Finding Somewhere to Live

Hey, I’ve got some advice:
No matter how good your Chinese is:

I’m currently looking for an apartment in Taipei, and thought that since I can speak Chinese, and one of my Taiwanese friends gave me some advice on not being ripped off, that I was ready. I wasn’t ready.

I went to this aparment building which has a lot of empty apartments, and asked to see a few. After seeing one I liked, I decided to use my friend’s advice and bargain on the rent price…well, before I could even start, the guard who showed me the apartment said, “before I call the landlord for you, you need to know that you have to give me $3000nt for showing you the apartment, and you can’t bargain” What!!! I said, uh, isn’t this your job? He said, no, this was something else…then, I basically said no way. He called the landlord, and because he was hovering over me, I felt a little intimidated…I wasn’t ready to discuss a lower rent with her, but I did get her down to 1 month deposit. Then, he took back the phone and of course went on in Taiwanese about something…

Anyway, I used my Taiwanese friend’s tactic of saying mabye and coming back the next day…but the doorman wouldn’t call her for me saying it was “Sunday” and she wouldn’t want to be disturbed…he also wouldn’t give me her phone number! Well, I think you can figure out why…

So, anyway, I’m giving up and taking my most shrewd bargaining Taiwanese friend with me…I just can’t believe even after you can speak Chinese, they still think they can pull the wool over your eyes.

(but I’m sure there are also some very fair landlords and doormen, too)

Good idea !!!
…take some Chinese friend who is really shrewd and pushy… in business Chinese seem to repsect this above all else…and make sure you be pushy over even the smallest details

Just wanted everyone to know that it works…I went with a Chinese friend and suddenly…everything was cheaper! 1 month’s deposit, rent includes guard fee, and no “extras” for the doorman…yep, don’t do it alone.

You can alsodo this with motorcycles, computers at some shops and most large purchases in Taiwan, not just apartments.

Bargaining is a way of life on Taiwan and at some point, you should try to do it on your own. It’ll sharpen your negotiating skills and you’ll get a better understanding of business on the island. Although, there’s nothing wrong with calling in Chinese support too. Its works even better when you 2v1 somebody.

Last apartment I had I saved NT$3000 on the monthly rent and took the deposit down to one month. My motorcycle went that way too.

Of course, each person on Taiwan is different, so there will be different levels of acceptance when it comes to bargaining. But, I think if you don’t do it, then they’ll think you’re another ben ben de wai gwo ren.

Salary also can easily go up, when you negotiate as well.

The most basic strategy is pointing out the deficiencies of something you want to purchase to get that price down, and pointing out the positives when you want to start out with a bigger salary. Try to be willing to lose what you’re buying (you can always go to the next place) and don’t promise too much when you’re selling (otherwise you get your self in hot water when they find you can’t deliver). By doing this, you’ll be able to see your income go up 10 to 20% and your expenses go down another 10 to 20%.

If you feel uncomfortable in bargaining, just call in a Chinese friend, and then you can also listen him/her to know how to do it the next time.

I have to say, I’ve bargained for stuff before, but I don’t think for a foreigner to do it themselves every time works. In the case of my apartment, I’m living in an area where there are not many new apartments (Shi Men Ding), so I really didn’t want to lose it, because it was cheaper than a lot of others, and really good. (and, despite what a lot of people say, there aren’t really that many good, affordable apartments in Central Taipei with good landlords.)

Also, just when something happens like the security guard starts B.S’ing me about some special fees etc, I can’t help it, I get nervous and feel like I need a Chinese friend’s help…it’s not a bad idea, actually, in America my Asian friends often asked me to do this kind of thing with them because they were afraid that they would be ripped off…

Yeah, it’s just like this, it’s just better to save money, and I’m not gonna be proud about it, if I have a chance to save money, I really don’t care if I do the bargaining or my Taiwanese friend does it…but yeah, by the way, for smaller stuff I always do it myself…I just felt a little stuck about the apartment because I don’t know Taipei that well, etc.

Can you guys please tell me how difficult it is to rent an appartment in Taipei for 3 months (mid Jun - mid Sept), under NT10,000/month? Thanks a lot.

First, for less than NT$10,000 per month, you’re renting a room, not an apartment.

Second, people don’t usually like to rent short-term. You might have to lie and say you’re staying a year, then have a “sudden emergency”. You’ll likely give up a month’s rent for the privilege of moving out early (that is if you’re on a lease).

Renting a room from someone who has himself rented the apartment from the landlord might be easier. depends on what you can work out.

i heard there is some decently clean hostels for between 6-8000 a month

Is it just me or is it hard to find an apartment here? Am i missing something that everyone else knows about? (For the record we want a one bed place with kitchen, near an MRT somewhere!)

My ex roomie (she went home 3 weeks ago) and I got our place through an estate agent after being screwed by foreigners in the place we got through Tealit. We were left with 9 days notice to find a new place! Not a cool or fun time.
If you want the number of the estate agent who sorted us out, pm me.
The big draw back though would be their fees, the equivelant of a month’s rental. On the plus side though, everything has been above board.

Depends on how much you pay and where you want to live. Walk along Zhong Shan N. Rd in Tien Mou between TAS and Subway and you’ll a good number of apartment listings.

Can anyone reccomend a good English speaking housing agent to me?

Be warned… Master Reality screwed my wife and I in a major way…

We thought they were great which they were until the end. We told them two months in advance that we would have all of our stuff out of the apartment on May 15th and were fully paid until then (our contract ended then also). We stopped staying in the apartment on April 30 and had everything moved out except alot of imported foods, vodka etc., and a 15000 NT rug we purchased when we moved in.
The reason for leaving the refrigirated items was we didnt have a refigirator yet and we had no space for the rug on our last trip out.
So anyways, on May 8th when I went back with my wife’s uncle to get all the food and the rug I went in and noticed everything was gone and after further inspection I noticed someone had moved all of their clothes in.
So after cooling down for a minute I called the agent to find out what the hell was going on. She said “we have been trying to contact you to show the apartment to another waiguoren, and since no one answered we thought you guys already left so we showed it and he has already moved in”
So I then ask calmly “where the fuck is the food and rug”. Oh we just threw them out since you left them… Even after many hours on the phone and at the office we couldn’t accomplish anything. We couldn’t get any money for the rug, after all from what they say “It’s just a rug” and the same with the food and my damn Vodka. And to top it off they wouldn’t even apologize, saying we didn’t answer the phone, so it’s our fault.
So I wimped out, gave up, couldn’t take the sheer stupidity of these people anymore so I got screwed in the end, but not without watching her cute little Hello Kitty snowglobe get smashed into hundreds of peices. (before I walked out, my temper took control of my arm and turned in to Nolan Ryan’s and the Hello Kitty snowglobe that was looking so cute on her desk got used as a fastball against her concrete wall in her shitty, cute like a 10 year old, pink office).

I would advise not using them since if you go on vacation or dont answer their calls for a couple of days your stuff will be gone!!!

[quote=“cw.jc”] (before I walked out, my temper took control of my arm and turned in to Nolan Ryan’s and the Hello Kitty snowglobe that was looking so cute on her desk got used as a fastball against her concrete wall in her shitty, cute like a 10 year old, pink office).

Your reaction seems tame. I’d have blown a gasket if that happened to me.

hello. i think that this post is as much a way for me to vent, as it is a cry for help on how to go about finding an apartment in taipei (without paying an agent). so today i had a chinese friend write for me “hello, my girlfriend and i are looking to rent an apartment, do you have any available that we could view?”. so away i go, optimistic and eager to make something happen. time and time and time again ( i would guess over 50 buildings) i would enter with a smile, present my stupid note to the doorman, wait for him to read it, only to have him reply in chinese “we don’t have”. this happened every single time except for in one apartment where the guy took down my number and said that his boss would get a hold of me. so imagine me, hot and sweaty standing in the lobby of these behemoth buildings that i would guess have like 200-500 different apartments told time and again that in these enormous living quarters, there is not one single vacancy available to be viewed. so logically speaking, what else can i do? is it that the doorman has no access to empty apartments? is there a specific time i should return? is it that he is intimidated by my lack of chinese? should i hire someone who speaks chinese to come with??? i am really really frustrated and any insight anyone would provide would be fantastic…thanks

I think door people are out of the loop on what is for lease and they often don’t have keys. Our building has a staff of about 8 on roster and after 5 months they still can’t remember which floor the bearded big-nose lives - how are they going to know who is leasing which apartments. NONE of our door people have a contact number for our landlord - we know because there was an emergency and there was no contact number! I know that our landlord is currently selling our apartment and has said to not tell the door people that it is on the market -when potential buyers come they are our “new friends” It is weird.

You may pay more in the end but will save some hassle on the way if you use an agent.

Yeah, you’re talking to the wrong guy. You might as well ask the kids coming in and out of the buiilding for all the good it’ll do. You need to ask a Chinese friend to help you or go to an agent. This is not a DIY job for a foreigner with little Mandarin ability. Sorry to be so bklunt, just trying to save you some frustration.

BTW, where are you looking to live? There are always apartments available at [url=Lotus Hill - La Dolce Vita in Taiwan Hill[/url], it seems. But that’s a half hour commute every day.

The way you look for an apartment is like this: and trust me, I found my (great) apartment this way. It’s MUCH better than going through an agent …

  1. You get a Mandarin-speaking friend with some stamina.
  2. You go together to the area you’re interested in renting in.
  3. You look for little notice-boards with little bits of coloured paper in them, many of which are red - they’re all over the place. These have apartment ads on them.
  4. You look at the ones you’re interested in, get your friend to phone them, and go and view the flat.
  5. Some landlords this way will only ask for one month’s deposit, unlike for apartments advertised in other ways.

Make sure your friend doesn’t try to push you into renting the third or so apartment you see just to save time - it can be time-consuming, but you’re going to sign a one-year lease which might be breakable after six months or so, probably at the earliest, so you need to be happy with the apartment.

are there any other english websites with housing classifieds for taipei? i’ve scoured tealit and this one and i’m not finding much… :help: