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Questions You Should Ask A Listing Agent During A Property Viewing

Hong Kong - Questions You Should Ask at a Property Viewing

Touring and visiting homes can be full of fun, joy, lots of excitement and a rainbow of emotions. Whether you are viewing open houses or pre-arranged home walk-throughs, it’s always helpful to go with intentions set forth. What is your goal? Is it to just to get an idea for what’s out on the market, or are you specifically in search for a home to buy? If you are here reading this article, you are probably a serious prospective buyer with actual interest in property investment, in which case you should be prepared with a list of must-asks while on the search for a new home.

Why is it so important to be prepared? Visiting a real estate property should be more than just a casual walk-through of the home. This way you don’t waste your own time, the listing agent’s time or the home seller’s time. Buying a home is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It’s like a psychological game with very high stakes, with both parties trying to keep a poker face during the negotiation process. Here’s the thing that some people don’t know. Real estate agents are legally bound by law to tell the truth, but here’s the catch: they are also ethnically and legally bound to have their clients’ best interest at heart. As a buyer, you need to make sure that you ask the right questions to find out and gauge what the real situation is. What are the facts? What’s true and what’s less than truthful? Knowing how to ask the right questions and be attentive to the answers could make all the difference between landing your dream home or buying a bogus. Asking the right questions to the seller’s listing agent could save you a load of wasted time and a fortune. The best way to take advantage of this time is to be prepared, and with that being said, here are the questions you should definitely ask the property’s listing agent.

Why are the owners selling the home? How long have the owners lived here?

Why do the sellers want to move? Why are they suddenly selling their home? Knowing why the sellers are moving can help you determine how fitting the home and the neighbourhood is for you. Are the sellers moving because they decided to move to another city? Are they moving because they need to sell the home for financial purposes? Is it because they have outgrown the home? You want to find out the exact reason why the sellers have put the home on the market, because it adds to your negotiation power. 
 
Of course, you have to be prepared that the listing agent may not be entirely forthcoming and open if there are any major issues — with the home, the neighbourhood, the neighbours, etc. However, asking this question can give you a chance to observe the listing agent’s reaction. How does the listing agent react immediately when being asked this direct question? When you ask the question, be on the lookout for any hesitation from the agent or an answer that seems less than legitimate. It’s basically “people-reading," and you are in a much better position if you are skilled at reading a person’s body language, tone, and delivery. You can tell at least get some semblance of an idea as to whether there are any serious hidden problems, even if the agent doesn’t say so outright.

If you do notice any hesitation or feel like the agent is not being entirely honest, it is a telling sign for you to consider what the possible problems could be. The important thing is that the red light has gone off in your head, and you can use this as a sign to dig a little deeper towards finding the truth and hopefully get a better idea of what is going on. As we mentioned already, you have to keep in mind that the listing agent is working for the seller therefore his/her interests lay with the seller. Ethnically and lawfully speaking, everything a seller’s listing agent says and does should have their clients’ best interest at heart, and that can often mean undivided loyalty and confidentiality, even at the cost of withholding pertinent information from the prospective buyers. I will give you an example of how a listing agent might not be entirely direct in answering your question to protect the interests of their client. 

Let’s say the real reason that a seller needs to move is due to a sickness in the family, which is a grave situation. The seller is in a vulnerable position because he/she needs to urgently sell the home for financial purposes to cope with their medical predicament. In such a case, a real estate listing agent working for the seller would probably not let the buyer know outright the real reason, because this information could impact what the client is able to sell their home for. It’s a matter of leverage. You want to place yourself at the better position to get a better asking price. 

So, although it’s important to ask this question it’s even more important to understand that your question might not be answered entirely truthfully. This is just a part of the industry game in real estate, and it is up to you to weigh out whether the answer is the truth or not. 

Are there any problems with the home?

What issues does the home come with that I should be aware of? This is one of the more important questions to ask regarding a property because by law, real estate agents are required to disclose any serious problems to potential buyers, things like — structural issues, code violations, etc.  Since the real estate agent is the middleman interacting with both the buyer and seller in a transaction, it is possible for the agent to be held liable for both buyer and seller in the event of a violation. In real estate business transactions, full disclosure means being truthful and forthcoming about anything the other party should know regarding any material issues in the process, especially if it may mean the difference between the other party entering or not entering the deal. Any major issue that an agent is aware of that could affect a buyer’s purchase decision should be disclosed, especially when asked point blank. 

How transparent the agent is in case by case, but it’s important that you ask no matter what. It is the agent and the seller’s duty to disclose all issues with the home that could affect your purchase decision. There has been ongoing debates about what constitutes as due diligence for disclosure. While there’s a general list of universally agreed upon factors that should be disclosed, other factors dance a fine line. Maybe your neighborhood’s MTR station is going to close, or there is set to be a new building set for construction beginning, or a structural element within the property that is problematic. These are all things that most agents should and would disclose. But what about more spiritual and historical factors like home hauntings, a convicted murderer’s old residence, a suicide incidence or other things? People have been known to move in to homes like these without knowing. It’s standard procedure to ask for a written seller’s discloser, so always remember to request one. Depending on how talkative the listing agent is, you may be able to find out more information. 

If you have any worries and doubts about a home, your best bet is to do some digging around. Google the home address to see if there are any news reports about it, ask the next door neighbours, business owners in the area, security guards, etc. Do some digging on your own. The more you find out, the better position you put yourself in. Having the knowledge and record of the problem areas at your disposal will come in handy later on if and when you are trying to determine your offer. These problems can be factored into the final price of any needed renovations and upgrades. 

Have there been any changes in the asking price of the home? 

How stable has the price been since the home has been listed?  You should ask this questions to get the low-down on any dips in the price of the home and why the price has dropped. This information can help you determine whether the price is negotiable, and the degree to which it is flexible — meaning you may be able to get the home for an even better price. Price changes on a listed property can tell you quite a bit of information. For example, if there are multiple drops in the price over a short period of time, there is probably something inherently wrong with the property. If this is the case, then its a good idea to look more carefully in to the home and why the property is still on the market despite multiple price drops. Maybe the issues at hand are not super obvious on the surface, but have been noticed by other potential buyers that are keeping the home from being sold. 

Another characteristic with listed properties with price changes is that it give you leverage to negotiate for a better price. Even if there is nothing significantly wrong with the house, the price drop could perhaps be attributed to the seller listing too high of an initial price in the beginning. You can use this to your advantage and negotiate for a better deal. A seller who keeps dropping the price is not in a position of power, otherwise the home would not still be on the market. 

What are the average utility and maintenance costs? 

How much do utilities and maintenance upkeep cost? You always want to know the average utility costs to keep the home maintained so you can calculate it in to your overall budget and expenses. Utilities can be costly in certain homes, depending on their energy systems and how efficiently energy is consumed. These are necessary expenses that you should include in your calculations for what you can afford over the long-term. Ask to see utility bills so you can get an idea of what your costs will be like. You want to get the exact amounts of the costs, so talk to the seller if you have to get this information. While these ma seem like small considerations in comparison to the amount you will spend on the home, you have to remember that these are reoccurring expenses that will add to homeownership. You cannot buy a house and then have no money left to pay for utility bills. Often the product is not the biggest issue, it’s the maintenance and upkeep that ends up setting the buyers back financially. 

How long has the home been listed on the market?

The general rule of thumb is that anything more than three months of being on the market is too long. If the home has been listed on the market for so long and isn’t selling, you are going to want to ask the real estate agent why they think it isn’t selling. Are there problems that other people have noticed that you haven’t? Is it because the home was listed too overpriced in the beginning? Again, a property that’s been siting on the market for this long makes for an easier negotiation where the seller would be more open to accepting a lower price. A big advantage for you, the buyer. If a home is listed for too long, it becomes exponentially harder to sell as time goes on, which equates to more bargaining power for you. 

Of course, you and your own real estate agent can also dig up this information on your own. Cheers to the power of the Internet! But there might be only so much you can find out online, and only the listing agent is in the position to give you more insight as to how long the home has been on the market and why. You want to find out all the reasons that have stopped the home from being sold so that you can decided whether you still want to go ahead with the purchase (at a better deal) or forgo it altogether. Maybe the factors that are stopping other buyers from buying the property is also a deal-breaker for you. 

Have there been and are there currently any offers on the home?

You want to find out if you have any competitors vying for the same property. Usually, listing agents will be open and more than happy to tell you if there are any other offers on the table. They might not tell you how much the offers were, but it works to their advantage to give you a hint that you are not the only interested buyer. And the reason why? Because it can spark a bidding war and drive up the final sale price if multiple parties are interested at the same time. 

What kind of time line is the seller aiming for? When do the sellers want to or have to move out?

Knowing what the seller’s motivation is for selling can help you plan your negotiation strategy. If the seller is in a rush and wants to move quickly through the transaction, the price might be more flexible. However, if the seller is not in a hurry to sell as fast, it might mean that he or she is not up for bargaining as much. It’s good to find out what your seller’s plans are so you can react to those plans accordingly. 

Have there been any renovations/updates made to the home?

When was the home last updated? Even if you can spot that certain of the appliances and hardware are new (or lack thereof) — you still want to ask if there have been any renovations and upgrades made to the home. As a buyer, it is beneficial for you to know if the home needs structural upgrades. If the home is older, you definitely need to ask. Firstly, you don’t want to be stuck with footing the renovation bills later on when you find out that every item in the home is breaking down. Renovating a home is not cheap, especially with fundamental features that make up the structure of a home. Not to mention, it’s a terrible hassle to have to deal with. Second, it will give you a piece of mind to know whether any major systems in the home have been updated both for functional and safety purposes. These things can also be factored in to your negotiation later on. 

What is the neighbourhood like? What are the neighbours like?

The neighbourhood plays as big of a role as the physical property itself, so it is good to get an idea of what the area is like and the neighbours who are in the proximity. You want to live in a neighbourhood with people of a similar demographic so that it ups the chance of you sharing similar lifestyles and daily habits. Families with children tend to pick neighbourhoods where there are also other families with young children. Like attracts like. Young buyers might want to live in an area that is more lively and accessible to trendy businesses, restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Student communities will want to live in neighbourhoods strong with other student communities. Have there been any complaints against the neighbours? Have the neighbours complained about the current owner’s noise levels? If so, these are all things that the listing agent is legally required to tell you if you ask. 

How convenient is the neighbourhood? Will you need a car to get around? Are there public transportation lines? How convenient is the area? Are there essentials like supermarkets, shopping malls, medical clinics, banks, hospitals, police station, fire station, and other things around? How safe is the neighbourhood? Is it going to be safe for kids? Will it be safe if you are a young single woman walking around late at night? Are there any schools in the area? What are the schools like? What is the crime rate like? Where is the nearest gas station? Where is the nearest convenience store? These are all things to consider when you are gauging if a neighbourhood will fit in with your lifestyle. 

Do take some time to read our previous articles on how to choose the best neighbourhoods to live in. It will give you some insight in to important considerations to think about when buying in to both a neighbourhood and a home. You want to be happy with both choices, not just one. While it’s a good start to ask these questions to the listing agent, make sure you do some independent research on your own as well. The internet is full of information, and you can find out so much just from playing around on Google Maps. The idea is to find out as much as you can about the neighbourhood before you put in an offer. 

What do the current owners enjoy doing in this neighbourhood? What places do they frequent the most for eating, shopping, and recreational activities?

Knowing as much as you can about your potential neighbourhood is important, so the more questions you ask the better. It’s not enough to know the general features regarding a neighbourhood, you also want to know what it would be like to live there and who better to ask than the current residents themselves? These people have probably lived here for years and know the neighbourhood like the back of their hand. By asking what the current owners enjoy most about the neighbourhood and asking for specific examples, you can then do further investigation on your own. Go and check out all the places they mention, and get a feel for what it would be like going out to eat, walk around, and shop if you lived in their home. What better way to know what it’s like to live in a place then to try it out for a day or two? You won’t know if it will suit your lifestyle until you try it out.

Final Words...

We hope that these questions to ask a listing agent during a home viewing has been helpful to you. Again, the more questions you ask, the better position you put yourself in. You won’t know until you ask, and these are some of the most important questions that every home-shopper should get accustomed to asking. Don’t be left in the dark about these important issues on your next home-hunt.

Are there any other questions you would ask about a potential new home? What have you asked in the past that we have not covered in this list? We would love to hear your tips and experience. 

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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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