My suggestion is, to contact at least 5 real estate agents before you get here and get them to send you pictures of the kind of accommodation you would like to rent or buy. When you get here give yourself a week of back to back appointments to look at everything. Do it fast and furious – or it will make you go mental.
Interesting fact: in Shanghai, different real estate agents will have the same accommodation on their books, but at drastically different prices!
Send them an email with the below information:
How many adults or kids you have.
How many bedrooms you want.
How many bathrooms.
If you want a garden or outdoor space.
Let them know how many pets you have, goldfish you don’t need to include.
length of lease.
District you are interested in.
When you go to view the properties make sure you:
Turn on taps and showers and check water pressure.
Look at windows. Trust me, you don’t want old drafty ones, because in winter it gets friggin cold.
Make sure there is oil wall-heaters, or floor heating ( not just silly radiators) and air-conditioning units in each room, it gets friggin hot here too.
Look for wood rot, damp, bugs. Look at the top of the ceilings, a place to spot for leaking roofs (I have seen quite a few dripping brown slime.)
If the property comes furnished with beds – sit or jump on them. Some can be rocks and some instantly fall apart; you can ask for them to be changed.
Ask the agent
“What problems have your other tenants had with this house?” Amazingly, they will tell you.
Before you rent, it is normal to make requests like:
I want the house to be re-painted, I want new curtains, take out that rubbish furniture and, “Can I have a budget for some new stuff ?” (There is no harm in asking…)
Also Ask: does the property come with any gym memberships, or parking or “Can I have a dishwasher or washing machine?”
When I came to live here in Shanghai in August 2011, I contacted all the agents below and they were all good. I finally used Rachel ( she is really sweet) and please don’t blame me if some of the emails don’t work anymore…
Here, are also some other real estate agent websites. I found Joanna Real Estate, really good to get a clear idea of what is available all over Shanghai.
Houses and apartments can vary so much and the prices they charge, often make no sense at all! That’s why it is worth seeing LOTS!
Happy house hunting…