While several aspects of moving to China might feel like an absolute mystery to you, finding an apartment in China is quite similar to the process anywhere in the world. Keep on reading to see how i2 Education supports you when it comes to finding the perfect accommodation that fits your needs.
Arrival in China
Your arrival and smooth transition are of utmost importance to us. While each city has different resources to help our new teachers the basics are the same. I2 Education provides new hires with 1-week paid hotel stay In order to give you enough time to find the perfect place for you. During that first week we will support you in the visa process, setting up your banking and cell phone, and anything else you need to live comfortably here.
In most cities the Foreign Affairs team also has reliable (English-speaking) real-estate agents that they are happy to share with you. The other teachers in your city are also happy to help and point you towards the best communities, areas, and tips for what you might need.
If you are more of a free agent, no pun intended, finding your own real-estate agent is easy (provided that you speak Chinese). Every corner has a real-estate agent that has contacts for the buildings and community in the area surrounding it. A technique many people use is to first find the area they like, then start to walk into real-estate agencies in the area. Agents usually take a fee of ½ a months or a month rent so if you move into a 5,000 RMB/month flat expect to pay the agent 2,500 or the same for a cheaper price for helping you find it.
Depending on the city you live in, the expectations vary for how much you’ll have to pay upfront for renting an apartment. In some cities such as Guangzhou or Shenzhen the expectation is to pay a 2-month deposit and 1 month rent up front. You get your deposit back at the end of your contract period (usually 1 year). For example, if your apartment is 4,000 RMB you will need to pay 12,000 RMB to move in.
In other smaller cities where rent prices are usually cheaper such as Nanning or Chongqing the expectation is that you pay a 2-month deposit and 3 months rent up front. This would mean that a 3,000 RMB/month apartment would cost 15,000 RMB to move in.
The pay cycle then follows whatever has been set up at the beginning. In other words, an apartment in Guangzhou would expect payment of 4,000 RMB every month whereas an apartment in Nanning would cost you 9,000 RMB every 3 months.
Communicating with your Landlord
While it would be rare for you to find a landlord that speaks English, communication is fairly easy because of technological advancements in China. The most common messaging software “WeChat” has an automatic translation function that can reliably allow you and your landlord to communicate. Almost all payment in China is done electronically where you can pay your rent via WeChat or Alipay (another popular APP) directly from your bank account to theirs.
Your real-estate agent would also be a huge asset in this when it comes to mediation or problems that may arise. This is where the agency fee comes in, they are obligated to help you if need be.
Help from Tech
While we would highly advise you find your first apartment with a trusted real-estate agent there are other options for the bold and brave. There are several apps where landlord can list their apartment for rent. They can be searched by proximity, price, area, and amenities. This can be helpful after a year or two of living in a city when your Chinese is better, you have a trusted Chinese friend or partner, and want to skip on the agency fess.
Fear not, there are hundreds of thousands of foreigners in China that have all felt the worry of finding a new place to call home. There are many resources at your disposal, the most important of which being information! Reading this article is your first step towards being well-informed and preparing for your move. If you have any more questions regarding housing though message your recruiter, they will be happy to help.
By: Christian Lopez