Guide to Finding an Apartment to Rent in China 2019
If you are looking for an apartment in China then you came to the right place. We are now in 2018 ladies and gentleman so let the power of the internet community guide you to your salvation.
Today I am going to teach you the easiest way to find an apartment in China. Based on my personal experience, I have rented many apartments in China and within 1 year I rented as many as 4 different apartments. These are the tips that I’ve used to help me find apartments to rent and where to rent for the best prices possible with some advance money saving tips.
Research and Search Where You Want to Rent in China
Step 1: Drafting your wish list
This is where you define your criteria by establishing your must-haves and luxury needs.
- Proximity to good restaurants, entertainment, work, supermarkets and etc
- Gated Community
- Upper-end neighbourhoods or lower end neighbourhoods
- New or Older buildings
- Number of bedrooms and washrooms (Washrooms with an actual toilet and not a hole)
- Backyard or terraces
To continue our research, I highly suggest you visit Airbnb.com to better understand the city you are planning to rent from. As Airbnb can show you existing accommodations and what you can potentially find in the city. Airbnb is a home rental website that offers traveler’s accommodations to rent and live instead of staying at a hotel. The website provides an excellent insight into the Chinese city you plan to live, this is a good place to start your research.
Airbnb simply provides a preview to what the city can offer however keep in mind these are meant for short-term stays.
Step 2: Real Estate Websites
The next step is going to require some levels of Chinese understanding, however, don’t worry if you don’t. You can simply use google chrome to translate the entire webpage into English to help you navigate these websites. In China, there are many websites that display properties for rent which you can use to browse around. Below I will provide you with a list of website you can check out.
When using these websites always remember to change the location of the website search to the city you plan to live in. No point browsing apartments in a city you don’t even plan to live in. Also, make sure you are looking at rental apartments as many of these websites also sell homes. The challenge with using these websites is that they require some levels of understanding of the city such as which district you would like to live in. That is why I don’t consider them helpful for beginners but rather for people who have a better understanding of the city instead. Since this is research anyways, might as well take a look at what the city can potentially offer.
租房 = Rent Apartment
Step 3: Chinese Real Estate Agents
My favorite option is the real estate agent option since real estate agents don’t get paid until you sign the contract, this makes them free tour guides. When I go hunting for a new apartment, I often contact multiple real estate agents because many of the listings don’t show up on online websites. They also have some special inventory which they can provide you access to and real estate agents can help you avoid nasty homeowners via contracts. My favorite Real Estate Agencies in Chongqing are Lianjia and Daojiale.
- Lianjia is a very large real estate rental organization in China
- Daojiale is primarily a large real estate real agency in Chongqing.
If you are in the city and want a better understanding of the district than simply walk into the nearest real estate agency and tell them your requirements. Ask them any questions you have about the district like where is the nearest subway station, good restaurants, hair salon, hospital, movie theatre, shopping mall, local police station, and etc. They are basically a free tour guide because you are not obligated to pay them until you sign a lease contract. If you feel the tour guide you got was terrible then simply go to a competitor. For those extreme penny pinchers, you can even have the agent show you a location then cut them out by going directly to the building management.
Advance Money Saving Tip (Requires some Chinese skills or bring a Chinese friend)
- After a real estate agent shows you a location, record the name of the building, floor number, and apartment unit number.
- Ask the agent if this building has a building management system in case of leaking faucets, broken door or window and also ask when was this building built. The reason for this is to find the build management company because in China good apartments usually come with building management systems.
- Once you know the name of the building management company, go to the security guard of the building and ask him for the phone number of building management. The truth is you can just go straight to the security guard and ask for building management’s phone number. You don’t even have to ask the agent if you don’t want to, just tell the security guard you forgot their phone number.
- After you obtain building management’s phone number, now you can call this number and ask them if they can help you contact the homeowner of the location you are interested in. Provide to them the Apartment building number, floor number, and apartment unit number.
- If you were successful then you now have access to speak to the homeowner, ideally most homeowners would love to deal directly with you rather than an agent. Since using a real estate agent costs both you and the homeowner some money.
Signing the Contract
Try not to rush into signing a contract unless you are absolutely happy with your apartment. I would advise you to shop around and take your time. If you were looking at a gated community unit then walk around the park, check out the amenities, ask if they have a gym, don’t waste your hard earned cash on living in a shoebox. Once you are ready to sign the contract then make sure all of the terms below are noted.
- Lease Contract must define the exact deposit fee since you will be asked to place a deposit fee.
- All 1-year lease contracts in China don’t require tenants to pay the full year’s worth of rent upfront. If you are planning to rent a place for 1 year you are allowed to pay the homeowner in instalments. Usually 1 year = 4 instalments, however, everything is negotiable in China.
- Make sure you count exactly what was provided to you in the apartment before you rented it. Have the list of furniture and appliances in writing detailing the condition of the item as well as quantity.
- Ensure that you have the homeowner’s full name in Chinese, Phone Number, and Chinese Identification Number
- Total Fee and monthly payment structure are written as well as explained within the contract
If you decided to have the real estate agents help you negotiate a contract then you don’t have to worry about writing a contract. Real estate agencies will have their own contracts and you can simply use there’s to complete the process. The contract exists for 2 purposes, the first purpose is to protect you from future headaches and the second purpose is for the local police station to help process your residence permit. You will need a blue slip from the police station and they will only give this to you with a proven address.
Hope you enjoyed this guide on how to rent an apartment in China. Please leave a comment if you have any questions and remember to apply for english teaching jobs in China today! Our job board is updated daily with the highest quality job postings available.