Our Apartment in Suzhou SIP (video/photos)

As I mentioned a couple weeks back, we’re moving to a new apartment at the end of the month.

As it is fully furnished (I’ve yet to rent an apartment here that isn’t – though some call into question the definition of “fully”), yesterday we had to head over to the new place and meet with the landlady and realtor to make an itemized list of all the goodies the apartment comes with.

SIP ApartmentWe had been somewhat nonchalant about getting it done, but the realtor impressed upon us the importance, as they’ve had landlords walk out with major appliances before the tenant moves in, and then deny they were ever in the agreement.

Things didn’t start off great, as on our arrival the first order of business was the issue of the extended cable (or satellite, I’m still not clear which it is) TV the owner of the apartment had already pre-paid for.

Maggie watches the odd show on Chinese TV, but mostly we get our fill from TV-on-DVD and so don’t have much need for even the basic cable package. As such, when the landlady informed us we were going to be required to pay an additional 210 RMB/mo., we were a bit annoyed.

SIP ApartmentShe explained that we get HK MTV, CINEMAX, and some other all-caps names I recognized (CNN, BBC, etc.) and it was well worth the money. We explained we didn’t care, and if it was a payment we must make, it should have been outlined in the contract or at least discussed before we agreed to take the apartment.

That seemed to give her enough to go back to the owner with and say “hey, I tried”, as she quickly conceded and said it was no big deal.

Looks like we’ve got free cable.

SIP ApartmentOther than that, it was mostly just a lot of walking around and turning things on. I’ve noticed there’s a bit of an obsession with kicking the tires in this country. Not to say it’s not a completely practical thing to do, but it just seems to be taken to the extreme. Supermarkets have official testing stations where you can make sure your tea kettle or DVD player turns on. It’s always just left me wondering how useless a shop’s return policy is.

And in the case of our apartment, instead of putting my mind at ease by showing me everything works, it just made me wonder if this was going to be the grounds by which my landlord would eventually put on us that we should be the ones buying the new A/C unit: “Hey, it worked when you moved in.”

Getting a bit bored of following Maggie around and watching her turn on taps – and listing to the landlady explain to us the fantastic quality of the fixtures, I made a little video tour of our place.

We’ve not started packing yet, but have to admit, we’re both pretty geared to move. Though I’m sure the feeling of the place will change after we’ve lived in the neighbourhood a while, walking around the place now feels like we’re on vacation at some Floridian condo resort.

We’re shooting to have a house-warming BBQ shortly after moving in, so any readers in Suzhou (or better yet, in the neighbourhood), you’re welcome to swing by.

21 Responses

  1. I’m all too familiar with the process of checking everything in the apartment. It does suck that they have the line “It worked when you moved in.” I’ve had plenty of appliances break since moving in 11 months ago. I think I preferred the empty apartments back home filled with my own junk…all I had to do was clean everything before moving out to get my deposit back.

  2. hey your apartment looks both new and nice, so congrats!

    question: is your kitchen counter designed for midgets or is it normal (western) height? i have yet to live in an apartment here that has regular height counters and although it’s not such a big deal, it makes washing dishes necessitate a trip to the chiropractor. i did actually look at a place that had regular height counters once, but the landlord took that into consideration and was charging my left nut (monthly) for it.

  3. Ryan, you have two washrooms!? And even a separate dining room… Wow! Emerging Chinese bourgeois class:-)

    Interesting, how much would it cost to buy such apartment/condominium?

    What about tear-and-wear policy? If you live there for several years for sure some things might break. It might not be that cheap to fix it.

  4. @JohnG: Anytime you feel up for it, you’re always welcome.

    @ChinaMatt: I do miss the “owning stuff” thing, but as this marks 20-something times I’ve moved in my adult life, six in China alone, furnished apartments do make things easier in that regard.

    @JamesJames: I *think* they’re typical waist-high counters and I agree dishes and any amount of cooking tends to give me a kink in my back.

    @維特利: Yup – that’s me – bourgeois. But I’m no emerging Chinese (well.. I don’t think I am…), I’m full on filthy foreign pig bourgeois. As for how much it would buy, I’ve really no idea. I would guess that it would be in the 7000-8000RMB/m², and our place is 115m².

    The wear-and-tear policies here in China seem to be… hmm… underdeveloped. From my experience at least, it’s a much more subjective process – and can vary wildly depending on your landlord and how much of a fuss you raise. Hard and fast rules like a wear-and-tear clause in a contract are much less common than back West.

  5. Do you know anything about the Dragonfly Serviced Apartment (link below)? How is Dragonfly compared to your new place? As far as price, Dragonfly is approx. $650 for 85sqm.

  6. What an awesome apartment. Congratz!
    When I was looking around in Nanjing for a place I found an ad for a first floor-with a small yard. I jumped on it, but alas, it was already rented out. As much as I love living in giant high-rises ;), I’d take a place with a grass any day.

  7. Ryan,

    Do you know off the top of your head if they rent this type of apt for something as short as 2-3 month? and may I ask how much would something like this cost per month? Looking for future vacation plans.
    We visit Shanghai for two weeks every two years and stay in an comparable apartment that cost us about $100 usd/day. We would love to stay longer if the price was more reasonable.


    Alvin Li

  8. Nice! And will you keep an Austrian daddy in your “Secret Storage Room”?

    Anyways, hope I can make it over next year! Good luck with the move.

  9. Whoa… let these comments get away from me a bit.

    @Arthur: I’ve never been in a Dragonfly apartment – isn’t Dragonfly a massage parlor? Meh – as for price, they’re considerably more expensive. 4000-5000 is $60-200 dollars more than we’re paying, for 50% more space (115m² compared to DF’s 85m²). Though, I’m not sure what sort of ‘service’ you get – particularly if it’s attached to the massage parlor.

    @Jason: We were either going to be up top or down below. I don’t know if it’s the same in Nanjing, but most Suzhou apartment buildings have awesome penthouses with a balcony the size of a small yard.

    @JohnG: Definitely – just give me a ring.

    @Alvin: I really couldn’t say. $100 USD/day seems rather high though. We rented an apartment (by the day) in Hainan (where hotels are pricer than Shanghai) and it cost us about $45/day. Though they were smaller than our new apartment.

    @Kim: You’re welcome back anytime! And yup, someone’s gotta keep the gimp company.

    @Gabrielle: I’ll be using the dryer just for its novelty value for a few weeks after we move in, but after that I can really only see using the dryer when it is extremely humid or extremely cold – the rest of the time, I’m quite happy to hang my gitch for all to see outdoors.

  10. Ahhh…..reminds me when Amanda and I used to live at block 15 in Jia Yi Yuan. Good luck with the move mate and say Hi to big Kev (and David, Niamh and their little boy – another Canadian on the 5th floor) for me upstairs from you guys. PS – When I was living in Jia Yi Yuan, I used to suffer from back pain from cooking and cleaning in the kitchen………..solution? – I got myself and Ayi!!!

  11. Your landlord is loud, haha. Welcome to SIP – the heaven in heaven, that’s where my place is too. Guess what? I’m going home, for good. Yeah, time to say ‘Bye’ to New Zealand. I’ll definitely be home before the Olympic games start. I’ll catch you up and maybe have another beer? I’ll shout 🙂

  12. @Phil: I’ve, as yet, not been able to bring myself to do it. As busy as I am, I just feel lazy having someone clean up after me.

    @Tian: That’s awesome you’re coming back/returning home. Rest assured that should you miss the first BBQ, there’ll be plenty more.

  13. Hey bro, I can’t believe that’s another part of Suzhou! It does sort of look like a Florida condo now that you mention it..

  14. Hey I like your new appartment, how did you get it ? Do you have a contact or a real estate office or something.
    I am going to Suzhou Univ. for an exchange program with some other friends from Italy, France, Germany and me from Mexico, but we ara still looking for a nice big apartment for us or a real estate asesor.

    I will be very thankfull if could send me the contact or something,

    best regards

  15. Hey Ramiyro, we actually just moved out of there and into a new place (post about it soon). I don’t really have any real-estate agencies that I’d recommend (as they’re all pretty much the same). I would just suggest finding one or two and ask to see a few places in your price range meeting your specs. It’s been my experience that most apartments in SIP are pretty much cardboard cutouts of each other when dealing with similar size/price range.

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