Finding a New Apartment In Shanghai
My first apartment in Shanghai was a lucky find. I had been traveling and staying in a hostel in Shanghai. I originally was going to stay a little bit and then it was off to Malaysia and back to a rural town in Shanxi province to teach in a University. Well I met some cool people in Shanghai and decided that I wanted to stay in the big city rather than in the middle of nowhere. My newfound friend had been doing some substitute teaching and met another American who was moving and wanted someone to take over his lease for the last month. We took it over and ended up extending the lease two more times.
Originally this two bedroom pad on the 28th floor was 5000rmb a month. When we resigned the lease the rent rose to 5500 and the second time we extended the lease it jumped to 6200. With the new subway line under construction I wouldn’t be surprised if the landlord tried to jack the price up to 6500-7000.
I was looking for a new area , wanted to be closer to work so bike riding was more feasible, and my roommate and myself haven’t been getting along well for a while now. So it was time to move! And move I did.
While there are different internet options available it seems to me that websites in English are catered towards well to do people. I can not afford a 8000 rmb apartment. If you can read Chinese then a few sites I thought were pretty good are http://www.anjia.com , http://www.soufu.com . However , many times the photos are not of the real apartment but you can get a feel for the area and general price.
The way I found a pad was by riding my bike around , scoping out the general areas, and then visiting many of the small real estate places scattered throughout the neighborhoods. You can tell the staff what can of place you want , price range , and neighborhood. They will show the options they have available , you can arrange to tour some apartments, and they can also inform you in the future if new options become available. We were told that right now (Early April) is not a good time to look , after Chinese New Year ( Early February this year) to the end of February is a better time to look due to students graduating and people returning to their hometowns and leaving behind apartments. We weren’t very patient and managed to find one acceptable the first day. If we had held out perhaps a better option would have become available but I’m very pleased with the choice. The real estate guys will lead you to the houses on foot , or with their moto-scooters. We had bikes and one of the guys rode on the back of mine. Funny looking situation.
All in all we looked at 5 different places. Two were considerations , two were unacceptable , and one was totally amazing but a tad out of the price range right now. Damn.