Registration Form of Temporary Residence

Foreigners living in China are required to register at their local police station within 24 hours arrival at their destination. This registration lasts for one year, after which the process has to be redone. This is in addition to needing to get a yearly re-authorization of the Alien Employment Permit, as well as a visa. The latter two have been handled for me by an agency, and are relatively painless.

The former has sucked. Since I was renting my apartment, I needed to have first my landlord involved in the authorization. Well, collection of property taxes seems tied to the office in which I was supposed to register. I’ll be polite and say that she was doing her best to minimize the amount of taxes that she paid… going so far as to try to register me as living at another apartment in an area in which she had connections with the police department. (Didn’t work for me because of my need to show my real address in other documents.)

This weekend, Sunshine and I registered at the police station serving the community in which are new apartment is located. The real estate agent, who has been wonderful throughout the purchasing process, was along with us. It took about 30 minutes to get the permit… including walking to a local hotel to use their copying machine.

A wonderful experience.

Paperwork Signed

S2 and I spent a couple of hours yesterday at the real estate office signing papers. I’ve bought and sold a number of houses in the states, and the process was nothing like this. First off, the current owners were in the office with us. I’ve never experienced this before… usually, the paperwork is signed by the sellers and then buy the owners. The next thing was the negotiations happening even then… for example, trying to get the realty fee dropped from the customary 3% (we got it dropped to 2.4$). Also, the amount of paperwork was far less than in California. That said, it took so much longer to go through.

Reality in China is somewhat of a mill. This office had probably seats for 14 agent, crammed together in undersized desks. There were around six there at the time we were handling the transaction (starting at 3 pm).

Another interesting thing is that an escrow account isn’t used. When we put a down-payment on the property (which had to be delayed until this morning because the bank was closed), the money is transferred directly into the seller’s bank account. Sure, there’s paperwork signed and sealed saying that you’re the one who’s sent the money, but it is still a damn unnerving feeling

I’ll be adding more updates, as well as photos, soon.

Buying an Apartment in Beijing

My girlfriend and I have been looking to purchase an apartment in Beijing. We’ve looked in various districts over the past few months.

Our experience from looking at online sites so far is that the following:

  • Pictures
  • Price
  • Area
  • Description
  • Availability

seem to not line-up at all with what one sees when actually the place in person.

And, from talking with both house hunters and agencies, this seems to be well known.

Kinda reminds me of what I’ve heard regarding ordering some other services online.