There are no English language newspapers which list available housing for rent. The best place to look on your own is online or in the various classified sections of Beijing’s English-language magazines, CityWeekend and theBeijinger. Daily updated housing ads can be found online. These are constantly updated and will give you a good idea of what’s available and at what prices.
Real Estate Agencies:
Century 21 – A large, worldwide real estate agency with 140 branches in Beijing. English-speaking agents can be reached at any location. http://www.century21cn.com
Cushman & Wakefield – International agency providing service for corporate and high-end clients. http://www.cushmanwakefield.com
Joanna Real Estate – Providing real estate and relocation services to expats in Beijing and other large Chinese cities. English speaking agents can be requested. http://www.joannarealestate.com.cn/beijing/
Real estate agents dealing with international clients charge a commission based on rent. In upscale apartments the commission for the agent will usually equal one month’s rent from the landlord.
Agents from reputable agencies who deal with international clients are usually very professional, courteous, and capable. They also often have their own transportation or will foot the bill when taking you around in a taxi. Agents will meet you at your location and take you to your destination. Depending on what your employer has agreed to, you may find yourself very well taken care of when apartment/house hunting. The real estate agent may liaise with your company to hire a driver and car to be used at your disposal (billed to your employer).