To start with, it is essential to decide where one wants to live – in a villa or in an apartment in Beijing. Some families with children want to live out of the city, they move to suburbs, but this comfort means that if one works in  the center  of the city, has to spend minimum  3 hours per day in the car… Not for me.

I opted for an apartment. There is a possibility to find one in Hutongs – old part of Beijing. Some of my  younger  friends  found quite nice apartments there and are happy in this lively neighborhood.

The price for real estate is high in Beijing, some say it has increased up to 10 times recently ! So it takes time to find a place to live…

There are plenty of real estate agencies in the city, but I needed an English-speaking agent, so the choice was more limited. I liked working with Scout Real Estate and City Wise the most. They were patient and helpful,  with agents coming with their cars to pick you up from your office or any other place you ask. The competition between the agencies is fierce, so they usually work hard. Of course I met agents from other agencies as well, some of them spoke very poor English and we had some funny misunderstandings…

Prices for the apartments :

For 2000 -5000 RMB  ( 1 euro is around 7, 5 RMB ) one can afford quite a modest apartment, not in a good compound, for 5,000 -10,000 RMB –  you’ll find one in a much better neighborhood. It will  normally cost 10,000-25,000RMB for an apartment  in a good compound. Very good apartments in luxury properties would cost more than 100,000 RMB. A 200-300 square meter appartment in a good compound might cost 30,000-40,000RMB. It is possible to bargain, especially if one rents the appartment for a longer term. You can cut up to 10-15 percent of the price asked.

It is important to know that there are meters and Chinese meters:) Chinese meters mean that the surface area of the apartment  includes  everything  such as the balcony and staircase. So how big the apartment  is can only  be confirmed by seeing it.

Prices for the apartments on higher floors are more expensive. It is useful to know that there are some buildings in Beijing where are mainly  offices and but also some floors have apartments. In those cases tenants of such apartments pay  the same prices for electricity and heating as offices – more expensive.

I visited very many compounds before choosing mine. The most popular districts for foreigners are Sanlitun, Chaoyang and Dongzhimen. My favorite compounds are Park apartments, Beijing Golf Palace, Sanlitun Soho, few others. They are in good locations, efficient management, swimming pools, gyms, other facilities. It is known that in the compound where many rich Chinese live, the management is considerably more efficient.