There was a lot to take care of when first arriving in China besides the seemingly endless paperwork I needed to fill out. (You’re interested there’s a guide style blog post about that.)
The first and most obvious – we needed a place to live.
We were lucky enough to have a friend already in Beijing who looked after us the first few days, and who, without his help, we would have been lost.
He searched online for us and got us hooked up to see some properties in the area we were interested in. It was really important to my husband that he be close enough to the university that it wouldn’t take him much time to get there, and it was important to me to be close the subway so we could get around easily.
We looked at several properties in one day, but a lot were studio apartments and we knew we wanted a separate bedroom for when our family would visit.
Culture note – It is not standard practice to clean an apartment when you leave.
Also, the pollution creates a lot of dust!! Just something to bear in mind if you’re reading this for advice rather than just as a mildly interesting account.
We ended up securing a place within 2 or 3 days. We looked at our apartment with 2 different rental companies and went ahead with the company with the lower fees.
WARNING – If your about to embark on this process yourself, go prepared with enough money! A lot of Landlords want 6 months rent upfront. I know some people who managed to pay just 3 months but 6 months is pretty standard to be prepared!!
So a few busy and interesting days of chinese food and house hunting and we were soon to be sorted!! It was a big relief!