After being here almost a year we’ve been going through the process of evaluating our living arrangements. With the current economic climate (ugh, yeah I just wrote that) rental prices have dropped quite a bit. Luckily our landlord agreed and we’re staying put for a bit less cash.
Anywho, as a backup we looked around at some apartments and almost forgot what a ‘fun’ exercise the whole process is. And when I say fun, I mean tedious. If it helps any Shanghai newbies or people looking to move here are some simple tips:
The advertised price isn’t the real price
Like the real estate market at home, the advertised price isn’t the actual price. At the moment prices for apartments and houses is much lower than what is being advertised. Negotiate. And then negotiate some more.
Don’t judge a complex by one ugly apartment
If you see a complex you like but absolutely hate the giant golden horse statue in the living room then chances are there are quite a few other apartments available that you may like. Check with the real estate agent. If they say there are no more available then try another real estate agent.
Most of the apartments come furnished. If you want newer couch or better TV then you should ask the owner to see if they’ll agree. If your requests are reasonable, they will agree. Alternatively, If you see an unfurnished apartment you like the owner might agree to furnish it for you.
Lane houses are cool….but
Living in a lane house in Puxi is a bit like wearing skinny jeans – cool, but not always comfortable. Lane houses are simply beautiful and will give you that authentic Shanghai experience – and its important these buildings don’t get knocked down to make room for another highrise set of shoe box apartments.
However, you’ll need to be careful when choosing one. Many might be done up nicely inside but I’ve heard quite a few stories of places being cold in winter, plumbing and electricity being dodgy, and damp. Be sure to check the house carefully before signing a lease. If you grab a great place, don’t let it go!
Try a few agents in different parts of the city
Finding the right agent can be tricky. Try getting an agent who can take you to various areas of the city so you can get a feel for which neighbourhoods you like. Some local agents only take you to places in their area and ignore your requests to see other places. Simply have a look at a few of their places and if you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere – drop them.
Thank them, say “it’s not you, it’s me”, and move on.
Get a feel for the city and your movements
Shanghai is such a huge city that you’re bound to gravitate towards certain areas you like for your lifestyle and work. If possible, get as close as possible to work, schools, public transport, or your favourite activities as you can. Shanghai’s traffic can be fairly hectic at peak hours and crossing the river between the two sides can easily eat up your precious free time.
There are probably a 1000 tips for renting apartments in Shanghai. If you have more feel free to add them in below.
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