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Beijing | Living the Life | House Hunting Tips

2017-05-18

THINGS TO BE AWARE WHEN FINDING A HOME IN BEIJING

1. Property type and ownership: Like all major cities around world, properties available in Beijing include apartments, townhouses and villas. There is one particular type of property that differentiates Beijing, called “Si He Yuan” in Chinese or “Courtyard House” in English. They represent the traditional residences of China’s Han nationality and are typically located in the north of the compound, facing south, mostly consisting of inner and outer yards. The courtyard is usually landscaped with many flowers and decorative rocks. Sitting out in the courtyard one feels relaxed and comfortable as if you were in a giant outdoor living room. However try not to stay in Si He Yuan if you are new in town because the all local environment might be too overwhelming.

2. Property ownership: All properties in Beijing are owned by either individual landlords or developers. It is common that prices for the same houses in the same complexes may vary due to differing ownership and market expectations. Properties owned by individual landlords tend to cost 10%-20% less than developer-owned properties. The reason for this is that individual landlords provide fewer services while developers offer a standardized service as well as a service team providing 24-hour service for tenants. In terms of negotiating rent, individual landlords’ feedback to any requests can vary and therefore no consistent rule applies. Some are willing to make every effort to meet the clients’ requests, while some can be inflexible.

THINGS TO BE AWARE DURING A PROPERTY VISIT

Washer and dryer: In China, it is quite common that the washing machine doesn’t connect to hot water or have a heating function. Additionally, dryers are less popular
since many Chinese prefer to hang their clothes outside. If you absolutely must have these appliances they can be found in the marketplace and a request should be made
to the landlord.

Air conditioning: Most air conditioners in China have two functions: cooling for summer and warming for winter. Generally, separate air conditioners are more economical in terms of saving energy, while central air conditioners provide more consistent temperatures throughout the property. This method is also more
convenient.

Dishwashers: Very few Chinese people use dishwashers at home or leave any space in the kitchen for installing them since the maid tends to wash dishes by hand.
However, installation can be negotiated with landlords.

Water filter: Never drink tap water unless you are informed by the relevant health authorities that it is safe for drinking. Generally, water in China is not safe for
consumption. Installing a filter can enhance the quality significantly, although it is still advisable that filtered water should not be used as drinking water.

Mattresses: Most Chinese landlords prefer to install rock hard mattresses. Please try it for yourself and if the bed is uncomfortable express your concern to your reliable MAXVIEW REALTY consultant who may be able to negotiate a different mattress with the landlord.

Fly screens: If you look for a home during the cooler seasons you may not be aware of the mosquito issue that will arise in warmer weather. Mosquitoes are usually
harmless but are definitely annoying in summer. Make sure you request to install fly screens if your selected home is a garden villa or on a lower floor.

Blackout curtains: Make sure all bedrooms are fitted with blackout curtains to ensure rooms are completely dark and ensure a sound sleep.

Voltage: The standard voltage in China is 240V. It is not advised to bring any electrical appliances from your home country unless you have the correct adaptor.
Internet access: If you request high-speed broadband access of over 4M, you should inform your agent to negotiate with the landlord before signing the contract. Normal
internet packages provided by China Telecom only allow (wired) access from one computer. If you want extra sockets for wired internet access in other rooms an extra
charge may be levied.

International TV channels. Developer-owned properties usually provide international TV channels (HBO, CNN, etc) with a maximum of only 15 English-language channels. With the assistance of your professional MAXVIEW consultant you may be able to negotiate with your landlord to install a satellite dish with reception to over 50 English-language TV channels.

Double-glazed windows: If you want an apartment close to main roads or public areas, make sure the windows facing the road are installed with double-glazing to reduce the noise level.

Basements: Basements provide excellent storage space or room for children to play, or even set up a gym. However, they may present certain hazards, especially if the walls are not correctly insulated.

Bedding and kitchen utensils/appliances: Unless you decide to live in one of Beijing’s many serviced apartments or hotels, most properties come with no bedding or
kitchen utensils. Strictly speaking, there is no standard size of queen-size or king-size bed so we recommend asking your agent to measure the exact dimensions before you purchase bedding or bring it from your home country.

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