• Miranda R.

A Shanghai Apartment Checklist



Moving can be stressful. There are so many things to remember on top of the big headache, choosing a place. The best thing to do is have a list.

About this time last year, I was looking for an apartment in Shanghai and it was crazy. Not only was it my first time moving abroad, but my first time living alone. My onboarding group was given time to find accommodations within two weeks of arrival where we were given complimentary stay at a hotel. Well, knowing, but not really knowing, what to expect, my search went beyond two weeks. As a matter of fact, a whole month! (Oh, my stress!)

After changing hotels three times, I was on the verge of a breakdown and returning back home. I knew not to expect my new apartment to be exactly like home, still the struggle was long and hard. Then, finally, it happened. I found an apartment! After searching high and low, solo and with agent, I managed to secure housing before the holidays and to my parents’ relief.


While this was a new experience that brought many lessons learned, on my search I knew what I was looking for because I had a list. Now, lists are not definite, but they are so helpful! The key is sticking close to them. Sure, it took me long, to the point of pulling out hair; however, if I was going to be living somewhere, I needed to be happy with what I was coming back to everyday. A list of must-haves and wants accompanied me every apartment viewing. These are some points that I would recommend you be sure to check for when renting an apartment in Shanghai:

My Must-Haves:

  • Above the first floor

  • Clear building entry and exit

  • Air Conditioning

  • Elevator

  • Western Toilet

  • Lighting

  • Windows (preferably large)

  • Furnishing (mattress, additional seating, table, and storage)

  • Appliances (refrigerator, microwave, stove, and washing machine)

  • Security

  • Grocery store (in close proximity)

  • CLEAN (no mold, no fungus, no dilapidation)

My Wants:

  • Water Filtration (preferably built in)

  • Internet Service

  • Above the sixth floor

  • Dryer

  • Television

  • Things to-do close by (food, night-life, parks, etc., …)

  • Close to the metro station and main lines

  • Close to work

  • Meet housing allowance

My Non-Negotiable Factor:

  • The bathroom…everything about it.

Would you check off or add to this list? Another thing to remember is that nearly everything is pretty much negotiable. You could lower you rent by putting down a hefty deposit, taking away some appliances (TV, dryer, etc., …) and more. Don’t compromise on the things you need in your space to be happy coming home…away from home.

#Shanghai #expat

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