Take a look at the pics below, for instance, which are from an apartment in a 6-story "old" complex. It contains 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, storage room, kitchen, dining area, and balcony. And, it only cost 1,780rmb a month!
In addition, housing agents usually act as the liaison between you and the landlord. If a problem occurs with your housing, they may request that you solely contact them.
Lastly, for their services, you'll need to pay the housing agent a 1 time fee of 1/2 of your monthly rent. Remember, even if they've only helped you for only a few minutes, you'll still have to pay them when you sign the contract.
CAUTION: Please ask the agent if you'll need to pay them another fee if you decide to renew your contract. I've learned that the hard way!
IMPORTANT: With that in mind, please remember that if you're moving to Kunshan, or any city in China in general, you'll need to have enough money for:
1. Pay Rent Upfront for 3 Months (This is common in China, ex: 1,800rmb x 3)
2. Put Down 1 Month's Deposit (ex: 1,800rmb = 1 Month's Rent)
3. Pay an Agent Fee (Half of 1st Month's Rent, 900rmb)
Total = About 8,100rmb, upfront.
1. Try to negotiate the price of rent. The agent or landlord has most likely upped the price and may be willing to make some deductions.
2. Check and make sure all electrical devices are functional.
3. Check for any mold or infestations: closets, beds, shelves, etc.
4. Get the contact information of your Landlord.
5. Ask the agent if you'll need to pay the Management Fee. This is for workers who clean and upkeep your housing community.
6. Make sure you know when you should notify your agent or landlord should you decided to cancel, not renew, or renew your contract. You may need to tell them months in advance.
7. Ask if you can keep pets (if applicable).
8. Make sure that the previous resident has paid all of their bills, including water, electricity and gas, up until the day they left, and that your service begins on the start date of your contract.
9. Make sure you know the monthly date of when your rent payment is due, and the process of how you'll need to pay.
10. TAKE PHOTOS OF THE APARTMENT, and make sure your camera time stamps your pictures.
11. If you're staying with a roommate, ask if you'll need to pay their portion of the rent should they break their contract.
12. Some landlords will want you to pay your rent every 3 months. If you lack the funds, ask if it's possible if you could pay every 1 month.
13. If you're short on funds, try asking your employer for a loan. Many schools will let their teachers borrow money, for instance, and take back the money owed from their salary.
Also, please realize that working and living abroad can sometimes be a daunting experience if you find yourself placed far away from other people who look like you or speak the same language. So, do your research. Speak with foreign teachers currently working for your soon-to-be employer. Search expat forums. Find out where other foreigners live and mingle, and try to arrange your housing nearby so you won’t feel too lonely.