Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Challenge Of Finding A Flat In Hong Kong.

Renting is a completely new experience for my husband and I. We've been fortunate enough to always own the homes we've lived in. Now we're getting accustomed to friendly doormen and near neighbors.

We had researched what renting in Hong Kong was like prior to moving our family over here. However, we weren't fully prepared for the actual process. We contacted realtors. We also searched online for possible flats that met our budget. But with our small budget we weren't finding much luck and realtors weren't interested in working with us.

Thankfully, my husband had coworkers who were in our same position and we were able to use a realtor that another coworker had used.

With the experience we had in Tai Po, I knew we had to be firm in what we wanted. We were shown apartment complexes with pools and clubhouses. We were also shown walk up flats. That means you walk up dingy flights of steep stairs. As soon as we would walk in, I would look around. If it was dirty and dingy, I would immediately walk out. There was no point in wasting our time. Older apartments mean a more economical price in monthly rent were what was being pushed our way. It didn't help that we had a family of four. Everyone thought we wanted more space. We were shown flats that had two to three bedrooms. We were shown flats that had several private balconies with ample space for our two kids to run around. But I was not interested in a walk up.

There were a couple requirements my husband and I had for looking for a flat. We wanted it to be clean with no possibility of mold. We wanted it to be close to the school our kids were attending and close to my husband's place of employment. Tricky because the rent is exorbitant in that area.

We were shown so many flats through the realtor, yet in the whole process, we never actually met our realtor. We met other realtors that he would connect us with. We talked to him on the telephone. But we have never laid eyes on him.

As soon as we walked into our flat, I knew this was the one. We are the first people living in it. The whole building is new. It's got a lovely clubhouse and gym. We love the friendly doormen. And it's got several lifts that we can use. It was clean. It was new. And we were home.

Even when securing the rental price, here in Hong Kong, we knew we were to bargain for the price we wanted. It's easier for me to bargain than for my sweet husband. So I told the realtor what price we wanted to pay each month and was able to get it down to meet our budget.

We feel extremely blessed to be here. Yes, we're still paying 2,000 USD a month in rent for our flat that is only three hundred something square feet, but it's cheap for our area and we are managing small space living very well so far.

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