agents, and breaking the 3000 threshold isn't too hard if one is looking for a decent place within the 3rd ring. If that's the case they take a lot of the leg work out for essentially no fee to the tenant...

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roddy

Personally I wouldn't bother using online ads as anything other than a general indication of what sort of apartment might be available in any given area, and responding to an ad and expecting to see that particular apartment is likely a waste of time.

What can be useful is the apartment complex pages on the portals and property sites - eg, here's the page for a place all BNU students will know, Kingdom Gardens. The 户型图 show you the layouts and with a bit of work you can figure out which ones face in which direction, etc. (although they seem to be missing some,as I know KG has one bedroom places not shown there).

Pinned this topic.

Edit: on agency fees. Not sure if there are actual rules, doubt they're applied anyway. The trouble is that the agencies get massive pushback from the landlords on this. Second last place I rented both myself and the landlord had said right from the start to the agency that we weren't paying any fees - the landlord ended up paying quite a reduced sum, with the agency keeping it off the books and not handing over any receipt.

One thing to note on fees - I've said this before, but never mind: If you think you might rent a place for more than a year, it may make more sense to pay the fee and keep the rent low. You only pay the fee once, increased rent will continue for the period of the tenancy.

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Bogo

@ roddy,

o,o So, the one pay the agent fees is you or the landlord?

I am just curious because i heard from few agencies that they still taking agent fees which is the same with the room price, in the case of finding single room. I am not sure for 1 unit apartment.

Do u guys have any recommendation for good agency in wudaokou ?

Tks.

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icebear

@Bogo

Your best bet is probably wandering around your target neighborhood and asking agents in that area. Generally seems to be that case that agency fees are between one month and zero, depending on persistent/agressive you are in your negotiations. Do keep in mind that someone will pay that fee if you are using a agent's services, and if it isn't you it may be the case that the landlord just distributes that fee into your monthly rent.

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Ludens

I was just browsing through some listings, and wanted to share this link for two reasons. First, an apartment like the one on the photos on that location for that price isn't going to happen, right? Or am I missing something? There are lot's of similar ads like this one. Second, I really like the last picture. http://bj.58.com/zuf...58314759x.shtml

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Manoz

First of all, thanks very much for the info in this thread - very helpful!

I'm looking at renting a room in Chaoyang from the beginning of August and have been browsing online to see what kind of options are

available.

I keep coming across ads like this: http://bj.ganji.com/fang3/tuiguang-2527604.htm and am wondering whether or not they are trustworthy/realistic? I don't have any

experience of renting in Beijing, and don't really have much time to find somewhere once I've arrived, so any advice would be appreciated!

Many thanks.

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icebear

@manoz that ad is to sublet a 13m2 room out of the four available.

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Manoz

I noticed I put 'apartment' instead of 'room' in my post! I am in fact looking to sublet a room, sharing with others.

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icebear

In that case I think the ad is believable. Sublet rates should be around 1500-3000 depending on quality and location. That one isn't particularly central so on the more affordable side.

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