Housing Advice for Tianmu

I will be moving to Taipei in August with my two kids and mother-in-law (my wife will move in May). The kids will be attending the Taipei American School and I would like to get a place nearby. We will have a car and driver, but I prefer walking. I am used to living in very rural places where everyone has a house and you often can’t see your neighbors. I know that the area around TAS is supposed to be nice, but I was told not to expect a house. My wife has been told that we should just get a 4 bedroom in Jasper Tianmu, but I would prefer a condo, townhouse, or house with more space (and hopefully less money). I have been on 591.com but my Chinese reading isn’t good. I have a budget of 180,000-300,000, but I certainly wouldn’t mind spending less. My questions are:

  1. I have been told that houses in Taipei are old and require a lot of upkeep. Is that true?

  2. Do you have any suggestions or advice regarding my desire to be in a house rather than a serviced apartment type facility like the Jasper?

  3. Is it reasonable to try and get a 5 bedroom place (incl play room and office) on my budget?

  4. Do you have any other suggestions of where I can go to see what the market is like?

Thank you in advance.

You need to find an agent. They will easily get a place for you

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Definitely need an agent who will know and find all the good places that meet your desires. They can send you info in advance and then shuttle you around immediately after you arrive if you haven’t already picked something.

Tienmu is the traditional enclave for foreign families especially those with kids in the schools there. Nearly everything is Taipei area is condo style high-rise. Very little landed property. There is some landed property in the outskirts so to speak of Tienmu and in Yangmingshan. Most will be older homes and are frequently rented by diplomotic types, business people, etc. Not many available but you might get lucky.

Most people in Taipei area that want landed property no matter what cost or distance or other, end up in a condo or high rise. You could move outside of Taipei for landed property and then commute but not the same as living in the Tienmu area with long term familiarity with foreigners and needs and wants.

Larger homes with 4-5 bedrooms landed or condo will most be older but you can find newer ones.

Jasper even larger places still have that cramped feeling.

  1. Houses, if you can find one, will be older and upkeep depends on the landlord concern.

  2. I suggest accepting that you’ll probably end up in a condo/townhouse/high rise purely because alternatives are not available. Look for the ones that meet you most important desires and expect that it could be an older building, or not new building. I love living in a serviced apartment, but as a single or couple, not with a family. Get out into a small neighborhood and meet some neighbors and give more opportunity for kids to make friends.

  3. Yes. Maybe at the higher end of budget.There is a turnover of foreingers with families coming and going in Tienmu area so the market fits your needs.You might even find a place with a central play area, pool, etc.

  4. I don’t usually recommend Facebook, but there are groups there where people who have already arrived and in your similar situation talk about all kinds of useful things. They may be able to suggest agents and will definitely have helpful tips.

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You’re definitely going to be better off with an agent. But, with the budget you have, watch out because every rat that is out there will be looking to milk you for what ever they can.

Thanks for the advice. I work from home and don’t much care for most urban amenities, so I’m fine being farther out of the city. However, I’m guessing my wife, who works in the city center, will not agree.

Any suggestions on which Facebook groups are best?

I guess should also mention that companies whose objective is to place employees in spots similar to the home country, are challenged meeting that objective. American’s for example, want the option for a yard or at least a separated house and something large with large rooms. Hard to find and they usually end up in an older building that at least meets the size requirements. Newer buildings have become smaller and smaller.

You’re killing me today, Tango!

But thanks again for the help :smiley:

As a guide a friend of mine lived on Yangmingshan and had a big place 4/5 bedrooms , huge front room, kitchen diner , other unnamed rooms. A pool and 3 gardens and paid 150k

You might want to keep in mind that in yamingshan you would need a domestic helper.

There aren’t really good restaurants there, and most of them are probably far from where you live anyway.

Depending a bit on where In yamingshan, Uber eats will also have zero to no coverage…

Food wise you want to stay in daan or xinyi, all other areas suck to various degrees

…Or you could…You know …Learn to cook since you are working at home anyway and will presumably have a decent kitchen .

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If the op has a budget for 180-300 for housing, I suspect it doesn’t make sense for him to waste time cooking.

He will probably make more money working his own thing than it cost hiring help to handle the cooking

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In Singapore everyone seems to have a domestic helper and they are very cheap. However, I never got one. I don’t like having someone else living in my house, and I’d rather my kids see and help me cook and clean up rather than believe that everything is supposed to be done for them. I work from home because I take meetings from 8pm-1am as I’m on a US schedule. But that means I get the flexibility to spend end-of-school until 8pm with the kids. Plenty of time to cook, clean up, read, teach, and learn.

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Maids are not as common in Taiwan as Singapore. Some homes have completely separate living quarters/exit/entrance so wouldn’t necessarily have to have them in the same living space as family. Or can “live out” but more chance of trouble. The gov preference is for local hires, having one from another country is more challenging but cheaper and maybe more reliable and better able to speak English.

Just got back from a 5 day house-hunting trip and I am not nearly as optimistic as I was before. Housing is way more expensive than I am used to in Singapore, and the quality and size of the available options is lacking. It looks like we’ll be rolling the dice on a house that is in bad need of renovation. The landlord says he will not start renovation until he finds a tenant so that he can make sure that he only has to renovate once. The guy seems trustworthy and showed us the recent renovation of a house next to the one we are looking at. If he comes through on this, I think the house will be more than sufficient, though still more expensive, less convenient, and lower quality than what I expected.

That it rained constantly for the time I was there didn’t help.

Anyway, I’m probably just anxious about the move…certainly I just want to get there and have the transition completed.

Unfortunately, it rains a lot here in Taiwan, especially in the northern part. Tianmu is actually drier than Xindian. Nevertheless, invest in a couple of good dehumidifiers.

If you do not speak Chinese, the options are limited and more expensive because the real estate agents know you are an expat and the company pays, not you. The mark up is… astonishing.

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My wife is a native speaker and I speak Chinese at about an eighth grade level. We did our own research and also reached out to individual landlords such that we feel we are at least in the ballpark regarding the prices we’ve been quoted. We also asked current tenants (divided about 50-50 among Chinese and non-Chinese folks) what they were paying. I think the issue for us is there just isn’t the quality and size we are looking for in the market in which we want to live. Because we’ve decided that we still want to live there, we also must compromise on either size or quality (or both).

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I don’t remember your move schedule but I don’t think I would get tied up with a location that needs renovation.

As you already can see it may be hard to find exactly what you’re looking for. Most don’t find what they’re looking for so they adjust expectation to a level that they can accept for the time.

Maybe an option is to consider living in a serviced apartment until you can take your time and wait or find one you want that opens up.

But even waiting may not guarantee you find it.

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My wife is already spending Mon-Fri in Taipei and will move there full time in early June. The rest of the family will move the first week of August. We will have 1 month in a serviced apartment paid for by her company. If we get a deal with the landlord in the next week or so, that gives him 2-3 months to complete renovations.

Stupid question here: what does the “L” and the “W” stand for?

Residential : 8 R 4 L 5 W
Floor Size : 182.48 Ping

You are looking at a site with bad Chinese to English translation
Room layouts in Taiwan are stated as

8房4廳5衛

Which means 8 bedrooms, 4 “living rooms”, 5 bath rooms
So the W above is probably a “wash room”

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