According to Mercer’s 20th Quality of Living Survey, Dubai ranked as the best city for expats in the Middle East. The city’s unquestionable charm lured millions of people from across the world to live and consider the Emirate as their second home. The city has a proven track record in terms of providing ultimate lifestyle experience and vibrant offerings to many. Its magnificent landscape setup, world’s tallest building, modern landmarks, and residential communities suitable for every expat wants and needs.
We had to dig deep and spoke to some of the most influential expats to share their own living experience as well as their insights when buying or renting a home in Dubai.
Let’s take a look at the experts’ viewpoint and recommendations.
Food Blogger, Traveller, & Storyteller
When buying or renting the home you should keep a few things in the mind, make sure the house is close by to a metro station as initially, it could get difficult to buy or rent a car unless you don't have proper documents. One of my major concerns was having a grocery around and a park or an area where I could walk down during the cooler months so for that a bit of research went in. Some places have the chiller billed to your rent and don’t charge is separately so that’s one interesting thing to consider if you like to save a bit more.
Tips for people moving to Dubai
- Make sure you have all your documents in place as lack of documentation and original stamps can delay your moving here to Dubai.
- Unlike the UK you wouldn’t have to spend most of your time traveling in the metro so if you have a UK driving license it makes things a lot easier.
- Labour is cheap here, so most of the things are done for you which won’t cost an arm and a leg, including restaurants which deliver and cleaning services which are super affordable, saves a lot of your time.
- The housing spaces go very soon off the market due to high demand so if you do find something make sure to lock in at the soonest.
Certified 500 HR & Yoga Instructor
A thing to consider while renting or buying a property in Dubai would be the location. I lived in Dubai Marina, and 20 minutes outside of the city throughout the years I lived in the UAE. I don't enjoy living in busy areas. I would organise myself with what I needed and wanted in a home. Dubai has so many properties, but when you narrow down your likes and dislikes the list can be shortened. The more you know what you want and need, the better.
Editor-in-Chief, Motoring Middle East
From Auto-Expert's point of view, and something that's often overlooked is to consider the parking situation. Thinking about not only how many parking spots you might be allocated but the size of the spaces, and even take a look at the entry and exits to the car parks. Getting on-street parking permits for the year can be expensive, and I've known of people getting tempted to buy big trucks or family SUVs and really struggling to fit them in their residential car parks. If you like to entertain a lot, check to see if there's guest parking available. And of course, like any big city, Dubai is getting busy and congested and some areas are car-unfriendly. So also look at your commute direction and timings before settling on a location for your new home.
After living in Dubai since 2011 I guess I know what is important for me and my family when it comes to buying and renting.
For me it is all about location, Dubai is a city where you are very dependent on having a car for transport, so what I love about the area we live in, JLT, is that we actually can walk to work, walk to the grocery store, and walk to the park. We can even walk to the mall, Dubai marina and JBR.” “I guess we could afford a bigger place if we chose something further from the city, but being able to walk to work instead of sitting in Dubai traffic every morning means so much more to me.
I think the most important thing when buying a home in Dubai is to consider the master developer and do your research on them. See what other costs are included along with the cost of buying the property itself such as community fees, parking costs etc.
Amy & Mostafa
Travel & Food Blogger
Our biggest piece of advice would be to consider car parking and secure a space if needed before signing any agreement. We’re currently 6 months into a tenancy and still on the waiting list for space, with roadside parking very difficult to find!
First of all, make sure you look up your real estate agency on RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency). Stay safe and make sure the agency you are dealing with is licensed. It happened to me when I was new in town and wanted to rent an apartment. The agent who helped me get the apartment wasn't registered with RERA and he charged me twice normal agency fees. Make sure you have settled the agency fees before signing the contract. Also, after my bad experience, I always advise people to check with real-estate sections of banks for the rentals or try buying or renting direct to the owners this way you can save lots of money.
Ask the landlord for proof of payment on all service charges and utilities. This happens very rarely but is essential to avoid random knocks on your door for outstanding bills.
Make sure to discuss all the clauses related to repairs and maintenance before signing the contract. Finally, always make sure your contract is registered with RERA in case there are any problems or disagreements in the future.
Beauty, Lifestyle, & Travel Youtuber
I would suggest to take a different approach to Buying and Renting. However, you will find some features and suggestions are common and apply to both.
My tips when buying or renting a home in Dubai
- Choose right property consultants who should be able to guide you well. The right property consultants will make you their clients for life.
- Word of mouth is the best reference.
- Plan your budget carefully, no matter if you are buying or renting, your Rent / EMI every month should not be more than 30% of your monthly earnings.
- You should not spend driving more than 30 to 40 minutes away from your workplace.
- You should always follow proper procedure and documentation. Register your rent agreement (Ejari).
- In case you are renting, check your chiller charges if they are included in rent.
- In case if you don’t have a valid driving license in the first year, it is advisable to take your apartment walking distance from the metro link or bus station.
Travel & Lifestyle Influencer
Location, location, location!
Spend some time researching locations.
What are your hobbies? Where will you be working? If you have kids, where are the school and play facilities?
Being in a location where travelling is minimised will help make settling into Dubai life more enjoyable. Once you've decided on an area, join Dubai Expats Group on Facebook for advice on communities. Ask about the facilities, security and any tips on agents to consider when viewing properties.
We chose Business Bay for its convenient Downtown location with access north and south via the ease of the nearby Metro station.
Let us know your favourite expert’s advice or if you would like to share more insights on this post, feel free to write in the comment section below.