Edina, can you tell us a bit about your background before joining Savills?
I started my Real Estate career in 1987 working with expatriates looking for homes in Hong Kong. At that time one of my major clients was Jardine Fleming Holding Ltd with approximately 150 leases. I joined FPD Savills in 1989 as a member of the Prestige Homes Division successfully selling high value residential homes. I worked closely with high net worth clients and major developers. In 1993 I was promoted to Associate Director before leaving the company to start a family. In 2000 I rejoined to head the Residential Leasing Department.What services does Savills offer?
Savills is a real estate firm. We handle acquisitions, valuations, research, leasing in all the sectors i.e. commercial, industrial, residential and retail. I look after the Residential leasing Division providing supporting for sourcing of rental properties for moves locally and from overseas.
Throughout the years we have developed comprehensive support for clients moving from abroad. We do not just assist them with housing but also other aspects that is involved with their relocation here. We help them to familiarized with Hong Kong offering the basic information on where, what and when . A comprehensive advisory on schooling here can be provided . We recognize each and every relocation is unique hence our support is tailored according to the needs. We try to emphasize on the positive side to living in Hong Kong to make the move easier.
What are the major challenges your clients typically encounter when looking for a residential property to rent/lease in Hong Kong?
For moves into Hong Kong I think many are shocked by how expensive “space” is here. Living in high rises and congested surroundings is not everyone’s cup of tea. The difficulty of finding some nice outdoor space is another challenge.
How can you help them overcome these challenges to make sure everything goes smoothly?
We always emphasize on communicating with us as soon as the move is confirmed. We can then address any concerns one may have. Having a good idea what accommodation are like is important so that one can create a suitable expectation from the start. We are here to provide as much information as necessary . I think once one knows what to expect it would make the move far easier.
What is a typical working day like?
I start early in the day so I can prepare or finish off any paperwork that is due, clear emails. The phone and incoming messages normally starts from 9.30am These can be fresh enquiries from our marketing material or website, clients looking for assistance. There is normally 2 or 3 appointments line up for showing premises and landlord meetings. We help to launch new projects to the market for lease. I spend a good deal of time working on marketing material and planning the marketing campaign with my team. I tend to be more out of the office then in. The late afternoon and evenings are spend mostly on replying emails and sourcing properties for my clients.
Which are the most popular areas in Hong Kong favoured by expats?
The most popular area for families would be the Southside ( from Shouson Hill to Tai Tam) Many of the international schools are located in this area which has a more suburban feel. Less densely populated. There are also the beaches and sea which are attractive. Singles and young couples tend to live in Mid levels which is close to our CBD where most of the “action” is.
If you had to give one piece of advice to our members to help them with the challenges of renting a property in Hong Kong, what would it be?
Housing in Hong Kong is unique. It is very difficult to find a residence that “tick” all the boxes. One needs to priorities and look with an “open” mind.
Savills is a leading integrated property services group which provides a wide range of high-quality, comprehensive property-related services to developers, owners, tenants and investors across all the key segments of commercial, industrial, residential, retail and hotel property. With more than 89 offices in 19 countries, Savills is at the forefront of this specialized international business yet remains committed to maintaining a highly personal service to all of our clients.