Well the deal on the apartment fell through today. The landlord who lives in Japan decided a 6-month lease wasn’t worth the trouble. Disappointing but I did think it was a tad small… so we spent the entire evening viewing more properties. Walked all over the damn place in the cold. I’m talking frost-bite/numbing cold. The real estate process in Shanghai is kind of tedious. They don’t use lockboxes. So every viewing has to be coordinated with the landlord, and since all of the properties are vacant and traffic here is ridiculous, you end up blowing another 10-20 minutes waiting for the landlord to show.
For one of the properties on our list, the landlord told us to get the key from his friend. So we get there, and our agent starts ringing the doorbell and pounding on the door for about 10 minutes straight. John and I start laughing because to us, it’s obvious no one is home. The agent finally calls the landlord again and instead of saying no one is home (that would challenge the landlord’s information), the agent says innocently, “I’m ringing the doorbell and the door isn’t opening.” The landlord calls his friend again and calls us back, saying his friend is in the apartment. So apparently, the guy’s in there and he hasn’t heard the continuous chime of the doorbell and the repeated knocking?? The agent resumes his irritating sequence of chiming and pounding… and then finally we hear a woman say she’s coming. But then the door opens and it’s a guy in gym clothes with wet hair. He gives our agent the key and says to drop it in the mailbox afterwards. Do NOT return it to him, he stresses. Just drop it in the box. Hmm, I think I know why no one was coming to the door…
After a full evening of trekking around XuHui District, we ultimately decide on a 2 BR apartment upstairs from the real estate agent’s office (the first unit we saw that night, of course). It isn’t two minutes to the metro as we had originally wanted but there is so much construction in the area immediately surrounding the metro that we figure this will be okay. We’re only signing a six month lease.