Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On the Move: Finding a Home in Taiwan

Listings on the office window, Taiwan Realty, Bade

We have been in Taiwan about three years.  September 14 will be the three-year mark.  It also means that our lease in our current domicile will soon be expiring.  There have been a number of changes that have taken place, since we got here and we have decided it’s time to move.

When we were looking for this home, people told us that Taiwanese landlords were difficult to work with.  For one, they didn’t want to fix anything; they didn’t clean or paint before you moved in:  They were just plain difficult to work with.  But thatwasn’t our experience the first time, we have a wonderful landlord, who has been nothing but helpful.  Part of the reason for that is that we’re foreigners.  We were talking with the landlord recently about why we won’t be renewing our lease and he said, “Because you’re foreigners you will have favor in Taiwan.”  That has certainly been our experience. 

So we have begun the process to find another place.  This time we’re looking for a flat that is up around the twelfth or thirteenth floor, or higher if we can find it.  It will take a good deal of downsizing but I think it will be good for us.

John (2nd from left) and his co-workers
There is a process for finding an apartment in Taiwan.  The simplest method is to find a real estate agent and he/she will look up flats that meet your criteria and show them to you.  There are several advantages to this.  Often the real estate agents know the owner and can negotiate with him/her.  They do all the footwork and make the arrangements for you.  You just show up and look.

There is one thing that’s difficult, and that is that if you find one on your own, it may be difficult to find out which real estate office lists it.  They don’t seem to have a multiple listing service like real estate agents in the US.  You have to find the office with the listing.

Most apartments in Taiwan are for sale, so when you want to rent one, you have to find an owner that’s renting.  You can’t just show up at the office and ask for vacancies, this is the main reason you need an agent.  There may be more than one apartment for rent in a building or community but each one has a different agent, so it’s hard to find out who lists the apartments.

For us, because our Chinese is so poor, we have to find an agent that speaks English. We got very lucky to meet an agent; his English name is John, on his first day of work at Taiwan Realty in downtown Bade.  His English is excellent and he’s a lot of fun.  I think his boss realized he’d made a good choice, when foreigners showed up and he was the only one who could communicate with us. 

John showed us a number of places that met our criteria.  I, for one, want to live in a new modern place, and we all want a view.  Often, apartments are close together and the view out your window might be of a wall, or into the window of the next apartment over.  We haven’t found the perfect one yet.  They seem to be pretty small.  We’re not opposed to downsizing but we still want to keep our washer and dryer, and our good old American refrigerator.  The refrigerator we have wouldn’t fit into our kitchen so we left it in the garage.  I’ve seen people stop and stare at it when the garage door is opened.   They think all Americans are fatties, anyway.  You should see them look at out cart at Costco. I always try to tell them we live an hour from Costco and only come once a month.  They always smile, roll their eyes and say, “Suuuure.” I know they don’t believe me, they think I’m just fat.  They’ll know what fat’s all about, when I roll my wheelchair over their toe!

This looks interesting, look at the close-up below

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Photos by Chris and Emily Banducci

1 comment:

  1. When we moved to Belize we had some of the guys from church help us unload our container. As a way of saying thank you, I cooked them a nice big dinner. When I served the first guy he asked if the plate was only for him so I replied yes. Then the second guy is like "See I told you if you move to America you will get fat in 1 week!" LOL!