Accommodation in Shanghai usually falls into two categories: short term stay for visitors or long term rental solutions. If you're looking to buy a house in Shanghai, we suggest getting off the internet and contacting an expert.
Main article: Visitor registration
First things first: within 24 hours of arriving in Shanghai, any visitor without a residence permit must register at a local police station to acquire a temporary residence permit. If you are staying at a hotel or hostel, they will do this for you when you check in, so you can skip this process.
Those of you staying with friends or family will have to make the trip to your local police station and register. There is a full guide to this slightly annoying yet painless process in the article on visitor registration.
Short term accommodation
Main article: Short term accommodation
There are a number of resources and review sites for booking short term accommodation in Shanghai. It is advised that you stay not too far from a subway station: People's Square, the former French Concession and Jing'an are all centrally-located and packed with enough local action to be ideal locations for short stays.
Long term accommodation
Main article: Long term accommodation
Finding the right apartment in Shanghai can be an exercise in frustration and compromise. The range of size, facilities and luxury vary wildly in the city; as with anywhere else, location and price are your two key factors.