安居客 [CHINESE] http://beijing.anjuke.com/rental/
我爱我家 [CHINESE] http://bj.5i5j.com/rent/
赶集 [Chinese] http://bj.ganji.com/fang1/
58.com [CHINESE] http://bj.58.com/zufang/
Anyproperty (CBD LIDO LUFTHANSA SANLITUN SHUNYI VILLA focused, higher end) http://www.anyproperty.net
The Beijinger http://www.thebeijinger.com/classifieds ... s-for-Rent
City Weekend http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/c ... s/housing/
Google Maps http://maps.google.com/
Baidu Ditu http://ditu.baidu.com/
Public Transit Information
北京公共交通集团 (bus routes by location and destination) http://www.bjbus.com/home/index.php
ExploreBeijing (interactive metro map) http://www.explorebj.com/subway/
Beijing is a big city notorious for its congestion. You'd be well advised to try your best to live somewhere reasonably close to your place of work or study. More than a handful of bus stops can easily take half an hour during rush hours. Try to find a place within a couple kilometers and you'll then have the option of walking on the more pleasant fall and spring days, or alternatively biking if it isn't raining. Near a subway stop is great, but I'd say not to compromise too much on distance from your daily destination in favor of a subway stop and living further away - similar to too many bus stops, having to take the subway for too long each day can become a serious grind, no matter what time of day it is.
This post can't possibly cover all the neighborhoods of Beijing, but a range can be provided to at least help form expectations on the most popular areas. I've given the ranges below based on those with the most listings from the AnJuKe website - one should keep in mind that typically the range below also has significant listings (i.e. there are plenty in CBD for 3000-5000 also, but the most fall in the 5000-8000); thus these ranges shouldn't be seen as average rents paid but rather the range with the most options. I've only done listings for full 1 bedroom apartments, which should give a general idea on other costs for the area (sublet room < studio < 1 bedroom apartment < …). The Beijinger is loading slow as molasses for me at the moment - I may add sublet ranges for these areas if the website starts loading for me more quickly later.
1 bedroom apartments (updated 13 May 2012) [from http://beijing.anjuke.com/rental/]
Chaoyang CBD 5000-8000 RMB
Haidian Wudakou 3000-5000 RMB
Dongcheng 3000-5000 RMB
Dongcheng Dongzhimen 5000-8000 RMB
Xicheng 3000-5000 RMB
Finding an apartment
The websites above can be helpful in getting an idea of what is available where, and might even lead to a good apartment, although my observation is that usually the best apartments are found by going in person to the desired area/小区 and inquiring directly with the local agent or landlords.
Those interested in mid- to high-scale apartments in the CBD might find the following strategy helpful: using the HOZE map of complexes in the CBD determine a few which are close to your desired location (i.e. near work). Find the Chinese counterpart on this page. Then use that search term in one of the Chinese listing sites and you'll see the rents drop. (E.g. searching Anjuke for 泰悦豪庭 instead of HOZE for Taiyue Heights yields similar size/quality 1 bedrooms for around 5500-6000 instead of 8000).
Many ads placed online are typically by agents. They can be helpful in reducing the amount of leg work you have to do, but typically will have a fee equal to one month, paid by either the tenant or landlord, and sometimes negotiable. You should clarify this when responding to online ads; if you're trying to search online you'll find that a large number of postings at the above websites are actually posts from agencies such as 我爱我家 or 21世纪 - which may be an indication that you might be better off just going directly to the area desired and inquiring at those offices rather than muddling through all their webpages.
Frequently building management fees and heating are included in rent; electricity, internet, etc frequently are not. Again, be clear about this.
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Be happy no matter what....