Discussion » Beijing Life » Coming to Beijing in a Month for a Long Term Stay.

  • Michael Marshall
    Michael Marshall wrote:

    Hi everyone, a friend of mine just directed me to this website because I am looking for a place to live once I arrive in Beijing (21st or 22nd of August).

    I'll be attending Tsinghua's language program, but I'll also be beginning some long term research on Beijing's music scene.  I'd like to find a place in the Gulou area and then just deal with the commute every day.  I was told it would probably be around 40 minutes to an hour each day by public transit.  It might also be better for participant observation and understanding the city as well.

    Can anyone recommend a strategy for finding a place?  Should I try to find something now and have it waiting for me when I arrive?  Should I just grab a hotel for the first few days and find a place once I am on the ground?

    Are there any agencies that I should be contacting or should I just wing it?

    I noticed the comprehensive essay on what to do and not do for apartment finding in Beijing.  That definitely helped me out a bit but I was wondering if anyone could shed further light on this.

    Also, I've had two years in schooling for Mandarin, but unless I need to invite my landlord to see a movie, I doubt that would really help me out much for this sort of thing.  Is that going to be a big issue?

  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)


    Q: How long would this course go for? It is usually 4 months, right?

    Q: Why not stay at the dormitory?


  • 事与愿违
    事与愿违 wrote:

    Welcome to Beijing! : )

    Gulou is the best place for you?But I think it's a little far from your school.

  • 事与愿违
    事与愿违 wrote:

    I know a guy who speaks Chinese very well with the accent of Cantonese(even better than mine),Japanese well too.I ask him why,he said he learnt from his girlfriends.I think it's a effective way to learn another language.haha...joke

  • J WU
    J WU wrote:

    make good use of those rental websites, don t rely on the agency.

    still for the website, be sure the publisher is the flat owner but not the agency staff. otherwise, you will pay a higher rent.

    my suggestion is starting early before your arriving, cause the market is usually getting busy by the end of summer. probably not many sounds flats left during that moment. but be sure paying the deposit after you check the flat. good luck.

  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)


    Hahahaha ... I see, and I wish you well ... but I still recommend for the first month or two, the dorm is a better choice for you to get to know the area :) ... yeah, I was a dorm boy, 4 years and proud of it :)

    Agreed with JingZW above, however, as Astaroth said, it is best that you find someone local to help you, because most reasonable apartments are usually not found on English web site, but the Chinese ones ...similarly, the local law requires the contract to be written ONLY in Chinese, so whether you can read Chinese or not, having a friend to help you go through the contract would not hurt ... as for agency, I have been lucky with the agencies so far, but then, I did have someone fairly local as my "assistant", hahaha, now she will surely kill me ...

    Again, as JingZW suggested, start doing your homework early, like now, would help ...


  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)


    Hahahaha ... that sounds familiar ... me, Cantonese Vs wife, Mandarin :)

    Sasuke, you speak Cantonese?

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    I sort of agree with uncle D. Stay in a dorm for 2 weeks to a month while you're looking for flats, so you can familiarize yourself with the market before you rent. (Unless of course you just have piles of money and don't care about getting ripped off.)

    Do whatever you can to avoid the agencies, but sometimes it's difficult. If you want to learn Chinese, it's best that you don't have English speaking roommates, which kills the idea of looking on this site ot thebeijinger.com for flats. ganji.com, koubei.com, 51fang.com are some popular sites to find flats, and I'm sure people here can list others.

    To protect yourself, after signing a lease your landlord should take the 房产证 and register you at the police station before you pay any money.

    As much as people want to be helpful, finding a decent apartment without getting ripped of is a huge task, and goes beyond the kind of favor you can ask of an acquaintance. You might need to go through an agent your first time to find places. Just remember, you can't believe anything they tell you about the flat, landlord, rental law, or rental market, and prices are all negotiable. Good luck!

  • 事与愿违
    事与愿违 wrote:

    Michael,it's very interesting,huh?What's more,their kids will can speak two languages when born.

    Another website 58.com,you can look for a house on it.But I think these websites are not reliable,they're all intermediary agents.Sometimes the house isn't as described or tenancy term isn't that you think after signing a contract.I was just cheated,I thought I would rent three months,but I must live here one half of year according to the contract.And have other bad thing.I think it's better that you get the landlord directly.

    叮当,no,I can't speak Cantonese.I mean his Chinese is even better than me,absolutely,his Cantonese is also much better than me.Can you understand it?

  • Mina Færden
    Mina Færden wrote:

    A very popular and useful website for looking for appartments / roomates :


    As for finding an apartment in the gulou area - recently that area is very popular among expats, thus the demand is much higher then the supply. Taking this into account, going to an agency but BARGANING for the fee (i did it myself in my two previous apartments) might be actually not a bad solution, but you'll need someone who speaks Chinese to accompany you. 



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