Moving to Hong Kong in A Few Months.. Many Questions..

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  1. #1

    Moving to Hong Kong in A Few Months.. Many Questions..

    .. Alright so I am a student, and I am going to be moving to Hong Kong in August to start the semester September 1st, and have many question in preparation to my move.

    - My first is about renting a flat in HK. I was originally planning on renting a serviced flat for the duration of my stay (About 10 months) at the HarbourHorizon Front (I think that is the name), I know there are 3 residence buildings offered by the company. I was also looking at the Bellagio, but do not know if they are serviced. So I was wondering if anybody has had any experience there, and how much per month have you paid? I am on a student budget, and I was hoping my monthly rent would not exceed HK12,000, actually I was hoping it would be under HK10,000 per month.

    - Well my next question has to do with my first. I am not crazy about the idea of "Used" furniture, and was originally hoping to go to Hong Kong, find a flat, and furnish it myself. I am afraid that will be too expensive though and too time consuming. I will need to come to Hong Kong at least a week or two ahead of the start of the school semester, rent a hotel room, find a flat, sign a lease, move in, and furnish it. So how expensive is furniture in Hong Kong, and could I furnish a 600 sq. ft. flat for under HK20,000 or maybe even HK15,000? Would it even be worth my time as I will only be here about a year, or should I just move into a serviced flat? I might decide to make the move permanent in that case it would be worth it in the long run, but it is so much money and work... (I just really can't get used to using someone else's furniture for a year, and not be able to ruin it or change it out if I get sick of it)......

    - This question has to do with the two above; Which inexpensive furniture stores, can deliver same day or next day at good prices, that have an English speaking staff (I currently don't speak any Cantonese, only some Mandarin)?

    - My next question is how long does it take to process a lease, because a hotel in Hong Kong for too long is going to cut into my annual budget, meaning I would have to be extremely frugal? Can I find a flat (Either serviced or a normal lease), and move in within 2 days or so? If so, should I rent direct from the serviced residences, or find a realtor?

    - Next, I was wondering where is the pollution the lowest in Hong Kong, as I have heard that is a major problem? I want to live in an area not too far from Hong Kong Island, but in an area where the air is cleaner and less dense. Are there any nice, modern, newly built serviced flats in areas where the air is clean?

    - And my next question is about health insurance; I am thinking about a plan from HSBC, and was wondering if they offer good health plans?

    - Next, where can I get renter's insurance?

    - And finally, where is the highest concentration of foreigners in Hong Kong, or at least English speakers, where I can shop and dine with no language problem?

    ** Thank you so much to anybody who can help. I am so excited about my move to Hong Kong, that I can barely sleep some nights.. MDR**

    **** One more thing to add, I have a very modern, contemporary style, which is what I am looking for in my apartment and furniture. For my flat, I am looking for something very new, the newer the better.. Merci beaucoup!****


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Some answers

    Accommodation: Very few landlords will accept a lease for only 10 months. It's probably impossible. The minimum is 2 years with 12mts+2mts notice break. So effectively, the real minimum leases are 14 months.

    If I was you, I would do serviced, although not sure if it will be possible on your budget. Especially if you are picky about location and furnishings. You can definitely find very nice services places in Hong Kong with lovely furnishings. Home2Home does very nice serviced concepts, Shama seems ok and kushliving looks like they have beautiful places (from their Web site).

    I think Abeo (a home2home block) in Aberdeen is very nice. The units feel very spacious and its near the sea. There is plenty of good bus connections and I always find the extreme edges of HK island pretty clean. I only looked at Abeo recently because we may have needed temp accommodation so we've been there and it's good. Sorry I didn't stay there when I moved to HK originally.

    For furniture, everyone does delivery but I think most places will do in 2-3 days. Same day is rare, in my experience.

    Ikea might be able to help you furnish a place in a modern style on a dime.

    There are very good furniture options out here. You can go visit Ap Lei Chai and go to a multi-levelled (over 20 floors) feast of furniture shopping.

    My feeling is you need to look at a serviced place (Abeo does short term leases, even just for afew days which is also rare for serviced), and then look for what you need. Because flatshare might be best for you.

    By the way, the air is not that bad, but the New Territories is very nice, but further out and you prob need a car. Come to think of it, you may be able to find a bit of a bargain in Clearwater Bay or Sai Kung for your budget and there are plenty of expats around. But again, not sure if 10 months will work for a landlord.

    kg.


  3. #3

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    keep in mind though, that mostly expats shop at ap lei chau and you will be lucky to get a couple of pieces of furniture for $20k.

    personally, i think you would be absolutely crazy to buy all of your own furniture and rent a "proper" flat if you are only here for 10 months.

    save yourself the major headaches of renting a flat, gas connection, cable tv, internet, electric, telephone etc are not usually included in leases unless you go for serviced flats.

    your best bet would be a serviced suite. not much different than staying in a hotel, really...

    you don't say where you will be going to school, that would have a huge impact on where you'd want to live... ie, if you are going to the chinese university in sha tin, you wouldn't want to commute from aberdeen everyday.


  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiffguy:

    My feeling is you need to look at a serviced place (Abeo does short term leases, even just for afew days which is also rare for serviced), and then look for what you need. Because flatshare might be best for you.
    kg.
    I say that, but I see there is an apartment advertised here on geoexpat for $8k/pm in Sheung Wan - which is very central. Only issue seems to be that it is a walk-up 4 floors. So if you can talk a landlord like that into giving you a 10-month lease, you would be a-ok.

    One other thing. Most landlords will need at least two months security plus the first months rent, so be prepared to have that ready.

  5. #5

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    forgot to mention, that so long as you have a valid HKID card, you can use the CHEAP gov't hospitals etc. for only 10 months, i'd say forget the health insurance, go to a private dr if you need to, it will only set you back a few hundred HKD$ and if you have a more serious problem, visit a gov't hospital.

    And finally, where is the highest concentration of foreigners in Hong Kong, or at least English speakers, where I can shop and dine with no language problem?
    well, remember that you are in a city composed of 97% Chinese people, so it is you that is not the "norm" here. if you really want to enjoy yourself, you need to have a sense of adventure about you, which i don't really find from your post. remember, if you want "home" then you should really stay home. if you want an adventure, then welcome to hong kong.

    there are plenty of restaurants that have english menus, there are some areas where expats are not the same minority as they are in other areas. expats can be found in all areas of hong kong to different degrees, there are larger populations of them in: Discovery Bay, southside, mid-levels, sai kung/clearwater bay.


  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiffguy:
    Accommodation: Very few landlords will accept a lease for only 10 months. It's probably impossible. The minimum is 2 years with 12mts+2mts notice break. So effectively, the real minimum leases are 14 months.
    For reference, I have a 1+1 with *1* month break period, ie min 13 months. I have noticed a lot of the expats in my office did end up with 2 months break periods though, but it is not the minimum.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiffguy:
    By the way, the air is not that bad
    Have you looked out of the window today?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDLM:
    Have you looked out of the window today?
    HK Island is missing, who stole it. I swear it was here yesterday. LOL.

    On the way to work from Clear Water Bay while going past Kowloon Bay, I could not see TST or anypart of HK Island, Even Lion Rock was missing. Did the govt forget to turn the fans on to blow the Smog away.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDLM:
    Have you looked out of the window today?
    What's the point of that? You can't see anything. *shrug*

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDLM:
    Have you looked out of the window today?
    I'm in Central... I can't see Wan Chai or TST. And the government air pollution index is only 82 (I remember it going above 140 last year).

    Interesting article on the health effects of pollution on the BBC website today:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7839336.stm


    Cuts in air pollution in US cities over recent decades have added an average of five months of life to their inhabitants, research suggests.

    The New England Journal of Medicine study matched air pollution and life expectancy statistics from 51 cities between 1980 and 2000...



    Anyway, to keep this vaguely on topic:

    The rental market is a bit down at the moment, you may be able to get a shorter lease as a result. You can get a lease processed in a week, but if you have no references or employment history that might be a bit trickier. Offering more rent in advance could offset this.

    Furniture- if you are going to be precious about 'used' furniture, just go to Ikea or Pricerite. They won't deliver next day, but same week should be doable.

    Concentration of English speakers- don't worry about it. You can get by anywhere with English.
    Last edited by jgl; 22-01-2009 at 12:11 PM.

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