Sunday, 19 March 2019 Looking for house in Hong Kong is not difficult, but the challenge is to find a house that meets your standard within your budget. Yes, be ready to prepare extra budget if you want a decent apartment as you’re now in one of the world’s most expensive cities. Here’s a little guide that might help your first time apartment hunting in Hong Kong:
Who you are going to live with?
If you have friends who want to stay together, you can choose to rent the whole apartment. If not, no worries! There are a lot of rooms to rent, you can either choose a studio apartment or share with strangers. In my case, I share the apartment with two Indonesian friends whom I know quite well back in college. Choose wisely because working life can be tough, so it’s an extra point if you can come home to people you’re comfortable to live with.
Where do you want to stay?
Both Kowloon and Island (or even New Territories) sides have their own plus and minus points. Hong Kong public transportation is well-integrated. As long as you can find one near a bus stop/MTR station, you’re good to go! Other things you may want to consider: distance to your office/university, price (Kowloon/NT sides are slightly cheaper), living environment, furnished/unfurnished, etc. Everyone got different standard, so think about what matters to you.
Money Matters: budget & how much money should I prepare?
I won’t go into details about this as apartments in Hongkong price range could go as low as HKD 3,000 all they way to HKD30,000. Now, it all depends on the budget you’re willing or able to spend for rent. Mine is located in an old building North Point and 5 mins from MTR, cost us 17,500/month. You can see our house tour in the video below!
Depends on your landlord/property agent policy, but you may want to prepare at least 3,5 months rent fee up front (first month fee, 2 months fee for deposit, 1/2 month fee for agent fee) — agent fee may not be necessary if you are lucky enough to deal with the landlord directly.
Soooo, how to find??
The ultimate thing you want to avoid is paying agent fee. So, find apartment ad posted by the landlord. Start by finding rooms in Facebook groups (like find your room hk, find your roommate hk, etc) or 28 Hse. They usually have new posts everyday, all you need to do is turn on notifications and reach out the host, discuss and arrange visit, if needed.
If the first way doesn’t work, you can try to do what I did – house agents hopping! Yes, you read it right. My friends and I knew which areas we want to live at. So, we simply went to that areas and visited one house agents to another to ask if they have available apartments.
My friends and I went around Wan Chai and Causewaybay without getting any luck because our budget is too low for 3-bedroom apartment, so we moved to North Point. And, ta-daaa! Three of us immediately agreed with our current one as the budget, location, size, and interior all fit our criteria. Then, the craziest thing happened — for the first time in my life — I spent HKD 17,000 in a less than an hour to sign the contract.
When to find?
My suggestion is maximum 1 month prior your moving in. Don’t panic, it’s not too tight as landlords are usually looking for tenants who can move in immediately so they don’t have to keep their apartment empty for too long.
Finding the right place to stay is like finding boyfriend/girlfriend, you need to find the one that clicks. It takes time, so be patient. Typically, the contract only lasts for a year. So, you can always find another one after that. Goodluck!