Thursday, March 27, 2008

How to.... find a flat in Shanghai

Someone posted a comment (in Swedish) wondering how I got by setting up my life in China (flat, language difficulties and so on) and since I LOVE getting questions from you readers (it means someone is reading my blog -woho!), I’ll do my outmost to answer this one!

Moving to China was actually much easier than some of the other moves I’ve done in my life. Sure, a lot of paper work, but when I (before China) moved from Sweden to Finland the hassle was even bigger. And that’s quite ironic, seeing that Sweden and Finland are both Scandinavian countries that are supposed to provide easy solutions to Scandos wanting to move across the boarder.. Anyways, the point is: moving to China was/is fairly easy!

You can solve the housing problem in a few different ways. You can post your own add at pages like or craigslist, or, you can simply reply to one of the 1000nds of adds that are already there. We tried to find out first flat that way but found the process to be a bit slow, not to mention confusing, as we, seeing it was our first time in Shanghai, didn’t know the city very well and didn't know in what area we wanted to live.

Another way is to simply walk around in an area you like (I recommend the French Concession or Jing'an) and drop by any of the real estate agencies that are scattered around city. They will (most likely) show you flats straight away and are normally very helpful. Some of them speak English, but it really helps if you know some Chinese, or, if you bring someone who knows a little bit.

If you end up renting via a real estate agent you’ll have to pay (on top of the first rent and the deposit) an agent fee. This fee is compulsory, and you’ll split it with your landlord. It’s a one time fee, but yeah, I know.. it still sucks. If you rent from a private person you don’t have to worry about this fee.

Some things to think about:

* ALWAYS try to haggle down the rent a little bit!

* If you cannot lower the rent, then ask for additional things for the flat; eg a portable oven, a new washing machine.. well, anything you feel you need. You are most likely to get it.

* Make sure that someone translates your contract to English before you sign anything.

* Most landlords will suggest that you pay a huge deposit (2 month’s rent) as well as the rent for the first 2 months. We have always haggled this down to 1 month worth of deposit and 2 month’s rent. Don’t let them freeze a huge deposit for you. You might run into troubles getting it back (I’ll get back to this issue in another post).

* Ask the real estate agency or the landlord to help you organize an AYI if you’re lazy and don’t wanna bother with doing the dishes and the laundry…

Hm… I think that’s all for now!
I’ll get back to the other questions later, but I hope this helps someone a little bit!


Anonymous said...

ha, i got that same exact cd holder that is on top of your bigger cd holder.

Jonna Wibelius said...

Glad to hear you've got such good taste :) Ah... for once I can actually view my blog and make a comment from China! Wonderful! Doesn't happen every day unfortunately.

Lullun said...

Men visst har du läsare! Din blogg är ju underbar. Fast jag får erkänna att jag tittar förbi alltför sällan (så jag har alltid en hel massa att "läsa ikapp", varje gång :-)), men försöker lämna en kommentar varje gång jag har vägarna förbi iaf. :-)

Kul att höra att det är ganska lätt att flytta till Kina. Ja, somj ag säkert skrivit tidigare, var jag på g att flytta till Kina en gång (efter en längre backpack i landt), men så träffade jag min nuvarande sambo som, uppvuxen här i världens mest glesbefolkade land (Grönland), drabbas av klaustrofobi så snart det är mer än 5 personer på 100 kvadratmeter typ, så antar att det tar lite tid innan jag vant honom till folk nog för Kina... *hihi*