Life in China is cheap on the whole, its part of what appeals to myself and many others that choose to settle here………. However theres three important parts of life here that make back home look cheap, buying a car (import duty makes cars almost a third more expensive), getting married & buying a car (both cost about the same amount).
Today was a mile stone in that most of the expense for the house I have bought is now finished, and now its just a few bits like the TV and sofa left.
Buying a house in China isn’t like England, for a start there are very few houses, only what we in England would call an apartment or flat. With such a huge population its not viable, but the apartment complexes range from basic to high luxury and are very pleasant environments. If your buying brand new like I did then you need to visit some show homes. Sometimes on the site of where your house will be sometimes not, always decked out in very glamorous Chinese style decorated show homes, large lobbies filled with scale models of the complex and hundreds of aggressively overly keen sales people.
So you’ve visited a few and decided on a complex you would like to buy, next you need to pay a large “honest money” deposit, sorry what now? Sounds strange I know but what this does is allows you the chance to buy a house a weeds out the time wasters. You then are told a date to be at a large exhibition venue to get the chance to choose a house. On the day you turn up and show your 100,000 golden ticket and are let into a huge seed area with big screens at the front, WTF is what any non Chinese is thinking at this point. At a given time they start a “lottery” this means names and ticket numbers scroll fast across the screen until randomly it stops choosing 10 names, these people then can go through to a new area to choose the building, floor and house they want, providing its not already taken (competition is fierce). I remember sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for our “chance”, people are literally getting up and running for the door to the next “stage” pushing others out the way and hurdling fences. Its amazing to watch! Our turn came about 25 minutes in and many people had gone through, so I thought I’m going to be Chinese, knock it up a gear and went Triathlon. Luckily we got our first choice, Phew!
After all that excitement its just lots of boring money stuff, here you have to put 39% straight down and then most pay the remainder immediately, I opted for a sliding scale loan that gets cheaper over time.
The funny thing here is that you buy the house right at the start of the build, I got the keys (or not as it has cards like a hotel or you can just use a password) at the end of September, two years after I bought it! Add to that most apartments here are just an empty concrete shell without electrics, water or even plastered when you get them, so require a lot more work and cash to finish. Luckily I bought with a good company that offered decoration for just 1 RMB! Bonus!
That aside I’ve just arranged the ac and it will be fitted throughout very soon, had cupboards and other storage designed to be fitted soon and bought nearly all the furniture. The end is in sight!