Monday, July 23, 2007

Apts.com HELP!

Today we set out to find a new home, here in Xiamen. Our entourage consisted of Rocky who is our contact here in Xiamen, Rachel who flew from Shanghai, the Real Estate agent, Mark , myself along with the leasing agents showing the properties. It seemed to be a little on the overkill side ,but hey were in China. We started off with 2 apartments which ended up being the nicest out of the 7 that we viewed. The second apartment was quite lovely with views of the water, balcony and had two bedrooms. The other apts gave us insight has to how some people live and it ain't pretty. From the blogs and books that we read, we were under the impression that the utilities were included in the rent. When that question came up, the first response was yes, and then 2 apt showings later the answer was no that utilities were separate. (the people who work at the hotel later told us you can negotiate this in the rent) We learned that the Chinese will say yes first and then give you another answer later. After seeing the a few others, we had to tell the agent again, our specific requests for a new dwelling. We were looking for new buildings, (the older ones, were dirty, dark, old and the shower head came up to Mark's chest) near a grocery store, gym and perhaps near the expat area. The agent advised that there were no apts available in this area yet 20 minutes later he produced three for us to see. Granted they weren't anything we would live in, but that wasn't the point. We looked at a service apt and it wasn't bad except it was a one bedroom apt only and we needed something a little bigger for all of you folks coming to visit us in Xiamen. We asked about laundry and a 20 minute conversation ensued between our entourage. A simple yes or no would have sufficed. The answer was no there were no laundry facilities but they have someone to pick up your laundry each day and send it out.

At the end of the day, the conversation turned to payment methods and come to find out that not only did we require one months deposit but also need to pay three months in advance. This is typical when renting in China or at least Xiamen. What Mark and I found odd, was the fact that we researched information regarding renting here along with reading books on moving to China and not once did we ever read the deposit requirements on renting an apt. Note to all who write about living abroad in China, big piece of information that you may want to include in your books. After discussing payment we were also advised that we would need to pay three months in each time, which we later found out that wasn't the case.

Okay so lets recap our lessons today:

1. Yes does not always mean yes.
2. Don't necessarily take the word of one person, ask many
3. Renting an apt? Make sure that you have at least 4 months worth of rent on hand in CASH

1 comment:

Lisa Thompson said...

You have far more patience than I, dear... about now I'd be booking my return flight home!!!

It is quite the adventure though and if anyone can survive it, it's you!

Miss you tons and enjoying the updates -