Monday, April 25, 2011

Adventures and Drama

Crazy adventures for my first full day in HK.. Joanna and I took the MTR to Hong Kong Island and took the Peak Tram to the Peak, the highest point on HK Island. We went early so there was no line for the tram. It was definitely an experience because the tram went up the hill at a 45 degree angle. But it's too pricey to go more than once so for my future guests, I'll just send them up while I take the cheap bus up. hahaha. We got tickets to the Sky Terrace viewing platform, which I'm not sure is worth the price. You can get the same views without going up that platform Anyway, we walked around the area and then came back down the hill. We visited the HK Gardens and found the Tea Museum but they weren't doing tea tasting (or maybe we were just dumb). We took the Star Ferry back to Kowloon and then a double decker bus to Mong Kok. And here's when the real adventure started.

I made an appointment the day before with a real estate agent. This guy is talkative and the first place he took me to was a place that was undergoing renovation. The place has 3 private suites that are one bedrooms. The two that faces the street are one bedrooms, reasonable size. The one in the back could actually be a two bedroom. He then told me prices that were really great deals for those sizes so I said I was interested in the big one in the back. And then as we were going to other places (which were studios instead of one bedrooms), the actual owner called back with a much higher price. We "negotiated" it down to $5,800, which is significantly higher than my highest price of $5K. 

He wanted to close the deal super fast and sat me down at a cafe while he tried to get the brother of the owner to come to sign off the paperwork. Joanna came back from her shopping spree and suggested that I ask my cousin who lives in Mong Kok what he thought. He said that the area is not so great and that it's too expensive. He came back from HK Island really fast and we convinced the agent and the owner to show him the place. He didn't think the agent was doing his job and was trying to rip me off so we ended up walking away from the whole deal. The place didn't have a 24hr security and the street was quiet at night. There wasn't an elevator either but the place was on the 2nd floor. Both we (the customers) and the owner decided after some talking that we were probably not the best match. The agent was really insistent and tried to get me to sign off on a price that the owner didn't agree to. It took us a while for us to shake him off. I think he also called me afterwards. 

Anyway, many lessons learned here. I seriously didn't know that you sign off on a place and move in right away. So I have plenty of time to look for a place to stay. And the most important thing is that I need to bargain harder. I also need to know the market more to figure out if a place is worth the rent. Really glad that I had two people with me who talked me to me about my options and got me away from that agent. I just need to be more careful next time. Good thing I didn't even bring any form of ID with me so he couldn't forge anything. After this we ate dinner and de-stressed.

Joanna and I went back to the Ladies Market and bargained for two suitcases for her. I think we got pretty good deals. I'm not sure I've managed to capture the entire drama here but this is the gist of it. Gotta get some sleep!! I think I only slept about 4 hours last night.


docey101 said...

The agent gets a cut from the owner when he makes the deal, so they're pushy about it. And depending on how much he can get from you, the higher his commission will be.

When I visit HK, you should take me to the cinema! I was watching the equivalent of the Academy Awards for HK on TV with mom and I was sad I didn't understand a lot of their banter, might need you to translate~

Then go to visit one of those hidden cafes!

Perhaps Macau...where I can translate for you with my Portuguese skills!!!!!!!! LOL

Take care. Have fun!

yalu said...

Erm, isn't that exactly what I said would happen? Haha.. you should def go around with a bunch of agents to a bunch of places before deciding. Timing is also tricky - if it's empty, the landlord probably wants a tenant asap. I would too, if I were loosing potential rent!

(I'm not sure I get your use of $.. I guess it's HK$/month?)