Courtyard homes are an opportunity to live in a historical building in what was (but no longer is) the heart of the city. Tenants choosing a couryard should be independent. These are old buildings. There's no on-site building management, and few expatriate amenities outside your door. Courtyards are in the older parts of the city such as Houhai and Gulou to the northwest of Tiananmen. It's a 45 minute commute to the CBD during peak hours from these neighbourhoods.
We advise that you live in the Beijing for at least a year before embarking on a courtyard experience.