Getting by a poor CAA

Some of you may be relying on a Company Assigned Agent to find your rental property in Shanghai. Whole hopefully your agent is working out well, but unfortunately not all CAAs are up to par.

If you have heard from your colleagues that your CAA in Shanghai is not delivering quality service and properties you can always get around it by untying yourself from their services. Some of our clients have had written into their employment contracts that they get their housing allowance paid into their bank accounts and sign the lease in their own names. This allows them the freedom to use any agent or agency that they want, enjoy a better level of service, see a better choice of properties and get a better housing deal than if they had used their CAA.

Make sure you do some due diligence before you sign your relocation package so that you alone are in the driver’s seat. You can ask fellow colleagues already here, ask questions on Expat Forums and do a bit of your own ground work by mailing your CAA directly and check their level of expertise and knowledge. If you feel confident that they are working in your best interests, by all means use them but if not, I suggest you make alternative arrangements.

Read more about Dealing with Agencies and other advice on housing and leasing.


Adrienne black top - small

Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties

Managing your Company Assigned Agent





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If you are stuck with a poor performing Company Assigned Agent (CAA) the first thing to do is immediately let your Head Office back home (not in China) know about the experience and DEMAND that you get a better agent. If the new agent is not much better and there is no way out of the agency agreement, you will often have to manage the viewing and deal yourself.

 Be very clear and firm with the agent and tell them that you only want to see properties that match close to your requirements. If you are not being shown these tell them you will talk to their Manager and they should improve. When you finally find a property you feel fits your criteria for a new home, follow some of the following advice to help you through what may be a difficult negotiation and into your new home.

  • Draw up your own terms and conditions in an Offer Letter and stick with them for awhile then give in a couple, little by little and slowly, but not too slow that you lose the place to someone else 
  • Put in the Offer Letter a list of MUST HAVES and WOULD LIKE TO HAVE so the agent has an idea of what to push for
  • Ask any fellow expats in your company to assist/advise on negotiations as they will have on ground knowledge and experience 
  • If you have any problems think of some creative solutions and check with other expats to see if they are feasible. Sometimes rookie agents don’t have good problem solving skills but on the other hand, there maybe a cultural difference
  • Source advice from other trusted agents, colleagues and expat forums like Shanghaiexpat, Asiaxpat etc….

More advice on housing and leasing can be found HERE

Adrienne Farrelly

Shanghai Properties

Finding the Perfect Area

Finding rental properties in Shanghai can be a daunting task for many foreigners moving to Shanghai. Property websites are often inaccurate so you will need the help of an experienced and trusted real estate agent. There are many steps you can take yourself to ensure you find the best properties in Shanghai, negotiate the best deal and move in to a sound and secure home.


Shanghai is a metropolis and getting first hand advice from expats living here helps you locate the right area for you. Visit expat websites, forums to get an understanding of the different areas from an expat’s point of view.

Check out the local expat website forums like Shanghai Expat and Shanghai.Asiaxpat and post your own questions

Choose a location with easy access to your office and/or school, close to a direct subway line, good supermarkets, wet markets and some Chinese and Western restaurants/bars.

Walk around your chosen neighbourhood when you arrive, and see if it suits your lifestyle.

Visit at different times and be aware of traffic noise, late night bars, construction sites etc.

Peek inside stores and supermarkets in the area so you know what they stock.

Note: International supermarkets in shanghai deliver food or grocery to your doorstep so you need not be that close.

For more info on each district browse through our pages:

French Concession





Check out more advice and info on Shanghai Life and search for properties in each district.

Adrienne black top - small

Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties