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HONG KONG, HongKong [HK]
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Renting in China

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For most expats renting a home will be a primary concern before they move out here, for others the task is taken care of by their employer. When I first came to China it was to work as a teacher for EF (English First) and they took care of everything, once I arrived in the city they took me to my apartment and helped me to settle in. After a few months though I realized that there were better apartments in nicer areas of town, I had been brought to believe that housing wasn’t cheap, but boy was I wrong!

It was during a class one Sunday morning that we began talking about comparisons in living costs between the UK and China I had made a whole list of costs that UK residents must pay and it was to show that saving money can be hard for most, they had told me that most Chinese are able to send money back to their families, raise their own family and also save as well. One of my students invited me back to his home for lunch and I duly accepted, expecting to find something much worse than where I was living, long story short it was a beautiful home and very new, when I quizzed him about the cost he informed me that it was around 1,800rmb (US$180) per month and he went on to say that was slightly higher than normal for this kind of home. I was shocked!

This same student went on to help me find my first home in the same garden (apartment complex) that he lived in, I found an apartment of around 60m2 and paid just 1,200rmb (US$120) per month.

Since then I have lived in several different areas in my city and moved more frequently than I would have liked but I have found the experience useful.

In China when you rent a home it’s not much different to renting a home anywhere else, except you don’t have to wait for credit checks and work references, you are able to look at an apartment and be moved in the same day.

You need to provide a security deposit equal to two months rent and then give them your first months rent.

Utility bill’s are very cheap and there is also a garden management fee which is based on how big and how many rooms you have. This goes towards paying for the security guards and cleaners who take care of the communal areas.

Depending on what city you live and what area of that city you can pay as little as 1,000rmb ($US60) for a decent sized one-bedroom apartment upto 15,000rmb ($2,400) for a huge family villa. It all depends on what you need.

There is always lot’s of choice and remember if you do look at an apartment to barter the price down and take a Chinese friend with you who can do the talking, don’t be shy to offer way below asking as this is normal and you might end up with a real bargain!

If you are interested in looking at apartments you can visit a Chinese website called the website is in Chinese but if you use Chrome it can be easily translated.

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