WAB will arrange and prepare basic housing for new overseas hire teachers in serviced apartments - either 1, 2 or 3-bedroom units according to your family size. The location is yet to be finalized, but it will likely be a serviced apartment building, (last year it was - Jiu Xian Gong Yu, near 798 art district) which means that it would provide the following basics:
• Furniture – table, chairs, beds and wardrobes, sofas, etc.
• Appliances – telephone, cooking stove, oven, microwave, washing machine, TV, refrigerator, etc.
• Utensils – cooking utensils and dinner ware for at least the number of people occupying
It is likely that this pre-arranged accommodation will be fixed for a period of two months (until the end of September), with an option to extend for one additional month. Moving out before the lease expires will incur a penalty (paying until the end of two months at your personal expense). After the
fixed term, you may choose to move out or stay in. However, in our personal experience as long as you advise the school IN ADVANCE that you require a shorter period (i.e. your lease goes in earlier, or you're staying with friends etc.) you won't incur the penalty.
Outside of serviced apartments arranged by WAB, most privately owned rented properties are furnished with basic furniture (wardrobes, tables,
chairs and beds) as well as electrical appliances (like refrigerators and washing machines). These can be in a varying state of repair and landlords are often reluctant to remove or store them. Make sure you explicitly discuss what you want to keep / not keep before you sign a lease.
You will need to bring or obtain your own supply of kitchen utensils, dinnerware, bed linens, towels, etc. This is easily purchased at Ikea, Muij, Carrefour etc.
In order to avoid the peak pricing around August / September, you have one of two options - trying to find something before the summer (from departing staff) and lock in to a lease starting mid August / early September (you'll be camping until your shipment arrives mid/end October); or stay a bit longer in the serviced apartments.
Whatever you decide, it's a good idea for bonding and logistics to join in with the rest of the Newbies in the serviced apartments at least until school starts.
Agent recommended by Nadine Bailey: Jennie WeChat ID: jenniezzz
Recommended by Grant Clark: this property agent in Lido, she was honest and very helpful. Alin, WeChat ID: baoling5085
Sanyuanqiao (Phoenix City)
Good for kids. 2 playgrounds and a pool. Rent varies from 12-30k depending on which phase and how many bedrooms. Metro line is right beside the complex so its about 15-20 mins to Maquanying (metro closest to WAB - about 3km away)
Sharon Gibbons recommends: Phoenix City, WeChat ID: Tracy-CR and/or WeChat ID: peterxhf. They speak English well and are very helpful
Recommendation from Ludivine Kennedy: WeChat ID for realtor for Beijing Riviera : Sunny338898
The village is 3km from WAB. Its a much more local area to live than a gated community, that's for sure. It's home to a diverse group, with a mixture of expats (including several teachers/families from WAB and Harrow International School which is next door, businessmen, Art Curators etc.), Chinese migrant workers, local Beijing ren and many stray dogs living in the area.
Accommodation styles vary in Hegezhuang. There are one bedroom shacks used by the migrant workers, 2-3Bedroom two-story apartments with shared hallways, courtyards etc (around 10-15k per month) and large renovated, private courtyard style homes (costing about 25k++ per month).
You can't beat the convenience of being around the corner from WAB and all its facilities, especially if you have kids.
you do need to watch your step to avoid blobs of spit or dog droppings.
Like other places the 'Beijing stink' is also common, which is caused from dodgy plumbing and pipes.
There aren't that many green places for little kids to play and the expat kids don't really socialise that much together in the village so you'd want to look at a nearby nursery if you had a young kid who likes to be around others during the day.
Hegezhuang is a bit of a maze for non-residents at times. The houses are not numbered chronologically but as they were constructed, so you often need to go out and around, searching for your friends or the delivery guy on their first few visits - but that just adds a bit more fun to living there
Villas - opposite Beijing Riviera. Lovely leafy community. A few teaching couples live there and some WAB families. There is a school bus pickup each day. Older renovation inside but villas are spacious and have a yard, garage etc so great for families and pets. Rent approx. 30k+ per month. and places are snapped up quickly.