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icebear

Resources and Advice for Apartment Hunting in Beijing

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jirbau

I will be studying in Peking University this September 2012 and I have been looking for an apartment near Peking University (preferably around 5-10 minutes walk) and around the price range of 2000-3500. However most of the apartments just give the general area of WuDaoKou so I have no idea if it is actually near the university.

I am open to having female flatmates but most of the apartments I called can't assure me that I will have a female flatmate.

I found this one ad that is pretty affordable but I am not sure if it can be trusted or if the area is near the school.

http://pekinglettings.com/listing-huaqingjiayuan-single-room-30-sqm-rmb-2%2C200-104.html

Can someone give me some advice on this?

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jirbau

@icebear thanks! will try to contact that agent for the apartment. do they usually hold apartments for reserve since I will not go to Beijing until the end of August for my classes?

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abcdefg
do they usually hold apartments for reserve since I will not go to Beijing until the end of August for my classes?

No. It would be highly unusual for them to hold it for you until then. The landlord would be losing a month and a half of rent.

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jenniwiton80

Hey, I want to get an affordable apartment in moderate prices grand valley apartments. If someone here is living or lived there. How much rent I should expect for 1bhk apartment in there. my budget is around 600-800$.

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amitairawati

Hi everyone.. I've been looking for apartments around wudaokou area and found few good deals through pekinglettings.com. I was able to contact the agent through email and they told me with budget of RMB2500-3000, I can only get shared apartments on that area.

I was wondering if anyone here have experiences of using shared apartments? Are we able to meet the roommates before deciding? Thank you!

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icebear

I thought I'd post an update on my search, which may be helpful for others in the near future (although obviously the market changes quickly here!).

I last lived in Beijing a few years ago, and at that time rents were pretty reasonable. In the CBD it was possible to get a decent (not amazing) 1 bedroom for 2,000-4,000, and anything at the top of that range or slightly higher would have been pretty nice so long as it was a renovated old building as opposed to a glitzy new one. Those going for shared accommodation generally paid the same (3-4k per person) for something amazing.

Times have certainly changed on the living-alone side. In the CBD (say, the square between Dongzhimen and Guomao) one is hard pressed to find a decent one-bedroom for under 4,000, and most under 5,000 are pretty abysmal. If you are interested in quality at a international level, you're probably only getting a studio at around 4-5k.

Upon venting a bit with my colleagues about my frustrating search I was informed that the rental market has really gone downhill (from a renter's perspective) and that most commonly people go for shared accommodation. A mediocre two bedroom also goes for around 4-6k, which means you might want to just look for those if intent on living on your own and change the spare bedroom into a study and invest a bit of your time in improving it. Decent sublet rooms generally go for 2-3k, depending on the length of tenancy, and if you're willing to go into the 3-6k per room range you'll get a very nice quality apartment/location.

In this area of town it seems there is a split in the market, with many apartments catering to the price-sensitive and many catering to the quality-sensitive, but not much in the middle. Heads up for anyone coming in: have low expectations until you've had a full day of seeing dismal-affordable and pricey-luxury. (Although, to be fair, the market is good compared to most other global cities, at least from a variety perspective, so long as you have something close to an internationally competitive salary.)

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dannyk1

This message is mainly usefull for Tsinghua and BLCU students.

I have studied at Tsinghua for 1 semester, and i will continue for 1 or 2 more semesters, I live in "Hua Qing Jia Yuan" i think its the best location to be at when you are a Tsinghua or BLCU student but also still good for Beijing Uni students.

I have found this through pekinglettings, but the downside is that they normaly ask for an agency fee (very rarely the houseowner pays it), but pekinglettings actually do provide good service and help, also during the semester whenever you have problems with your apartment or bank of whatever.

A lot of internet adverts are misleading by using other apartments photo's especially on the beijinger (if things look too good to be true it probably isnt real). Wudaokou has relatively high rent prices for chinese standards, but that is because all the universities and foreign students are here.

3 bedroom apartments (complete apartment) in Wudaokou are normally 7.500-10.000, depending on location and quality. you can find this kind of apartment when you are with friends/classmates or you can meet new people when the agent is showing you the rooms, if its just 1 room which is available its hard to meet the other roommates before making your decision, but by seeing the apartment you often can get and idea what kind of persons live there.

shared apartments (1 room) without living room 2.000-2.7500

studio (1/2 persons) 4.250-6.500

Also if you come just before the semester starts, the agents are pretty busy and you will have to decide fast if you want an apartment that you just saw, things can be gone within a few hours.

For tsinghua language students its good to know that your teaching building is in C-building, north of the campus so you can consider living north of wudaokou station, east of the subway line, around LiuDaoKou, golden tower shopping mall.

Tsinghua exchange/business building is more south so, around wudaokou station would be better. Anyway living close to the station has a lot of benefits since all the bars, restaurants and shoppings are there.

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flamingo

Hi guys. I'm a university student. I will be doing an internship in august for one month in beijing. i need a place to stay only for one month. so renting a house is not a good option for me. do you have any idea where i can find a cheap and temporary place to stay?

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roddy

Best thing to do is to start a new topic (this one is not about temporary accommodation) specifying which part of Beijing you'll be in (you do NOT want to be commuting across the city) and what your budget is - cheap means different things to different people.

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cultureyard

Hi all,

What helped me many times in my search for a room or an apartment is to go to the area I am interested in, find the building complex I'd like to live in and then search the nearest surrounding area for the real-estate agencies. Most agencies from my experience focus on their immediate area and would know if there is anything for rent in the compound, even including shared rooms (but mostly sharing with local Chinese). Language-wise - a real-estate agency is called a 中介公司 (zhongjiegongsi or simply "zhongjie") - so ask anyone in the area to point you in the right direction.

Another helpful too is Facebook, there are quite a few facebook groups dedicated to expat living in Beijing (expats in beijing, beijing, thebeijinger etc.) where I've seen people posting about apartments without an agent, and there is also the Beijing forum on councshurfing (useful mostly for students).

Hope it helps,

Ilya

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zhouhaochen

I am looking to move and have spent quite a bit of time checking out apartments in Chaoyang. As an indication, according to my experience:

 

Currently rent for long-term accommodation (at least one year rental contract, one month deposit, pay every three months 付三压一 which is the standard rent payment method in Beijing) in Chaoyang for a resonably central (CBD, Sanlitun, Dongzhimen, Lufthansa, Lido) furnished in an ok (not amazing) development with ok (not amazing) furniture and generally working fittings (a few minor disasters to be expected, the quality of construction in Beijing is horrible, wherever you live) is about 4000 - 7000CNY/month for a studio, 5000 - 9000 for a one bed room and  7000 - 12000 for a two bedroom apartment.

 

Including the management fee, but not electricity, water, gas and internet.

 

I have expat friends with company budgets who spend way more than that and student friends who manage to spend less, but that were the apartments I considered livable (being in my mid thirties, having worked for 10 years in my life so far and not on a student budget anymore, but not on some outrageous expat rental allowance contract).

 

For anyone who was in Beijing previously, basically rentcosts three times as much as it did 10 years ago, when I first moved to Beijing and in another 10 years it will probably be another three times more expensive. Let's not even talk about the prices to buy property of course.....

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DavyJonesLocker

Might be helpful

 

I just rented a new appartment in Beijing. I have been here for years

 

To update people, I think the best way is to 

- find an area you like,  

- find a building you like 

- go to the nearest 中介 and ask about that buildings 

- Don't get pressurized in taking a place if you don't like it. New appartments will come up regularly

- The standard is quarterly payments but 6months payments will get you more favourable treatment. No need to pay a year upfront no matter what they insist. The chinese won't pay it.

 

Using apps like 房天下, 安居客 and 链家 are hit and miss. Many pictures are false, price is false. You really need to cycle around and ask yourself: do I want to live here?

 

I found lianjia not bad actually and didn't get the laowai price. They were honest and helpful

 

Don't be afraid to venture out past the 4th ring road, prices drop considerably and you will rarely see a foreigner so good practice for chinese. 

 

As a rough guide, within the 3rd Ring road, landlord pays the agency fee (but not all the time), outside you pay 

 

 

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zhouhaochen

Very good information @DavyJonesLocker

Just my two cents, I always found that landlords always have to pay one month commission to the agent and agents charge another month of commission to the tenant if the monthly rent is not very high (meaning that one month from the landlord isnt worth much).

It is usually possible to argue and bargain about your (tenants) month of commission payment, as they will get the month of commission still from the landlord if you take the place.

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DavyJonesLocker

Yes, I am a little unsure about this. I have always rented within the 3rd ring road (双井, 国贸) and never paid the months agency fee. It was paid by the landlord. 

 

This time I paid as I rented near the fifth ring road.  Talking to friends and colleagues  they suggest that I would be expected to pay given its lower. 

 

As for bargaining, yes I heard that especially if the add is with several different agents. I should have really!

 

Oh and one point I forgot to mention. You are correct on prices. Beijing is become crazily high (by Chinese standards) and increasing every year. Even out in 苹果园,it's 6500 for a pokey one bed (new build). 

 

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zhouhaochen

Yes, gone crazy - and its still cheaper than Shanghai.

And even though the prices have gone up, the construction quality remains horrible. We just had a teacher who's water pipes exploded last night and had her whole apartment soaked through. Not a good way to start the day...

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abcdefg
1 hour ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

Oh and one point I forgot to mention. You are correct on prices. Beijing is become crazily high (by Chinese standards) and increasing every year. Even out in 苹果园,it's 6500 for a pokey one bed (new build). 

 

Yet another reason I feel lucky to live in Kunming. Last year my landlord raised my rent from CNY 1,800 a month to CNY 2,000. Sunny apartment, decently furnished (家具,加点), convenient (older) neighborhood. About 70 平方米。My Chinese friends wailed, moaned and rolled their eyes about how I was being ripped off. But I didn't agree, based on broader experience in other locations.

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zhouhaochen

2000 CNY for 70sm (even though they cheat on these in China usually and calculate all kinds of stuff in there that you cant actually use) is amazing. It has been a long time since that was possible here. Enjoy the sunshine down there.

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DavyJonesLocker
38 minutes ago, abcdefg said:

 

Yet another reason I feel lucky to live in Kunming. Last year my landlord raised my rent from CNY 1,800 a month to CNY 2,000. Sunny apartment, decently furnished, convenient (older) neighborhood. About 70 平方米。My Chinese friends wailed, moaned and rolled their eyes about how I was being ripped off. But I didn't agree, based on broader experience in other locations.

 

Indeed! 

I currently pay 8000 for 65m2, ( a Chinese version of square meter :))

My landlord raised it to 8500 so I decided to move. Actually it's still cheap for that area of Beijing. Most are 9000 to 9500. My colleagues pay 9500 to 10500 to live in wangjing for a one bed.

You can get much cheaper in Beijing (3500) but it's a way out 通州,  some  areas are a bit grim to be honest and not near subway stations.

 

Kunming is a lovely city. I have always liked it.

 

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