Searching for an apartment in Shanghai

A two-bedroom apartment in Shanghai for 3,400 RMB per month (472 USD), yeah it’s possible. A search through several apps, then a broker, then a pasted poster and haggling.

I started our search on 自如 which has neatly furnished apartments, but they’re upwards of 5,000 RMB (if you include the service fee). On the 贝壳 app, we find bigger apartments for around 4,000 RMB, but the interiors are often very old and the selection too limited.

We then go to 链家 brokers and find a massive five-bedroom apartment for 4,000 RMB. Eva talks 100 RMB off the price and we say we’ll think about it.

Later, we ask a friend who lives in the compound whether the area is nice. She tells us to go to building 65 and look for posters; that way you can avoid the broker fee: “A lot of landlords have trouble renting out their houses, you can contact them directly and bargain.”

A guy shows up and shows a nice apartment for 3,800 RMB, but it’s next to a noisy street so we don’t want it. He then makes a call and says his connection also has an available house in a nearby compound: 3,500 RMB for two bedrooms, decent furnishing, middle floor and facing south.

I think it’s an incredible price and want to take it, but wisely keep my mouth and let Eva do the talking. She tells the landlord the place must have been empty for a long time, because there’s so much dust everywhere. She talks off another 100 RMB and gets a free parking lot too.


Alright, this isn’t in the city center, but Chuansha (川沙), yet in cycling distance of tech offices like Nvidia, AMD, Qualcomm, and the one in which I work. And even cheaper is possible if you take the ground or top floor, or have your bedroom facing any other direction than south.