Getting your first apartment in Shanghai might feel fantastic, but it might be an unpleasant surprise unless you check everything about the apartment before you move in.
This is what you should have a look at while visiting the apartment for the first time:
1. Heating and cooling facilities (heating and floor heating and air conditioning)
2. Window and door quality (especially mosquito screens are very important during the summer in Shanghai!)
3. Floors (material and color)
4. Kitchen and bathrooms
5. Compound facilities (clubhouse, playground facilities, shops, cleaning lady and other services you would like to have)
6. How is the infrastructure towards the most important areas (your office/school & the tourist spots)?
Do your research
I have spoken to many expats in Shanghai that really wished they had done some research before they moved into their apartment. Everything from bad kitchen facilities to be living an hour away from their office are common problems.
You should not feel bad about saying no to a Chinese landlord. A lot of them show foreigners the worst apartments first just to try to get rid of them for a ridicolous price. My advice is to never go directly to a Chinese landlord, but to go trough an agency.
HomeofShanghai Housing is an agency that covers 97 % of the whole real estate market in Shanghai for expats and foreign students.