Posted in Living in Beijing

Apartment Hunting for Dummies

Which type of people usually look for an apartment? There’s the newbie who just arrived in Beijing for their newest adventure, the oldie who’s lease just expired, the businessman who’s sick and tired of staying in an apartment. In any case, finding an apartment in China needs your haggling and language skills. Also, a Chinese friend would be the best to do the translation for you.

Here are some tips that may help you in your apartment hunting:

  • If the ad says “near the subway”, never believe it till you’ve seen it.
  • Most apartments are now equipped with western toilets.
  • If you don’t like cleaning your apartment, go for service apartments such as Oakwood, Palm Springs, HQ Ritz, etc. However, be prepared to pay for a higher than usual price.
  • Decide which district do you want to live and your budget.
  • Best place to live in would be walking distance to the subway or bus stops. The price on these places are usually higher.    
  • International apartments are expensive but usually the interior design are good.
  • If you go through an agent, they will charge you a month’s rent if the apartment rental per month is less than RMB 3,000. If it’s higher, the owner will pay the commission to the agent.
  • You can rent an empty apartment or a fully-furnished one
  • Don’t be deceived by the outer appearance of the building, some of them are quite nice inside.
  • If you’re a night owl, make sure the elevator is working 24 hours a day. Some of them close the elevators at 12mn to 6am.
  • There are apartments with no elevators at all, usually those with less than 6 floors.
  • Normally, heating and management fee are paid by the landlord. If they don’t, bargain hard for it as it might be expensive specially for international apartments with multinational property managers.
  • Rental Payment are usually quarterly with one month security deposit.
  • Don’t forget to have a contract drawn in order for you to register at the local police station.
  • Don’t forget to check the utilities and all appliances before you sign the contract as some items might be faulty.
  • Inquire in an expat forum and check the neighbors how the room quality are. An agent once told me there was this apartment complex wherein the walls are so thin that if you punch it, you can see you’re neighbors apartment already.
  • Some apartments are mixed with retail in the ground floor or office spaces which makes it noisy during office hours.
  • If you’re in a budget, you might consider getting a flatmate. IMHO, best to have your own bathroom than share it with others.

Well, i hope my tips will help you in your apartment hunting. If you have other tips to apartment hunters, please write a comment. Information sharing is always helpful. Happy Hunting!


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