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Innovative Ways To Test-Drive A Potential Home In Hong Kong

Hong Kong - test drive your home before buying

Can you try before you buy? 

Test-Drive before you rent?

When you go shopping, you can try on an outfit or a pair of shoes before you buy it to make sure that it fits. When you go car-shopping at a car dealership, you can take it out for a test-drive before taking it home with you. In some markets, it’s commonplace to test out a product before you invest in to it. What about in real estate? 

How great would it be if you could try out a new home before you decided to either buy it or rent it? 

While that newly renovated property looks great in photos, at the open house or during the initial visit, you never know what’s really behind that listing that seems to good to be true. When it comes to assessing a potential new home, the experienced and savvy buyer and renter know how to seek out any hidden problems. Why don’t more people test-drive a potential future real estate investment before they sign the contracts? There are a ton of important features in a home that can easily go unnoticed. Attention to detail is important when it comes to shopping for a new home. There are so many real life scenarios that you won’t figure out until you live there, but by then it’s too late to say “I want to return my home back to you”. Once you sign the contracts to either buy or rent a home, there’s generally no going backwards unless there is something substantially wrong with the property the owner neglected to divulge. 

Buying or renting a home before you have tested it is similar to judging and buying book by its cover, but on a much grander (and expensive) scale. What looks good on the surface doesn’t necessarily translate to it being a livable home that is suitable for you. While that master bedroom with the en-suite bathroom looks beautiful aesthetically, do you know how the shower head’s water pressure is? What about the toilet — does it flush well? Are all the appliances functioning properly? Do the neighbors have dogs that bark throughout the night? If there’s a balcony, can you hear the street-level noise from there? At what times of the day do you get direct sunlight through your windows? Is there enough storage space to accommodate all of your belongings? The list of potential scenarios are limitless, and chances are you won’t spot them all but you can try your best to. The key is to investigate a potential new home like a detective would, and test out all the features before you submit that offer. 

Test-driving a home has becoming an increasingly popular trend in real estate markets around the world as a marketing tactic for motivated sellers, especially in major metropolitan cities. The idea is that motivated sellers hope that you will develop more of an emotional attachment to the place when you physically spend time in their home, resulting in a higher chance of the buyer or renter making an offer. It basically helps seal the deal, it’s that last final push a buyer/renter needs to solidify the transaction. And it makes sense, because shoppers want to have the option to test out a home before signing a lease or purchasing the property. There are a lot of concerns from the prospective buyer’s perspective, and having the ability to spend a night there can help settle their qualms and result to an actual offer that leaves both parties happy. There’s the common advice to “sleep on it” when you are not sure about a purchase decision. It is better to not make big decisions in the thrill of the moment. When shopping for a home, prospective buyers have a tendency to get carried away by the excitement of it all and make decisions that they later regret. This new kind of “Try before you buy” strategy literally lets prospective buyers “Sleep on it” before they decided if they wish to make an offer or not. It doesn’t cost much for the seller to lend out the home for one night — sort of like an AirBnB arrangement — it’s an upgraded interactive real estate shopping experience at its best. The majority of buyers and renters would jump at the chance to be able to test out a property first, so it makes sense from a business perspective. It’s a win-win for both seller and buyer, the seller increases his/her chance of getting an offer and the buyer gets reassurance from being able to test out the property. This kind of trend is still quite new and has not been adapted on a mass scale, but it is something worth keeping in mind. At the end of the day, buyers especially are looking not just for a home to move in to, they are looking for an overall experience. Having the ability to temporarily live in a home to test it out is a great way to investigate if its a good lifestyle fit. It’s a huge benefit to have. 

If you are not able to get this kind of “Try before you buy” shopping arrangement in your market, don’t worry, there are other ways to go about test-driving a home and we will get in to that right now. Read on to find out how you can test-drive your home in other creative ways.

Innovative Ways To Test Out A Home Before Making An Offer

Study what the neighbors are like, explore and investigate the neighborhood

When choosing where to live, the level of your happiness has a lot to do with your neighborhood. Before you scope out a new property, the first thing you should actually do is to investigate the neighborhood. If you don’t like the neighborhood, it doesn’t matter how great the home is. I once made the mistake of forgoing this super important step and I cannot even begin to explain to you how much I regretted it. I was living in Manhattan, New York City at the time and in a desperate search for a new apartment to move in as my lease was coming to an end. At that time, the real estate market was super competitive so finding a decent apartment was like digging for gold in the sewage. One day, I saw a listing in the newspaper that had the exact specifications I was looking for in an apartment and within my budget too. I thought my luck had turned around and immediately made the call to visit the property. Out of all the apartments I had visited, this one was a clear winner. I fell in love it and couldn’t believe my luck at how cheap the rental price was. I had decided on the spot that I would go ahead and take it and set out on my way to the bank to finalize all the details and payments. You see, I had been in such a rush of excitement to view the apartment that I didn’t stop to take in my surroundings. I knew the neighborhood was in a less central area of the city, but as I left the building complex and turned the corner, I saw block after block after cemeteries built like a fortress around the complex. Some might call it superstition, but I felt so uncomfortable living in a building fortified by graveyards that I finally had to forgo the property in search of another. The moral of this story is this: by putting all my homes and dreams in to a property before doing a proper and thorough investigation of its neighborhood, I wasted time, energy, and was left with a bottomless pit of disappointment. Had I not seen this perfect apartment first, I would not have been as upset. Had I explored the neighborhood first, I would have known right away that I could not live there?

There is so much you can discover just from checking out an neighborhood first, even before the home viewing. What’s the area like? What’s the foot traffic like in the neighborhood? What kind of people frequent the area? Do the neighbors look more like young professionals, bachelors & bachelorettes, marrieds with young children, elderly, or gays? The type of demographic is an easy tell for what the neighbourhood’s activities will be like. For example, a family oriented neighborhood will most likely be safer and quieter, whereas a neighborhood made up of young singles will likely be more energetic and possibly rowdy in the evenings and on the weekends. You need to investigate how much noise the neighbors will make, what their daily routines are like and so on. 

What kind of business establishments are in the neighborhood? How walkable is the neighborhood? Are things close together or very spread out? Is it safe to walk around? What’s the public transportation situation like? Are there any bus stops, subway stations (MTR in Hong Kong), walking escalators, trams, and more? Are there public parks, dog parks, and recreational centers? Is there construction in the neighborhood? Is the street full of trendy restaurants and cafés, or lined up with adult sex stores? I once lived in a neighborhood that basically transformed in to an underground red-light district after 10PM. It was bearable for me because I was a college student at the time. However, a neighborhood like this would not be ideal if you have young children. This is why it’s so important to investigate like a detective. Pick your neighborhood wisely before you go about picking a home. 

Test out the appliances, plumbing and other hardware

You can never be too cautious. Don’t get seduced by the new appliances, and other aesthetically pleasing features — you need to try it out yourself. I always flush the toilets, test out the showers, open and close the cabinets and drawers, turn the door handles…etc, just to test them all out. You never know if something is working or not until you try it. A lot of the time we go and view homes in its literally sense, by using only our eyes to glance over everything. The problem with just using our eyes is that we don’t know if an appliance is working or not, or if certain pieces of hardware are malfunctioning, broken, and so on. That shower head might look awesome but how hard is the water pressure? How quickly does the water heat up? Test out both the bathroom and kitchen sinks. Although these things are not deal-breakers, it’s good to know have on record because it could indicate much bigger problems like a damaged water pipe or other high-expense maintenance down the line. 

In the kitchen, you should test out the stove. Does all of the stovetops function properly? Are the fridge and freezer cold enough? You should test out all the rooms in the way that you would actually use them in real life. That is the only way you will be able to investigate all the minute details. Try opening the doors, do they make any creaking noises? When you walk on the floorboards, are they slippery? There is so much you can learn if you just keep your senses open. 

Open the windows

This is something that most home-shoppers do not do. They never check out the windows! Even if it’s hot, or cold, open a few windows in different areas of the home. Open a window in the living room, in the master bedroom, bathroom and any other areas where there are openable windows. There are a few reasons for this:

 

    • This is a good way to check if any of the windows are stuck and thus require maintenance.
  • This is also a good way to check if the windows are child-proof, meaning, do to they open up fully or is there a lock that restrains it from opening it the full width? If you have children, you will want the windows to be child-proof, and if they are not, you will know and make the necessary arrangements to fix that.
  • This is a good way to check for street-level noise and neighborly noise. If you live on a high floor and can still hear loud street-level noise, it means that the home is not sound-proof at all. Can you deal with that on a long-term basis? Can you hear your neighbors when you open the windows? If you can hear them, they can most definitely hear you too and there will be limited sense of privacy.
  • Do your windows open up to a cool breeze or is there limited airflow? Do the neighboring buildings block the breeze from coming in? Is it stuffy even when the windows are open? Does dust collect when the windows are left open? In certain neighborhoods in Hong Kong, dust is a huge issue in apartments. Are you able to deal with less air-flow if you are a person who enjoys lots of natural air?
  • When the windows are closed, can you feel air drafts around the edge of the frames? Will the windows be strong enough to hold in the case of thunderstorms, rainstorms, and typhoons (as is typical of Hong Kong climate)? 

 

As you can see, windows are crucial for the look and feel of a home. You want to test out these features during your home-visits.

Check out the homes natural lighting at different hours of the day

Similar to windows, the natural lighting in a home is another super vital component that should be tested out. You want to inspect how the natural light flows through the home, from room to room, especially in high-traffic areas and the rooms that are most commonly used. If a room seems especially dark, even with clear windows, you can make a calculated guess that there won’t be much natural light coming in to those areas. Could the wall colours attribute to the problem of limited light? On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll want to see how dark the bedrooms can get. Can the light still filter through after you close all of the blinds and shades? How will this affect your sleep patterns? If you are a late riser, will the sun glare out in to the bedroom bright and early? If you are an early riser and enjoy sunlight, will the darkness of limited natural light affect your overall mood? Which side of the apartment do you get the morning, afternoon, and late afternoon sunlight? These are all important things to consider. 

If your home viewing is set on an overcast day, ask to visit it again on a sunny day to compare the differences. If you initially view the home on a morning, ask the view it again in the late afternoon or early evening. By seeing the home at different hours of the day, you can gauge what it would be like to actually live there. 

Check the noise level in and around the property

This is a big one! I used to live in an apartment that was perfect for my lifestyle, that is until it hit 8PM. Like clockwork every night, I would hear loud noises coming from my neighbors upstairs. I’m talking basketball dribbling, chairs being dragged across the floors, lots of banging and children screaming. It was a headache to deal with. In close quarters that are typical of Hong Kong homes, noise can travel easily from apartment to apartment. If there are multiple units on one floors, you might be able to hear everything that’s going on in your neighbour’s homes. Make multiple visits to a unit to catch surrounding neighbors when they’re home and making noise. Can you hear them talking? How bearable is the noise level? You might even consider bringing a friend to help you test out how well the noise travels. If you are talking on your phone inside your apartment, can everyone hear it in the hallways? Play some music on your portable speakers and see if your neighbors can hear it. If you love to play music all the time, will you be at risk for getting noise complaints? Walk around the different rooms to determine how thick the walls are. Are they sound-proof enough or will you need to invest in sound insulation? 

Thoroughly assessing noise levels in and around the property will save you heaps of trouble later on. It’s better to know during the initial visits than to have to do damage control after you move in.

Scope out storage space

This is one of the things that most people miss during home visits. They get so excited by the big features that they forget about the daily essentials, like storage spaces. A home might look gorgeous aesthetically but does it score as well in the functional department? Sure, a home can look great on paper and in photos, but can you actually live there without driving yourself crazy? 

I had to learn this the hard way. I did not understand the concept of “Form follows function” when I scored my first apartment as a legal adult. I rented the cutest duplex apartment that turned out to also be the most useless apartment in the world. This apartment had all the aesthetics but none of the functions. There was zero closet space, and zero storage space. The worst part of it all was that the apartment was so small I couldn’t even afford to buy my own storage containers to put my belongings in. I ended up living like a hoarder for a year with clothes, books, gadgets, kitchenware, etc laid out all over the apartment. 

Storage space is so important. As great is aesthetics are, you want to make sure that a home is actually livable. Is it going to cause you more or less stress to live there? Having a home with ample storage space is crucial to your overall well-being. Less clutter means less stress! It’s a scientifically proven fact. 

Make yourself feel at home

If you are lucky enough to be given the chance to live in a home and test it out first, make sure to not waste the opportunity. Test it out as if you actually living there. The more at home you feel, the more you will be able to find out the little details at play. As long as you respect the home and take care of it, there is nothing wrong with taking it out for a test drive. Maybe you have to spend a little money upfront, like paying a security deposit to the home-owner or having a background check done — but taking a home for a test-spin is certainly worth it. 

 

Have you ever test-driven a home before making an offer? Did you use any of our strategies on this list? What other methods did you use to test out if a home is suitable for you? Tell us your story!

Are you ready to find a new home to explore? Check out our listing  and contact our team at Engel & Volkers for more information.

 

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Engel & Völkers Hong Kong, Real Estate Agency
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This data protection information applies to the use of the website https://www.engelvoelkers.com/hongkong/ (hereinafter referred to as “website”) and the Property Search App, a mobile application for property searches (hereinafter referred to as “property app”) and is valid from 25 May 2018.

The following information applies to both the website and the property app, unless expressly stated otherwise. 

Engel & Völkers VJI Limited in its function of responsible authority (hereinafter also referred to as “Engel & Völkers”) informs its users that

by using the website, personal data about them will be processed, in particular:

●    personal data (e.g. e-mail address, first name, surname, title, address, telephone number – in the following “Data” or “Personal data”) provided by users at the time of registration on the website (e.g. in connection with contact requests and mailing of newsletters);

●    personal data transferred from the user’s internet browser each time the user accesses the website is stored within log files, also known as server logs. This data comprises: IP address (Internet protocol address) of the accessing computer; name of the accessed site; date and time of access; related URL from which the user accesses the site; number of transferred data items; status report of successful access; session ID number.

by using the property app, personal data about them will be processed, in particular:

●    e-mail address, first name, surname, title, address, telephone number provided by users at the time of sending an enquiry;

●    Whenever the app is accessed, the usage data of the respective app user is saved. This data comprises: operating system used and, if applicable, the browser type, current language setting of the smartphone, information about the Internet service provider of the user, name of the retrieved page and, if applicable, the origin page, date and time of retrieval, amount of data transmitted, status report on whether the retrieval was successful, session identification number.

Purpose of processing

Engel & Völkers, as a responsible authority, processes the personal data of website users for the following purposes:

●    Fulfilment of user’s requests (legal basis is contract performance and the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in transferring contact requests within the Engel & Völkers Group to the appropriate company. The above “Engel & Völkers Group” comprises Engel & Völkers AG and its domestic and foreign associated companies in terms of the German Companies Act Sec. 15 ff, and the (master) licensees affiliated with this group of companies. A current listing of these licensees can be obtained here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/de/unternehmen/standorte/);

●    The forwarding of e-mail newsletters on the company’s own offers and advertising by the company or third parties to the legally permissible extent or based on consent. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in direct marketing, providing this is in accordance with the data protection and competition rules);

●    Analysis of the website for determining user behaviour. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in analysing user behaviour on our website for the purpose of continuously improving this or adapting it to the interests of our users);

●    Identification and possible blocking of users who have installed a so-called adblocker and who thereby block advertising. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers of providing users who do not block advertising with wholly or partially web-financed offers);

●    In order to prevent fraudulent activities or misuse on the website or in connection with the website and to observe the legal stipulations for safe websites. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in remedying errors, guaranteeing system security and identifying impermissible access or access attempts.)

The legal basis for the processing of personal data is GDPR Article 6(1)(a), if the processing is based on consent, Article 6(1)(b) if the basis for processing is a contractual relationship and Article 6(1)(f) if the basis is the legitimate interests of Engel & Völkers.

processes the personal data of property app users for the following purposes:

●      Fulfilment of the requests of the app users (legal basis of the data collection is the consent of the user in accordance with Art. 6(1)(a) EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)). Analysis of the property app to determine usage behaviour (legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in analysing user behaviour in our property app for the purpose of continuously improving this or adapting it to the interests of our users);

Nature of supply of personal data and consequences of objection

The personal data is voluntarily provided by users. They may freely decide whether to make personal data available to Engel & Völkers and may subsequently withdraw their consent from the processing of personal data which have already been made available. Withdrawal may mean that the Engel & Völkers website is no longer usable.

Processing methods

Users’ personal data may only be processed in case of need and processing will be performed electronically only, in particular by way of: gathering, registration, organisation, storage, consultancy, processing, amendment, selection, extraction, comparison, use, interconnection, access and communication, blocking, deletion and destruction of the data. Processing may be carried out electronically or non-electronically.

Access to data

The personal data is processed by Engel & Völkers and (in respect of individual items) particularly by

●    Employees (permanent employees such as job-holders and independent property consultants) and consultants authorised to administer the website and property app and provide the associated services;

●    Third-party supplier companies (e.g. IT service providers, hosting providers, etc.) to which Engel & Völkers has outsourced processing services as part of a job processing agreement.

Information about the data

As the responsible authority we are able to provide information about your personal data. However, this information may only be given for the following reasons:

·       In the case of fulfilment of legal obligations or obligations arising from regulations and guidelines under national or European laws.

·       For defence in court in the case of a legal dispute.

Disclosure of data

If your query relates to offers from other companies of the Engel & Völkers Group, Engel & Völkers transfers the personal data entered by you in this case to the respective company from the Engel & Völkers Group with your prior consent or on the basis of its legitimate interests.[A10]  Other than this, your personal data will not be disclosed by Engel & Völkers.

Disclosure of data in non-EEA countries

In principle, Engel & Völkers does not transfer personal data to non-EEA countries without your consent. The servers used by Engel & Völkers are located within the European Union.

If your query relates to companies of the Engel & Völkers Group outside the European Union, we communicate your data under your consent.

In cases where personal data is transferred to countries that do not offer the same level of protection as within the European Union and you have not expressly agreed to the transfer of your data to those countries by way of your consent, Engel & Völkers will ensure that certain contractual obligations under applicable data protection law (including the execution of standard contractual clauses approved by the European Commission) are agreed with each service provider, unless Engel & Völkers can invoke other legal grounds for the transfer of personal data.

Saving and deleting of data

Engel & Völkers saves personal data for the time necessary for achieving the purposes for which the data was gathered and processed, including any storage period stipulated under the applicable legislation (e.g. retention of bookkeeping vouchers) and in any case for a maximum of 24 months [A11] after the personal data was gathered.

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Use of cookies on the website

In order to improve website browsing, Engel & Völkers uses “cookies”. Cookies are small text files, generally consisting of letters and numbers, stored on the user’s web browser on their PC and containing pseudonymised data. Cookies allow a website to recognise the user’s computer in order to follow searches made on several pages of a website and to identify users who return to a website. Cookies may have technical, analytical or profiling purposes.

The direct and indirect cookies used by Engel & Völkers are summarised here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/en-de/privacy-policy-ag/doc/ev_cookies_lp.pdf.

The website uses the following technical cookies:

For storing language selection _icl_visitor_lang_js, _icl_current_language, evlocale.For storing selection of measuring units engelundvoelkersconfig.For storing last search requests LAST_SEARCH.For storing the watchlist ID watchlist_id.For storing test reference within AB tests user_ab.For storing references to distributed systems in load balancers BIGipServergroup-rz-webfe-prod.

Engel & Völkers informs users that they may deactivate or remove cookies in their web browser by following the instructions on the following links:

●      Internet Explorer ((https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/17442/windows-internet-explorer-delete-manage-cookies).

●      Mozilla Firefox (https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/delete-cookies-remove-info-websites-stored).

●      Safari (https://support.apple.com/kb/PH19214?viewlocale=en_US&locale=de_DE).

The website also uses analytical cookies set by third-party providers, e.g. Google (see also provisions on use of analysis programs and tracking tools) and Adroll (https://www.adroll.com/de-DE/about) /Privatsphäre) and Haufe (https://de.onlinehelp.umantis.com/index.php/Cookies).

In more detail:

a)       Google Analytics

Engel & Völkers uses the web analytics service Google Analytics from Google Inc. (“Google”) for analysing the use of websites. The information generated by cookies about the use of websites is generally transferred to a Google server in the USA and stored there. Engel & Völkers uses Google Analytics solely with the extension "ga ('set', 'anonymizeIp', true)", in order to ensure that IP addresses are only processed in a shortened version and in order to prevent direct references to individual persons. Google may transfer data to third parties if this is prescribed by law or if third parties process these data on behalf of Google. Google will not publish the IP address of the user in connection with other Google data. Users may at any time prevent the recording and storage of data by Google Analytics, by installing a Google-approved browser plug-in which can be downloaded from the following link: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=de.

b)       Universal Analytics

Engel & Völkers uses the Universal Analytics functions provided by Google. These functions allow Engel & Völkers to record and analyse socio-demographic data about users by means of a Google ID (if available) and by means of cookies generated by Google from advertising contents (DoubleClick). If a Google ID is available, the data controller will be able to record this data across all devices (e.g. if users have both a smartphone and a PC) for analysing visitor flows across all devices. Users may at any time prevent the recording and storage of data by Google Analytics by installing a Google-approved browser plug-in which can be downloaded from the following link: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=de.

This website does not use profiling cookies.

Use of cookies and other tracking in the Property App

Engel & Völkers needs statistical information on the use of the Property App to make it more user-friendly. For this purpose, Engel & Völkers deploys the following analysis tools. The providers of the tools process data, where personal data are processed, as a processor in accordance with the instructions of Engel & Völkers.

To find out which other cookies the Property App uses click here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/en-de/privacy-policy-ag/doc/ev_cookies_lp.pdf.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is provided by Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheater Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA (“Google”). We use Google Analytics with the additional feature offered by Google to anonymise IP addresses: In this case, Google's IP address is usually already shortened within the EU and only in exceptional cases in the US and in any case only saved in abbreviated form. The privacy policy can be viewed here: https://privacy.google.com/businesses/processorterms/

  

If you want to opt out of Google Analytics tracking, go to your system settings and disable Google Analytics access in the Tracking section of the “Engel & Völkers Property Search” app.

If you want to opt out of tracking Google Analytics on Android, go to the app settings and disable Google Analytics access.

HockeyApp

HockeyApp is provided by Microsoft (Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052-6399, USA). We use HockeyApp for error analyses and to improve the property app. If it crashes, the user may agree to submit a crash report to HockeyApp. A crash report includes information about the crash date and time, the affected software module, the operating system and language used, and the device type and IP address. The crash report will only be sent to HockeyApp once this has been specifically approved. The information contained in the crash report may be partially processed in the United States. HockeyApp is a service from Microsoft. Legal information about it can be found here: 

https://azure.microsoft.com/de-de/support/legal/.

The privacy policy can be viewed here: 

https://www.microsoft.com/de-de/privacystatement/OnlineServices/Default.aspx

Crashlytics

Crashlytics is an analysis tool offered and operated by Crashlytics Inc., based in Cambridge, MA, USA. Crashlytics generates crash reports, i.e. reports about malfunctions or failures of the app, where and in which context these have occurred, how many users of the app are affected, etc. Engel & Völkers uses these reports to detect malfunctions or failures to be able to react faster, more purposefully and more efficiently in the interests of the users and to be able to improve the app technically. For this purpose, Crashlytics, together with the user’s Symphony-related app ID, which can be deleted at any time, records data on the crash and on general data of the respective IT environment (in particular on the used device, the mobile service provider and the operating system). If personal or pseudonymous data is included, Crashlytics will delete it within seven days. This information will give Crashlytics and subsequently Engel & Völkers insight into whether and how the app works and is used, especially the malfunctions and failures that occur. Further information is available at try.crashlytics.com/terms/privacy-policy.pdf.

Links to social media pages

This website contains links to the main social media network sites (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). These are not embedded social media plug-ins, but a link through which no personal data is transmitted to the social media operators.

Rights of persons concerned

You have the right to information on the processing of your personal data (for example, the origin of this data, the processing purpose, the modalities of the data processing). Furthermore, on certain conditions, you are entitled, at any time, to object to data processing in the future, to limit it or to demand the deletion of the data. Finally, you can prevent the sending of advertising material or the implementation of market research or commercial communications at any time.

In summary, you have a right to

-       information,

-       correction,

-       deletion (or to be forgotten),

-       limitation of processing,

-       data portability,

-       objection to the processing of your personal data,

-       complaint to the supervisory authorities.

Please note that your right to deletion is subject to certain restrictions. For instance we need not or may not delete any data which we need to retain for a further period under a statutory retention period. Data needed by us for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims are also excepted from your right to deletion.

To exercise the above rights and to request information, users may write to the following e-mail address hongkongmmc@engelvoelkers.com[A12]  or postal address Engel & Völkers VJI Limited, [A13] Shop A, 95 Caine Road, Mid Level West, Hong Kong. Similarly, users may at any time withdraw consent to, correct and delete the processing of their data.

Contacts

The responsible authority for processing of data is Engel & Völkers VJI Limited, [A14] Shop A, 95 Caine Road, Mid Level West, Hong Kong. In the event of questions regarding our data processors, we are happy to make a current list of these available to you.

If you have a complaint regarding the way that we process your data, you have the opportunity to submit a complaint to the supervisory authority. This is: 

Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

Hamburg’s representative for data protection and freedom of information

Prof. Dr. Johannes Caspar

Kurt-Schumacher-Allee 4, 20097 Hamburg

Mailbox@datenschutz.hamburg.de[A15] 

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This data protection information applies to the use of the website https://www.engelvoelkers.com/hongkong/ (hereinafter referred to as “website”) and the Property Search App, a mobile application for property searches (hereinafter referred to as “property app”) and is valid from 25 May 2018.

The following information applies to both the website and the property app, unless expressly stated otherwise. 

Engel & Völkers VJI Limited in its function of responsible authority (hereinafter also referred to as “Engel & Völkers”) informs its users that

by using the website, personal data about them will be processed, in particular:

●    personal data (e.g. e-mail address, first name, surname, title, address, telephone number – in the following “Data” or “Personal data”) provided by users at the time of registration on the website (e.g. in connection with contact requests and mailing of newsletters);

●    personal data transferred from the user’s internet browser each time the user accesses the website is stored within log files, also known as server logs. This data comprises: IP address (Internet protocol address) of the accessing computer; name of the accessed site; date and time of access; related URL from which the user accesses the site; number of transferred data items; status report of successful access; session ID number.

by using the property app, personal data about them will be processed, in particular:

●    e-mail address, first name, surname, title, address, telephone number provided by users at the time of sending an enquiry;

●    Whenever the app is accessed, the usage data of the respective app user is saved. This data comprises: operating system used and, if applicable, the browser type, current language setting of the smartphone, information about the Internet service provider of the user, name of the retrieved page and, if applicable, the origin page, date and time of retrieval, amount of data transmitted, status report on whether the retrieval was successful, session identification number.

Purpose of processing

Engel & Völkers, as a responsible authority, processes the personal data of website users for the following purposes:

●    Fulfilment of user’s requests (legal basis is contract performance and the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in transferring contact requests within the Engel & Völkers Group to the appropriate company. The above “Engel & Völkers Group” comprises Engel & Völkers AG and its domestic and foreign associated companies in terms of the German Companies Act Sec. 15 ff, and the (master) licensees affiliated with this group of companies. A current listing of these licensees can be obtained here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/de/unternehmen/standorte/);

●    The forwarding of e-mail newsletters on the company’s own offers and advertising by the company or third parties to the legally permissible extent or based on consent. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in direct marketing, providing this is in accordance with the data protection and competition rules);

●    Analysis of the website for determining user behaviour. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in analysing user behaviour on our website for the purpose of continuously improving this or adapting it to the interests of our users);

●    Identification and possible blocking of users who have installed a so-called adblocker and who thereby block advertising. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers of providing users who do not block advertising with wholly or partially web-financed offers);

●    In order to prevent fraudulent activities or misuse on the website or in connection with the website and to observe the legal stipulations for safe websites. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in remedying errors, guaranteeing system security and identifying impermissible access or access attempts.)

The legal basis for the processing of personal data is GDPR Article 6(1)(a), if the processing is based on consent, Article 6(1)(b) if the basis for processing is a contractual relationship and Article 6(1)(f) if the basis is the legitimate interests of Engel & Völkers.

processes the personal data of property app users for the following purposes:

●      Fulfilment of the requests of the app users (legal basis of the data collection is the consent of the user in accordance with Art. 6(1)(a) EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)). Analysis of the property app to determine usage behaviour (legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in analysing user behaviour in our property app for the purpose of continuously improving this or adapting it to the interests of our users);

Nature of supply of personal data and consequences of objection

The personal data is voluntarily provided by users. They may freely decide whether to make personal data available to Engel & Völkers and may subsequently withdraw their consent from the processing of personal data which have already been made available. Withdrawal may mean that the Engel & Völkers website is no longer usable.

Processing methods

Users’ personal data may only be processed in case of need and processing will be performed electronically only, in particular by way of: gathering, registration, organisation, storage, consultancy, processing, amendment, selection, extraction, comparison, use, interconnection, access and communication, blocking, deletion and destruction of the data. Processing may be carried out electronically or non-electronically.

Access to data

The personal data is processed by Engel & Völkers and (in respect of individual items) particularly by

●    Employees (permanent employees such as job-holders and independent property consultants) and consultants authorised to administer the website and property app and provide the associated services;

●    Third-party supplier companies (e.g. IT service providers, hosting providers, etc.) to which Engel & Völkers has outsourced processing services as part of a job processing agreement.

Information about the data

As the responsible authority we are able to provide information about your personal data. However, this information may only be given for the following reasons:

·       In the case of fulfilment of legal obligations or obligations arising from regulations and guidelines under national or European laws.

·       For defence in court in the case of a legal dispute.

Disclosure of data

If your query relates to offers from other companies of the Engel & Völkers Group, Engel & Völkers transfers the personal data entered by you in this case to the respective company from the Engel & Völkers Group with your prior consent or on the basis of its legitimate interests.[A10]  Other than this, your personal data will not be disclosed by Engel & Völkers.

Disclosure of data in non-EEA countries

In principle, Engel & Völkers does not transfer personal data to non-EEA countries without your consent. The servers used by Engel & Völkers are located within the European Union.

If your query relates to companies of the Engel & Völkers Group outside the European Union, we communicate your data under your consent.

In cases where personal data is transferred to countries that do not offer the same level of protection as within the European Union and you have not expressly agreed to the transfer of your data to those countries by way of your consent, Engel & Völkers will ensure that certain contractual obligations under applicable data protection law (including the execution of standard contractual clauses approved by the European Commission) are agreed with each service provider, unless Engel & Völkers can invoke other legal grounds for the transfer of personal data.

Saving and deleting of data

Engel & Völkers saves personal data for the time necessary for achieving the purposes for which the data was gathered and processed, including any storage period stipulated under the applicable legislation (e.g. retention of bookkeeping vouchers) and in any case for a maximum of 24 months [A11] after the personal data was gathered.

Use of cookies

Use of cookies on the website

In order to improve website browsing, Engel & Völkers uses “cookies”. Cookies are small text files, generally consisting of letters and numbers, stored on the user’s web browser on their PC and containing pseudonymised data. Cookies allow a website to recognise the user’s computer in order to follow searches made on several pages of a website and to identify users who return to a website. Cookies may have technical, analytical or profiling purposes.

The direct and indirect cookies used by Engel & Völkers are summarised here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/en-de/privacy-policy-ag/doc/ev_cookies_lp.pdf.

The website uses the following technical cookies:

For storing language selection _icl_visitor_lang_js, _icl_current_language, evlocale.For storing selection of measuring units engelundvoelkersconfig.For storing last search requests LAST_SEARCH.For storing the watchlist ID watchlist_id.For storing test reference within AB tests user_ab.For storing references to distributed systems in load balancers BIGipServergroup-rz-webfe-prod.

Engel & Völkers informs users that they may deactivate or remove cookies in their web browser by following the instructions on the following links:

●      Internet Explorer ((https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/17442/windows-internet-explorer-delete-manage-cookies).

●      Mozilla Firefox (https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/delete-cookies-remove-info-websites-stored).

●      Safari (https://support.apple.com/kb/PH19214?viewlocale=en_US&locale=de_DE).

The website also uses analytical cookies set by third-party providers, e.g. Google (see also provisions on use of analysis programs and tracking tools) and Adroll (https://www.adroll.com/de-DE/about) /Privatsphäre) and Haufe (https://de.onlinehelp.umantis.com/index.php/Cookies).

In more detail:

a)       Google Analytics

Engel & Völkers uses the web analytics service Google Analytics from Google Inc. (“Google”) for analysing the use of websites. The information generated by cookies about the use of websites is generally transferred to a Google server in the USA and stored there. Engel & Völkers uses Google Analytics solely with the extension "ga ('set', 'anonymizeIp', true)", in order to ensure that IP addresses are only processed in a shortened version and in order to prevent direct references to individual persons. Google may transfer data to third parties if this is prescribed by law or if third parties process these data on behalf of Google. Google will not publish the IP address of the user in connection with other Google data. Users may at any time prevent the recording and storage of data by Google Analytics, by installing a Google-approved browser plug-in which can be downloaded from the following link: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=de.

b)       Universal Analytics

Engel & Völkers uses the Universal Analytics functions provided by Google. These functions allow Engel & Völkers to record and analyse socio-demographic data about users by means of a Google ID (if available) and by means of cookies generated by Google from advertising contents (DoubleClick). If a Google ID is available, the data controller will be able to record this data across all devices (e.g. if users have both a smartphone and a PC) for analysing visitor flows across all devices. Users may at any time prevent the recording and storage of data by Google Analytics by installing a Google-approved browser plug-in which can be downloaded from the following link: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=de.

This website does not use profiling cookies.

Use of cookies and other tracking in the Property App

Engel & Völkers needs statistical information on the use of the Property App to make it more user-friendly. For this purpose, Engel & Völkers deploys the following analysis tools. The providers of the tools process data, where personal data are processed, as a processor in accordance with the instructions of Engel & Völkers.

To find out which other cookies the Property App uses click here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/en-de/privacy-policy-ag/doc/ev_cookies_lp.pdf.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is provided by Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheater Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA (“Google”). We use Google Analytics with the additional feature offered by Google to anonymise IP addresses: In this case, Google's IP address is usually already shortened within the EU and only in exceptional cases in the US and in any case only saved in abbreviated form. The privacy policy can be viewed here: https://privacy.google.com/businesses/processorterms/

  

If you want to opt out of Google Analytics tracking, go to your system settings and disable Google Analytics access in the Tracking section of the “Engel & Völkers Property Search” app.

If you want to opt out of tracking Google Analytics on Android, go to the app settings and disable Google Analytics access.

HockeyApp

HockeyApp is provided by Microsoft (Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052-6399, USA). We use HockeyApp for error analyses and to improve the property app. If it crashes, the user may agree to submit a crash report to HockeyApp. A crash report includes information about the crash date and time, the affected software module, the operating system and language used, and the device type and IP address. The crash report will only be sent to HockeyApp once this has been specifically approved. The information contained in the crash report may be partially processed in the United States. HockeyApp is a service from Microsoft. Legal information about it can be found here: 

https://azure.microsoft.com/de-de/support/legal/.

The privacy policy can be viewed here: 

https://www.microsoft.com/de-de/privacystatement/OnlineServices/Default.aspx

Crashlytics

Crashlytics is an analysis tool offered and operated by Crashlytics Inc., based in Cambridge, MA, USA. Crashlytics generates crash reports, i.e. reports about malfunctions or failures of the app, where and in which context these have occurred, how many users of the app are affected, etc. Engel & Völkers uses these reports to detect malfunctions or failures to be able to react faster, more purposefully and more efficiently in the interests of the users and to be able to improve the app technically. For this purpose, Crashlytics, together with the user’s Symphony-related app ID, which can be deleted at any time, records data on the crash and on general data of the respective IT environment (in particular on the used device, the mobile service provider and the operating system). If personal or pseudonymous data is included, Crashlytics will delete it within seven days. This information will give Crashlytics and subsequently Engel & Völkers insight into whether and how the app works and is used, especially the malfunctions and failures that occur. Further information is available at try.crashlytics.com/terms/privacy-policy.pdf.

Links to social media pages

This website contains links to the main social media network sites (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). These are not embedded social media plug-ins, but a link through which no personal data is transmitted to the social media operators.

Rights of persons concerned

You have the right to information on the processing of your personal data (for example, the origin of this data, the processing purpose, the modalities of the data processing). Furthermore, on certain conditions, you are entitled, at any time, to object to data processing in the future, to limit it or to demand the deletion of the data. Finally, you can prevent the sending of advertising material or the implementation of market research or commercial communications at any time.

In summary, you have a right to

-       information,

-       correction,

-       deletion (or to be forgotten),

-       limitation of processing,

-       data portability,

-       objection to the processing of your personal data,

-       complaint to the supervisory authorities.

Please note that your right to deletion is subject to certain restrictions. For instance we need not or may not delete any data which we need to retain for a further period under a statutory retention period. Data needed by us for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims are also excepted from your right to deletion.

To exercise the above rights and to request information, users may write to the following e-mail address hongkongmmc@engelvoelkers.com[A12]  or postal address Engel & Völkers VJI Limited, [A13] Shop A, 95 Caine Road, Mid Level West, Hong Kong. Similarly, users may at any time withdraw consent to, correct and delete the processing of their data.

Contacts

The responsible authority for processing of data is Engel & Völkers VJI Limited, [A14] Shop A, 95 Caine Road, Mid Level West, Hong Kong. In the event of questions regarding our data processors, we are happy to make a current list of these available to you.

If you have a complaint regarding the way that we process your data, you have the opportunity to submit a complaint to the supervisory authority. This is: 

Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

Hamburg’s representative for data protection and freedom of information

Prof. Dr. Johannes Caspar

Kurt-Schumacher-Allee 4, 20097 Hamburg

Mailbox@datenschutz.hamburg.de[A15] 

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