Finding houses in Taiwan is hard because the biggest listings are in Chinese. Let me show you the best website to find properties in Taiwan.
What is the best website to find apartments and houses in Taiwan?
591 has by far the most extensive listings for places to live in Taiwan available on the net.
The coolest thing with 591 is that you don’t have to go through a Taiwanese real estate company. You can contact the property’s owner by yourself or with the help of a friend who can speak Chinese.
You can find thousands and thousands of properties to rent or buy on that website.
But there’s one little problem… It’s all in Chinese!
How can you use 591 if you can’t read Chinese?
The first thing you should do if you want to access the biggest list of homes to rent or buy in Taiwan, is to get Google Chrome for free. This browser does the best Chinese to English translation I’ve seen.
Once you have Google Chrome installed:
1. Click the wrench icon next to the browser toolbar.
2. Choose Settings.
3. Click the Under the Hood tab.
4. Click the “Offer to translate pages that aren’t in a language I read” checkbox to enable this feature.
Once you’ve got this enabled on your computer, finding an apartment or a house in Taiwan will be much easier.
Do you want to rent or buy a home in Taiwan?
On 591, near the top of the page, you will see a bunch of grey tabs.
Select either RENT or SELL.
SELL is where you’ll find houses to buy – the translation is not very accurate.
Where do you want to live?
Next, you’ll want to tell 591 where you want to look for houses in Taiwan.
Right below the grey tabs, you’ll see City and Township. Click City.
From there you’ll see a list of the big cities around Taiwan: Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan, Hsinchu, Hualien, Taoyuan, Miaoli, Keelung, Chiayi… Select one of them.
After that, you’ll have to choose a district.
Search a house that fits your need
Once you’ve selected a location, you might want to narrow down your search by price, size, number of rooms, housing types, amenities, furnished or not. You’ll find those options in the left column.
Once you’ve narrowed it down, and you’ve found a home that interests you, you can contact the owner directly. The name, phone number, and email address of the owner are next to the big green telephone icon.
Should you go with a real estate company?
If you’re looking to rent or buy an apartment or house in Taiwan and you can’t speak Mandarin Chinese or don’t have a friend who can help you out with your search, then a real estate agent can become very handy.
Most real estate companies around Taiwan (especially in Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung) will have at least one realtor who has decent English skills.
Taiwanese Real Estate Companies – The Cost!
If you decide to get your house or apartment through a real estate agency, you will have to either pay a fixed commission (if you buy), or half a month of rent (if you rent). So if your monthly rent for your new place is 20000NT$, you’ll have to pay a commission of 10000NT$ to the realtor.
Bargain, bargain, bargain!
Cut that price down.
Never say yes to the first price asked! Never!
Doesn’t matter if you’re dealing directly with the house’s owner or with a realtor, you should not agree to the first price they offer you. I’ve rented many apartments in Taiwan, and I’ve helped tons of friends find houses in Taipei and Taichung and I’ve always been able to cut down the rental price or the deposit.
How much is the deposit for a rental apartment in Taiwan?
Lots of people ask for a 3-month deposit when you rent a place in Taiwan. That’s way too much! I’ve never paid that and you shouldn’t either. 2 months is the norm, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get that down to 1 month, depending on what’s in the house.
Other facts about housing in Taiwan
- Apartments and houses in Taipei are more expensive than anywhere else in Taiwan.
- Properties with a security guard, elevators, and underground parking space cost more.
- Houses and buildings that were built after the big earthquake of 1999 are stronger and are supposedly more earthquake-proof.