When thinking about location, take into consideration public transport or buying a car if you’ll be commuting or taking children to school. You should also consider the security and safety of both the building and the surrounding area. Lifestyle choices also make a difference as how you spend your free time will impact on where you will be most comfortable living.
Real estate agents in Hong Kong
Most foreigners looking for accommodation in Hong Kong use an estate agent. There is a large choice of real estate agents Hong Kong; from large well-known international franchises, long-established local names to smaller, privately run agencies.
Once you know where you want to live, the best resources for properties are agents in the neighbourhood. The will know specific buildings in the area that other expats have liked and will be able to offer appropriate advice as to what you are likely to get for your budget.
Register your details with the agency and detail exactly what you are looking for. If you do not get specific you will probably waste a lot of time looking at properties over your budget or that don’t meet your criteria.
Renting on your own
You can try to find and rent a property on your own, but you will need to be prepared for the additional hassle this will cause. Many landlords don’t want to deal directly with tenants, especially foreigners, or have any desire to negotiate rents and the other demands of leasing. The situation changes with lower budget accommodation like studio flats and flat shares, serviced apartments and short lease accommodation. Owners don’t want to pay agency commissions so are more inclined to deal with tenants directly. Bear in mind, you will have negotiating and sign the lease by yourself (unless you can find help), which might be difficult if you don’t speak the language.
Most of the daily newspapers have a property supplement or section. The South China Morning Post publishes a supplement on Wednesdays, The Standard on Fridays (it usually also publishes information on market trends and statistics). Square Foot is a new fortnightly property magazine in Hong Kong with interesting articles and property advertisements. Free publications include: HK Magazine (good for shared flats), BC, and Inside DB, which advertise serviced apartments, flat shares and rooms. The Internet is another good source of information. Also, tell people you know that you are looking and look at notice boards in supermarkets and for notices on building.
Property sizes are measured in square feet and include the terrace, car parking and an allowance for common areas of the building such as the foyer, elevator area and stairwells. You will need to check how much of the quoted figure represents the living space in the apartment. Quoted rents are on a per month basis.
Relocation Services in Hong Kong
Many property agents and removals companies also offer relocation services. These typically can provides help with many of the needs when moving to a new country, such as packing and shipping your goods, arranging viewing of potential properties at your destination, negotiating the lease, fixing up school viewing appointments and offering face-to-face support once you get to Hong Kong. Other benefits may include spouse support through complimentary memberships to international (women’s) clubs.