Ask The Agent: I would like to buy a property in UAE during retirement

Ask The AgentMohanad Alwadiya

Question of the Week

I have been looking at the UAE as a possible part-time destination during retirement. Hence, I would like to buy a property here, rent it out initially and later use it myself. Any advice?

Including property acquisition as part of your retirement plan is a good move, but you must choose wisely. The key to choosing your property is determining the right balance between the amount to be invested, the returns you require in the interim period before you retire and what type of property you want to enjoy during your retirement. The good news here is your tastes are likely to be shared by your tenants in the interim so renting it out should not be a problem.

Quality properties are available starting from Dh700 per square foot; however, if you want to purchase in the prime areas of Dubai, either in Downtown Dubai or somewhere close to the beach or with a golf course view, you can easily double or triple that amount.

You can expect a minimum net rental return of around 5 to 7 percent which, given the cheap financing available at the moment, makes for a solid investment in preparation for outright ownership and retirement. Be careful with fluctuations in exchange rates.

Factors such as location, the developer’s record and reputation, quality, service fees, building management and the existence of a functioning owners association will require a reputable local real estate professional to help minimize any risks in your investment, whether during the procurement stage or managing your investment until you are ready to assume occupancy.

We’re a startup company looking for an office space with the best value. Should we rent or buy?

At this stage, you need to keep costs down until you become fully established in the market.

The old cliché “location, location, location” is all about the convenience and prestige it can bring to any business. For instance, great value, affordable and well-constructed office spaces are found in Business Bay which start between Dh70 and Dh120 per square foot, but may not work for your business if the location is a hindrance to your operations.

We always advocate businesses acquiring their own premises if they commit to operating long term in Dubai. There is no tax advantage in leasing in the UAE and as long as your office space is appreciating, your balance sheet will grow stronger over time.

If you decide to lease your premises, look for the best deal and lock it in for at least three to five years. Lease rates in Dubai will soon increase, going forward, so make sure you take advantage of current rates.

How do I know if my property consultant is giving me the right advice? 

In any relationship, trust is key. Do some research to verify the veracity of his claims and assertions. If in doubt, seek alternatives as there are plenty of property consultants out there hungry for your business.

Look for experience and passion – people who enjoy what they are doing. Ask friends who recently conducted a real estate transaction and listen to their feedback.

Find a consultant that exhibits a breadth and depth of industry knowledge, and expertise.

Look for an agency that has been in the industry for a long time and has built good relationships with major developers or authorities such as DLD, RERA, DEWA or DED for they will be able to operate more efficiently.

And finally, look for an agency that has received some form of industry or peer recognition as they lend credence to the reputation of the realtor in question.

I came to the UAE with several years of real estate experience overseas. How can I land myself a realtor’s job?

It is good to know that you plan on joining the local real estate sector. Each real estate environment is unique so I suggest you join a company that will enable you to fast track your learning.

Look for a full service company to understand what the UAE real estate business is all about, beyond the buying and selling of property.

The company should value you as an individual, remunerate you appropriately, be prepared to invest in providing learning experiences that come with formal training (mandatory to become a licenced agent in Dubai) as well as in-house training. This means being assigned a mentor, be placed on an internal rotation scheme to enable a broader knowledge of the business to be developed or be given special projects that will facilitate your learning. Companies that invest in high-potential people are typically those that succeed.

Surround yourself with passionate people because passion sets the successful ones apart.

We purchased a villa in Dubai in 2009. Instead of continuing to rent it out, my husband and I decided to sell it. How do we find a good seller’s agent?

There is a large number of licenced real estate brokers in Dubai and the UAE. Finding the right agent to sell your property is something you need to pay close attention to because getting the best person is crucial to how quickly you can make a sale without compromising on your agreed-upon expectations.

Factors such as years of experience in the UAE market, track record of success, in-depth understanding of market trends, area expertise, client testimonials, level of commitment, passion, dedication, professionalism and honesty are important. He/she should also be a duly licenced RERA-certified real estate broker.

Before committing to any realtor, make a list of all the questions you want answered first and see how they respond as doing so will help you gauge whether or not giving him/her your business is the best thing for you and your husband, and your property.

Source: Mohanad Alwadiya, Special to Properties
CEO, Harbor Real Estate


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