Ask the Agent - I have been considering buying a property rather than renting. What is your take on this?

Ask the Agent - I have been considering buying a property rather than renting. What is your take on this?Dawn Draper

- I want to move out of Downtown to avoid traffic and inflated prices, but want to stay close because of work. Any areas you can suggest?

Consider moving to DIFC, which is quite literally across the street from Downtown Dubai and The Dubai Mall. It can offer you a larger living space over Downtown properties for the same price, if not cheaper. Typical one-bedrooms in Downtown average around 700-800 sq.ft., whereas in DIFC, you can get 1,200-1,300 sq.ft. In DIFC, you will get higher quality finishings, better facilities and less traffic. As a matter of fact, there's a brand new building that has just been released called Central Park. It offers great rental opportunities to tenants being that it has the best quality finishing in the area, along with a fantastic lobby and facilities. Studios are available from Dh90,000-Dh115,000, one-bedrooms at Dh120,000-150,000 and two-bedrooms at Dh160,000-Dh210,000. The podium levels offer retail conveniences.

- I have been considering buying a property rather than renting. What is your take on this?

Owning a property is a fantastic investment as opposed to paying rent. In most cases, rent actually costs more than a mortgage repayment. On top of this, you will never see a return on the money you spent on rent. Putting your hard-earned cash into your own property will see a return on your investment (ROI) when you sell your property. If you are an investor rather than an end-user, choosing the right property can net you an ROI in excess of 6%; in some places, up to 9%. The overriding factors here are location and demand. Whilst properties considered to be ''inland'' demand lower purchase prices, they also achieve lower rentals. Consider your budget. Do you need finance? How much will your mortgage repayments be? How much net yield will you realise after these payments have been made? What is the realistic capital you will gain over the next few years? Do this first and then look at the prospects based on your personal circumstances.

- I am looking for a villa to rent, but my budget does not allow me. What areas offer reasonable prices without being far away from the main Dubai areas?

Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) is an extremely affordable option, offering fantastic value for money with a very high standard of quality and finish. It is a thriving community that is growing into one of the most sought-after areas in Dubai. It hosts a large array of shops, supermarkets, restaurants, taxi ranks, fitness centres, parks, jogging tracks and children's play areas. The new Circle Mall, which includes a food court and multi-screen cinema, is set to open in 2017. The family-friendly community has a large choice of apartments, villas, townhouses and serviced hotel apartments. Certain developers have appreciated what is required to attract more investors and tenants and have, therefore, built projects to a much higher standard of quality and finish but still at affordable prices.

- I want to live on The Palm but the prices are high. I am looking for a small apartment and may even rent it out. My budget is around Dh1.2 million.

There is one great option for you in a project that's just been handed over. You should go see the Palm Views. These are new-build studios that are in a fabulous position with postcard views. They are the only all-studio developments on The Palm. Units are at Dh1,150,000-Dh1,300,000. They are proving to be popular for both end-users and short-term rental pools which will achieve around a 10% yield. Long-term rentals will return a yield of 6%+. The Palm continues to be one of the most desired addresses today. Palm Views will, without doubt, bring you good capital gains in the long term. As a newly handed-over project, finance is readily available. With some of the lowest current mortgage offers, the repayment is going to be far lower than the rent. These properties are doing extremely well in short-term rental pools and are yielding around Dh12,000 a month so the overall returns are very high indeed.

- Question of the Week: I have a small portfolio of properties in Dubai and currently looking at selling some. I have been told to tie up with a real estate agency exclusively. Should I go for an exclusive deal or list my properties with multiple agents?

To be honest, it is more down to the agency you choose if you go exclusive. If the company you choose is strong in their marketing and advertising and has a good, proactive agency network, then I would advise you to go exclusive. A big bonus is that you won't get dozens of different agents calling you with different prices and offers that are not realistic. In many cases, these multiple ''offers'' are actually the same buyer just going round the different agencies, giving you a false impression of interest. What you should be looking for is the commitment the agency is going to give you for this exclusive agreement. Get the agreement in writing with a confirmation of how they are going to market the properties, showing the range of marketing tools and the frequency they are going to use them. For example: best quality photographs, exclusive signboards, top spot on property portals and website, individual property postcards designed specifically for your property, property matching (targets their database), newspapers and property related magazines. Your exclusive agent should ask to visit you and see the property to ensure they have the best knowledge of both the property and your expectations.

Are you looking for a retirement home in Dubai?

Source: Dawn Draper, Special to Freehold

The writer is Managing Director, Pennington Real Estate LLC

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