The Shanghainese real estate market is a tough one as many agencies are fighting for all the foreign customers.
A competitive market makes only the best ones survive. However, there are a lot of real estate agents that do not speak proper English and/or don´t have the local knowledge which is crucial to advice expats in Shanghai.
This is how you find and choose a real estate agency in Shanghai:
1. Google is your friend.
The search engines will give you some agencies to choose between. A good rule of thumb is; the agencies that are best on online marketing/have the best websites are also the best when it comes to customer care and are the most professional.
Two good websites that appeal to me:
And this one:
2. Contact 2-3 agencies at the same time.
Who says you have to choose one real estate agency in Shanghai?
If you contact at least two companies, the probability for getting a quick and decent reply is doubled. I sent a standarized mail to all of the companies I found on Google (at least 8 of them…) and chose the one who gave the best and fastest reply.
3. Ask how much of the market they cover
The real estate market in Shanghai does not work in the same way as in the U. S. or Europe. In china, a landlord (house owner) will go to “every” company in Shanghai and offer them to rent out his or her house.
Then its up to the real estate companies to get a buyer who is interested in that kind of apartment/property. As you now understand, only the good real estate companies will get the landlords attention and survive by renting out apartments.
“Warning“: The prices you see in the Smartshanghai website seems to be much lower than the one in the HomeofShanghai Housing site. These prices are not necessarily real. Chinese (local, non-English speaking) landlords pay for fake ads online to get your contact information and spam you with every power they have. Believe me, if the offer seems to be “too good to be true”, it often is.