One of the challenges for new comers to the city is the best way to discover cost-effective accommodation. It could be rather tough coming to a city where you don't understand the local language and have any thought on the housing regulations and laws. This article is written for the expatriate coming to Hong Kong to assist him/her locate a suitable location to reside in.
The initial factor that you might ask yourself is this: what are the types of apartments that are available in the city? Actually, there are numerous sorts of accommodations available, nevertheless it all depends upon how long you are planning to stay in the city, whether short-term or long-term.
Serviced apartments are highly recommended for corporate travelers who are planning to stay in Hong Kong for not over a year's period. The usual minimum lease is 1 month, and also you need to furthermore spend a 1-month deposit on the lease. The payment for the month-to-month stay already includes maid service, Internet connection, and linens for the bed. You get the apartment cleaned on a daily or weekly basis. The disadvantage is that the apartments have a tendency to be tiny and expensive given that they target the corporate market.
Old Hong Kong Buildings
These generally exist in the older suburbs like Sheung Wan and Sai Wan (the suburbs to the east of Central) and are buildings usually over 30 years old. The apartments that you can discover in these places usually have huge spaces, but with their old age, the exterior may not be that appealing anymore, and in case you are planning to purchase one of these apartments, you might get a hard time convincing the bank to offer you a loan.
New Hong Kong Buildings
Space is definitely an asset in Hong Kong given the high density. Nonetheless there are often new developments popping up all around the city. New apartments might cost rather a fortune especially that Hong Kong properties are at present highly valued in the market. When you buy or rent a brand new apartment, you ought to count on paying a premium. Certainly the apartments are a lot nicer, newer and have much better finishing. But, if you'd like greater space efficiency, these apartments might not be right to suit your needs.
So as soon as you have decided on an apartment, how do you go about renting it?
The following are some of the FAQs and crucial things that you must know when renting an apartment.
Be sure you engage in a real estate agent whenever you find for an apartment. Although you have to pay a commission (the renter and the landlord each pay the agent a months rent as commission), they generally have access to lots of apartment in hong kong that you wouldn't otherwise know about. But, in Hong Kong, when you sign the lease on the apartment, all the dealings regarding the rent will be directly made to the landlord and not to an agent anymore. If there will be any troubles concerning the rent and structural issues of the apartment, you'll need to talk about it directly with the landlord.
Lease Agreement and Duration. In Hong Kong, the lease is usually 2 years with a 1 year break clause. This implies that right after the 1 year and 1 month (13 months) period, each the landlord and the renter can choose whether to terminate the lease agreement. Both sides may also add any adjustments or other conditions that they may wish to add to the agreement. Keep in mind that if you would like to terminate, you need to offer two months' notice.
Size of the apartment. In Hong Kong, the sizes of the apartments are quoted in gross and net. Gross means the total apartment size which includes common area space allocated to your apartment (i.e. portions of the lift, window sill, gym and so on). The net size refers to the actual size of the apartment. The latter is usually what's important when determining apartment size.
Stamp Duty. If you are planning to get an apartment in Hong Kong, you need to be aware of the stamp duty charges that is include with it. Hong Kong has a lot of laws governing this and through the recent years, it has gotten extremely complicated. First of all, there is the normal stamp duty which ranges between 1-7%. Just lately, the Hong Kong government introduced the foreigner stamp duty for 15%, which is targeted for non-local residents trying to purchase a house in the city. Apart from this, you have to also spend for the special stamp duty. In the event you sell within two years, you're liable up to an additional 15% tax in your sale.
So the worst case is you could be paying up to 37% tax if you're a foreigner who buys and sells property in a short space of time. The cause behind these aggressive tax measures is to fix the latest property issues in Hong Kong, which resulted when mainland Chinese bought apartments in the city. I wish you all of the best in your search for a fantastic property in Hong Kong!
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