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How To Rent Apartment or House In Beijing?

I’ve lived in Beijing for over four years now and I believe I’ve experienced most situations that one may come across when trying to rent an apartment or house in Beijing. The few months was easy and hassle-free because I lived in expensive serviced apartments. Second time when I moved to long-term apartments, things get so complicated; and third time which happened recently, it was really not easy at all. So I thought it might be helpful to provide some tips to those of you considering moving over to Beijing or soon to be renters.
When considering to rent an apartment in Beijing, you should be clear on the following things that will save you time, money and stress:
1. Budget

Before you even venture out and see apartments available to rent, you should be clear how much you are willing to pay, or your employer will pay for your rental cost monthly. Normally you need to pay at least one-month deposit to secure an apartment. It’s common practice that the landlord should pay the commission to the agent.
2. Apartment Requirements
What I find helps me better find an apartment to rent is to list some basic requirements that I want, especially:
I. Size of the apartment or house (here in sqm.)

II. bedrooms
III. VI. Furnished vs. non-furnished


3. Location

Choosing a suitable location is solely dependent on where you work, and where you want to live. Beijing is a large city with worst traffic condition. You need to know how much time you are willing to spend on your commuting everyday.
If you have a car, pick a location next to a ring road. If you commute by subway, pick a location reasonably close to a subway (obviously).
Your budget will also determine the location you can pick so do your homework and research the average prices in the areas you are interested in.
4. Apartment Building
Once you have picked a few locations you would happily live in, pick a few buildings in the area. Trust me, you save yourself a lot of time and hassle with agencies because they could just end up showing you apartment buildings you don’t want.

It is recommended to see apartment buildings that are newly built because you can avoid a lot of headaches that are associated with old run-down buildings such as cleanliness, bugs, smell and regular building maintenance.
5. Find an Agent for expat housing.

It’s important to find an agent who speaks good English, and is experience with expats housing. There’s big difference between expats housing agent and local agent. Local agents in Beijing stretch their hands to high-end apartments and villas as well, but one local agent only specializes in their small area due to their management mode of chain business. They may mislead you, or waste your time and energy.
6. Bargain 
As this is Beijing, there is always room to bargain so don’t accept the first price that is quoted to you. Don’t forget the landlord is eager to rent the apartment as much as you want to find a place to live. However, if the market is very active, you should ask your agent to investigate if there are strong competitors for the same house. It’s highly possible that you loose your top option in one day. Sometimes quick decision without bargaining further is also necessary.

I hope this post makes renting an apartment in Beijing a little easier. Did I miss anything? Share your tips or experiences on how to make renting an apartment in Beijing easier for us.

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