Hahahahaha ... what do I think? I think that most investors are crazy ... because many of them would rather leave an apartment vacant, even if over long period, instead of dropping a little in rent to ensure rental income ...
What do I think?
I think you agents have a complete lock on this industry in Beijing, and you do nothing to make it better. I think you're thieves, liars, and contribute NOTHING to the process of finding an apartment or making life easier in Beijing. You just add a layer of complexity and headache that shouldn't be there in the first place. I think you're rent-seekers who make life impossible for people. I think you're basically mafia. I think you're scammers who've squeezed every independent operator out of the process.
Are there good agents? Sure, somewhere, probably. I haven't met one.
Consider how hard it is to find an independent landlord in Beijing. Consider how every advertisement on every housing website is guaranteed to lead to a bait and switch operation. Consider how in the information age, when it should be easier than ever before for me to find a phone number, contact a landlord, and comparison shop, I can't even find a photograph of an apartment that's genuine. If I want an apartment, I have to pay you a deposit I'll never get back, and a fee on top of that for getting lied to.
My list of bad experiences is too long to recount. And people who know me know I'm not picky. I'm happy to fix things myself, I take good care of the apartments I live in, and I pay my rent on time. I'm tired of broken air conditioners, crappy furniture I can't get rid of, and everyone telling me there's a service charge when the contract says there isn't one.
Agents in this city add no value at all. Instead, they dilute the resources that should make finding an apartment easy until they're useless, then charge you unbelievable sums of money for allowing you access to what should be free.
You parasites can all go fuck yourselves. Including you, June. Get out of my internets.
And they say English teachers are bad...
Investment speculation is the root cause of housing woes. Give me a social problem and I will find a way to blame capitalism.
Real estate agents are just a convenient scapegoat of the petty bourgeoisie. But who doesn't like a convenient scapegoat?
I'm a real estate agent and I look for private owners on the web=) However it isn't true to tell agents make things more complicated: Just try to figure the energy you would have to spend to find an apartment in any area of Beijing you don't know, seeing place after place without any guarantee or professional advice.... (I assume you're using a professionnal who knows his stuff). The agents trolling with fake pictures on the web(hilarious when you know your stuff) also doesn't explain by itself that there are such a few small owners adds.....not everyone can or want use the web to rent out. Also: Agents don't have any responsibility on Beijing construction business being rotted by corruption and incompetence. But our duty is to point potential issues to tenants.
That's a rather complicated attempt at justifying your existence, and it comes up rather short. I've found four apartments in Beijing, and only once did I use an agency; even then, the agent didn't really do anything and the only reason I paid him his fee was because he was a nice fellow. All he did was place an ad on thebeijinger, answer a phone, and walk with me from the subway to the apartment. That's nice, but not worth several thousand RMB.
I've had far more success renting properties more-or-less directly from the owners (or the owners' surrogates) by finding renters who want to end their leases prematurely. The tenants then tell the owners that I'm a friend taking over for the duration of the rental contract. The upshot of this is that owners are also less likely to significantly raise rents for subsequent leasing contracts when dealing with a new tenant who ostensibly knows what their "friends" were paying the previous year.
(This method of searching for rentals is eminently useful for dirt-poor hipster expats like myself.)
You can blame construction companies for incompetence or developers for corruption, but half-assed appeals to the vague expertise of your "professional advice" or to flimsy "guarantees" are not compelling; as long as the law favors developers over consumers, there's little incentive for anyone in the real estate agency to be honest or competent. At best, real estate agents are obscurantist middle-men oiling the gears of a bureaucratic machine that alienates the people from the land.
We're not doing the same business...I'm more the kind of real estate agents that works his ass on whole East Chaoyang/Dongcheng/Shunyi etc.
I'm sure you work your ass in a lot of upscale neighborhoods. That's why I'd never insult you by comparing you to the common streetwalking agent I was talking about. No, when you meet someone at the subway, you escort him to the property. That's way classier.
The "nice fellow" who doesn't get paid much but can make ten times its salary in thirty minutes just because some SOHO was build 200 meters from his office is very far from what I do.
Cool story, bro.
Of course direct owners are the best option to keep the price down if you can speak Chinese and know how to negociate a bit, but you'll miss a lot more apartments, that's a fact.
I don't know what kind of clients you deal with, but most of us only need one apartment. I don't feel like I'm missing anything.
Hahahahaha .. of course they do, of course they do ...
You just say that to justify the real estate phenomenon of taking clients to two or three utterly shitty apartments before showing them one halfway decent one.