Tips for property buyers looking for a new house

Tips for property buyers looking for a new houseImage Credit: Supplied

Cityscape Global is a truly enormous event. Last year, 223 exhibitors from 111 countries spread themselves across all six halls of the huge Dubai World Trade Centre and welcomed 32,521 visitors. Given that there has been a year-on-year increase in visitor numbers of 30 per cent, this year's show could play host to over 40,000 people.

Visiting such a gigantic, popular, dazzling event can be daunting — especially for the regular property buyer looking for a new house. Here's a guide to help you through Cityscape Global 2014, ensuring that you get the most from the event.

It would be a great idea to do some preparation. Entering a buzzing environment with only a ''we'll see what happens'' attitude can lead to a lot of bewilderment and time wasted. So it's really worth thinking through the following points before you arrive.

Some of them might seem quite obvious, but you'd be surprised how often the simple things are overlooked.

* Once bitten, twice shy

If you've had any property dealings before, look back over them and consider any experiences — good or bad — that you can take lessons from. Make a note or keep them in mind.

* Location, Location, Location

This has almost become a cliché, but as people might say: ''It's a cliché for a reason!'' Try to decide where you would like to live, or come armed with a couple of possible areas in mind. Weigh up the most important factors for you.

* ''An Englishman's home is his castle.''

Unlike this old saying, you might not be in the market for a castle with moat and drawbridge, but it is certainly worth considering what sort of property you are after. The house or apartment of your dreams might not yet exist. So what essential features would you be looking for?

And although you most likely won't have a moat or drawbridge, there will possibly be other security features that you need. What might these be? Gated community? Concierge facilities? Alarm systems? Again, with all these try to weigh up which aspects you are comfortable compromising on. It all helps.

* Coming out of left-field

As with many things in life, buying a property can throw up surprises. Try to pre-empt some of these as best you can. Look into service charges and additional levies; consider your moving dates and try to be flexible in case the ideal home might not be ready at the ideal time. Don't entirely discount the possibility of renting a property, at least in the short term, should there be any delays in the transaction or the new property being ready.

And in fact, it is worth considering this last thought from a work point of view: are you likely to be, or is there a possibility that you might be, transferred elsewhere at short notice? In some professions this is of course a real possibility, but it is surprising how often it is not really considered by property buyers in such professions.

It's not only nasty things that might come out of left-field. It's worth preparing yourself for pleasant surprises too. Cityscape Global is bound to have some really interesting properties that tickle your fancy, and that might be very different from what you'd envisaged.

* Money makes the world go round

It certainly does, and it can also make it seem pretty complex, not least in the real estate business. We really stress the importance of being realistic in your property aims, as we don't want to see people over-reaching themselves and ending up in a sticky situation. So when it comes to financing your purchase, here are some aspects to consider:

- ''Do you accept jewels or ancient manuscripts?''

First of all, work out how you are going to pay for your potential property. Take into account convenience for you, speed of access and transaction and ease of establishing the payment method in the first place. And be clear and realistic with the level of deposit you are able to afford.

- The 'Death Pledge'

Or, as it is now known, the mortgage. But mortgages needn't be scary. Have a look round for the best fit for you, and don't leap for the first one that seems halfway decent. You can then come to Cityscape Global armed with a clearer idea of what you can achieve and the sort of lenders' terms that you can meet without undue concern.

- Who is the middleman?

If an escrow is involved, for the mortgage company to ensure that the property tax and insurance are covered separately, who will hold the funds for this? Who would be the responsible agent? Make sure you research this aspect, too.

- Timing is everything

If all this looks comfortably doable, then look at the dates and the timing. When do you need to move by? When could you move by if things went quicker than you imagined? What are your fallback options if the process takes longer than envisaged?

And although it's not the nicest thing to think about, you should really set time aside to consider your options if you are not able to pay on completion. This is something that is often not fully explored and occasionally can bite you. When you find your ideal property, just look at the terms around it from this point of view.

Is there leeway on the completion date or the terms concerning this? Have you enough funds in reserve to cover the extra payments you would have to make, including interest?

Don't forget this can often be higher than the base rate. There might be other costs to cover for the rest of the chain, too. Assess the likelihood of your circumstances changing and, again, be realistic.

Click on Property Ownership and learn about the different forms of it in Dubai

Source: Iseeb Rehman, Special to

The writer is the CEO of Sherwoods Global, London


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