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9 ways to choose the best Dubai property

Find your dream villa or flat, secure funding and select the right real estate agent for you with help from our expert guide to home-buying in Dubai

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Room with a view: online research is useful, but you may need a property consultant to help you find the best place for you

With over 740,000 residential units completed in Dubai and more than 50,000 currently under development, how do you select your dream home? 

With more than 8,000 active real estate brokers and over 3,000 registered brokerage firms, how do you even choose a real estate agent worth putting your trust in?

New-builds rebound as Dubai eyes 1m homes by 2030

Here is a guide to help you make sound decisions while progressing through the home-buying process.

1. ‘Build’ a budget

When buying a new home, many people find themselves ‘putting together’ a budget rather than ‘setting’ one, given their limited finances. Before you go home-shopping, make sure you can pool enough funds from different sources, including savings and borrowing—most commonly through a mortgage—to cover the total cost of your property over a period of 10 to 25 years. Consider how much cash you have on hand versus the amount of money you can comfortably afford to borrow. 

Considering your current income and profession, are you eligible for a mortgage? The first step is to zoom in on a lender and secure a pre-approval on your housing loan. Of your property’s total value, you should be able to make a cash down payment of 25 percent for expats and 20 percent for UAE nationals. Determine your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to find out if you could afford paying off the rest of the cost through a mortgage in monthly installments. Use an online DTI ratio calculator.

2. Find ‘your’ community

Many of us envisage owning a home in a friendly, serene community with parks, play areas, gyms and pools. Being part of a green, lively neighbourhood has moved up the home-buyer’s agenda thanks to a prevailing work-from-home lifestyle. However, singles or couples may prefer living in the bustling city centre. Therefore, it is important to build your own wishlist based on what a perfect home means to you.

3. Think long-term

It is wise to choose a home in a newly launched building or community. In addition to the modern layout and facilities you will benefit from, the cost associated with new units coming into the market has been declining compared to old buildings. 

4. Consider ease of access

How accessible is the residential community that you intend to live in? Many communities in Dubai suffer from traffic congestion. Time spent coming in and going out of your new residence is a key consideration in the decision-making process. Take this point into account during your home viewings and inspections. 

5. Factor in proximity to key facilities

How far is your prospective home from points of interest such as schools, hospitals, retail outlets, leisure facilities, beauty centres and restaurants? Bear this in mind and narrow down your search according to your priorities.

6. Find a trustworthy real estate agent

As first timers, we all need some form of handholding. A house hunt is no different. Online research and asking around can be useful, but you most likely need a property consultant to help you with the heavy lifting. To receive impartial guidance and support every step of the way, you will need an unbiased real estate agent who is selling a wide range of properties in different locations and from various developers.

When dealing with a property consultant, honesty and mutual trust are everything. Much like friends and people you meet daily, you can tell when a real estate broker is being genuine and providing you with objective opinion as opposed to fast-selling for achieving the highest commission. 

What’s more, budgeting can be a pitfall for many buyers with limited real estate experience. A trusted broker with a proven track record can offer invaluable guidance for those interested in buying a new home, holiday home or making a property investment.

7. Assess the developer’s reputation

A place to call home is not only about the actual living space. Take into consideration the various aspects related to the quality of the build and finishings, the level of maintenance and the overall facility management, all of which echo the reputation of the developer.

Many private, small-scale developers give little attention to buildings post-handover, leaving homeowners suffering from maintenance issues and lack of support. 

8. Understand your ROI and liquidity options

How easy is it to rent out your home in case you decided to move out, upgrade or leave the country? What would be the rental yield? Also, iron out the uncertainty surrounding how fast and soon you can sell your home in the secondary market.

9. Make a smart offer

Don’t make a hasty, impulsive decision. Schedule a few home and community inspections if you are still undecided. Once you’ve settled on a unit, consult with your real estate agent on the offer you are willing to make. The home value may not necessarily match the asking price. Your real estate agent will advise you based on variables such as how slow or hot the housing market is, how long the unit has been on the market, and other offers on the table. In a slow market, always negotiate. 

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