Sick of public transport and seen a used car for sale in Hong Kong but not sure how to go about buying one? While there are excellent public transport options in the 852, there are definitely instances where having your own wheels makes life easier. We spoke to Conad Bankowski from HK Car Trader, the city’s top bilingual online car classifieds, about the steps you need to take when buying from a private seller.
1. Contact the seller
You might want to come forearmed with the following questions that are the most commonly asked in Hong Kong:
“How many previous owners has the car had?”
Sounds ridiculous, but a car with many owners can be difficult to sell later. Bear in mind, if a car has been imported from overseas then the number of previous owners shown will be zero.
“How many kilometres has it done?”
It can be difficult to accumulate kilometres on a car in HK. High-mileage cars are a big deterrent, especially for sporty cars, as these tend to get driven on weekends only.
“What’s the expiry date of the vehicle licence (registration)?”
Registration in Hong Kong is valid for one year. The fee is based on the engine size. Cars that are seven years or older will need a roadworthiness inspection (MOT) by a government-appointed garage within four months of renewing the vehicle licence.
If you’re happy after the initial Q&A, the next step is to meet with the owner. We suggest viewing the car during the day. Have a thorough look at the exterior and interior of the car, and at any maintenance history and receipts the owner may have. Our experience shows that it’s rare to find cars with a full history, and the common story is that the missing records were “lost”. Most owners will be hesitant to allow you to test drive a car; instead, they’ll offer a “test ride” where you sit in the passenger’s seat for a drive.
2. Agree to a deal
If you’re happy with the condition of the car and ready to make a deal, what price should you offer? As with most things in Hong Kong, negotiation is common; it’s not unreasonable to offer 20 percent below the asking price. Once you both agree to a price, a five percent deposit should secure your commitment. We strongly recommend you arrange an inspection; these range from HK$500 to $2,500 and can save you a lot of money and grief in the future.
3. Arrange insurance
Hong Kong requires a minimum of third-party insurance for a vehicle. Arranging insurance is quick and easy, and typically cheaper than in other countries. Note: Before committing to a car, make sure you are eligible for insurance. Certain car models require a minimum age and a No Claims Bonus (NCB) percentage.
4. Finalise the transfer of ownership
The final stage is to visit the Transport Department with the following required documents: insurance cover note, HKID, proof of address (within the past three months), and form TD25 to be completed and signed by both parties, along with a HK$1,000 transfer fee (at the buyer’s expense). The owner will sign form TD25 once they have received the remaining balance for the car. This can be done by cash, cheque or bank cashier order at the seller’s request. Congratulations, you’re now the proud owner of a vehicle in Hong Kong!
This article first appeared in the Oct/Nov edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe so you never miss an issue!
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