Past 2 days we went apartment hunting or “look-see” as our agent Joyce calls it. Thanks to Brenda & Rick, who lived in Shanghai for 5 years and all their great contacts, that is how we found Joyce. She is wonderful! She met us at 9:30am, which seems late to me, then again I have been up since 4am and we have 1o apartments on the list she provided to see today. I have asked to see modern, high rise apartments (you know the ones in the Sky-y-y-y).
I really wish I didn’t have to move, I quickly became fond of my current residence at the JW Marriott Executive Apartments. It is only a 22 minute walk to the office, conveniently located on Nanjing Road, came with full size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, toothpaste, a drink set up in the fridge, some snacks, water dispenser, free Internet and breakfast each morning, not to mention the best towels I have ever experienced, heated bathroom floor, and 3x a week it is serviced (cleaned). Here are some photos of the apartment, it is a little small and the hot water takes forever to become hot but I could work that out:
Back to reality, I have 30 days to find an apartment, even less for there are some holidays coming up. Many of the apartments are privately owned, so Joyce works with the individual owners to set up the showing and negotiate the price and other items such as clubhouse access and furniture items to be added/removed, etc. Some of the apartments we have seen had the current tenant still in them and the tenant was there when we went in, they answered the door. Some of the current tenants were in the process of moving out or not the most tidy so that was difficult for me to overcome when viewing the apartments for some were a mess. We took off our shoes before entering the apartments, many apartments have shoe cabinets outside the door, just for that.
The apartment kitchens are very small, galley like and it is rare to find a dishwasher and an oven. Many do have a counter microwave/convection oven. Many now offer at least a small washing machine, it is really tiny. Dryers are not always available, so you air dry your clothing, some apartments had racks on the balcony that lowered for the ceiling, just for that. I am thinking securing your items is an important skill. Imagine up on a high floor and your underwear flying off the balcony… oh dear.. If you are lucky, the washing machine is a combo one that washes and dry in the same cycle.
After seeing 13 apartments in 2 days, they are a blur. We did provide Joyce a list of our top 3 apartments. The 1st one living area is downstairs and the bedrooms and a full bath upstairs. It is really fun and the bedroom set and dining room, is the same we have at home, I would be very familiar with it. No dishwasher, or oven but it does have the small washer and dryer. The 2nd choice is a 3 bedroom, much larger than I need but it was recently renovated has a “western” kitchen, which includes an oven and dishwasher, the master bedroom is amazing, it is round and has a great view, it also has a heated tile floor throughout, it is really nice. The only challenge is, it is not furnished and the owners what to rent it not furnished, we have asked to negotiate that or an allowance or something. It is in the same compound as our 1st choice apartment. I think I can walk to work, we may trial run it today or take a taxi or the train. Our 3rd choice is a nice, basic apartment in a different compound, I don’t think I can walk to work, will need to take a taxi or the subway. I am hoping for #1 or #2 choice.
You may be able to get an ice cream come from McDonald’s for .37 cents but apartments are like any big city, pricey and small. The ones I am looking at are around the same cost as my mortgage at home… GULP!