Ask the Agent - When it is the best time to purchase a property?

Ask the Agent - When it is the best time to purchase a property?Pooja Mihir Shah

- I am looking to purchase a property but I am not sure when it is the best time to buy.

We do see a correction in the property prices, somewhere between 5% and 10%, depending on the area. If you are looking to purchase a property, now is possibly the best time. But first, get pre-approved for a home loan. There is a big difference between a buyer being pre-qualified and a buyer who has a pre-approved mortgage. Anybody can get pre-qualified for a loan. Getting pre-approved means a lender has looked at all of your financial information and let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. It is essential to get a survey done on the property so you know exactly what you are buying. I would advise not to obsess with trying to time the market. The best time to buy is when you find the perfect house and can afford it. Real estate is cyclical; it goes up, down and goes back up again. If you wait, you are going to miss out.

- What are the factors to be considered in the valuation of a property and are they in close sync with the market price?

There are various general factors that hold sway when it comes to surveys. These include desirability/appeal, location and demand. Consequently, when a surveyor puts together a valuation for you, he or she takes into account the house prices of recent sales in that area as well as the general attractiveness of the neighborhood. The surveyor may take into account the facilities and amenities available in the neighborhood like schools, supermarkets, hospitals, shopping or retail venues, parks, children's play areas, proximity to the Metro and other public modes of transport, and accessibility to the main roads, the business areas and dining options. Once you obtain the valuation, you are well on your way to acquiring a mortgage and the property you desire. We have found, based on last quarter reports/studies, that property valuations are normally based on the current market price.

- With the growing number of property launches, what are the key factors that I should look out for?

The Dubai Land Department has taken upon itself to register each and every project as well as put all the funds collected in a unique project escrow account. Once you have identified the area that suits your lifestyle and fits your budget, do your homework first. Before making a purchase, do a research about the developer by checking its reputation and previous projects. You can also visit a property in a similar vicinity (one may already have been built in the same area). Always keep in mind to keep a careful budget; you may have to pay an annual service charge. Talk with the developer about all the fit-outs, furniture or finishes that you are promised and reconfirm that this is mentioned in your contract. Lastly, make sure you visit the property when it is near completion. Point out anything you do not like or is missing before you make your last payment.

- I am looking to build my own property in a freehold area. Where can I look into?

A few years ago, we were limited to Emirates Hills plots which may not be everyone's cup of tea.

Today, we have a lot more options available.

One developer has launched quite a few affordable residential plots such as Al Furjan, Jumeirah Park and Jumeirah Islands. These may range between Dh220 and Dh450 per square foot depending on the location. One of the pros in living in such communities is that the infrastructure, such as community centers, schools and parks, are already set up.

There are also a lot of options in Dubailand and Jumeirah Village which range from Dh200 to Dh300 per square foot. Another developer recently launched plots in Downtown Jebel Ali in the range of Dh150 per square foot. There are also future plans to launch more residential plots in similar projects such as Emirates Hills.

There is something to suit everyone's budget.

- Question of the Week: I am new to Dubai and looking to rent a property. What are the key factors that I should keep in mind?

Once you have decided on one or two areas that you want to live in, you should look online as well as in the newspaper. You may be surprised at the deals that you can find. Choose up to five properties to look at. Once you have zeroed in on the right property for you, you will need to fill out the lease contract (add more clauses to the contract if need be), register your property in the Ejari (Dubai Land Department website) and pay a refundable deposit to the landlord. This can normally be all taken care of by a real estate agent.

Some apartments may require a co-signer if you are just starting your first job. They may waive this for a larger deposit. Generally, you will pay the deposit and the first and last month's rents when you sign the lease. Do not forget to consider the amenities offered by the community. The more amenities, the higher the rent. However, if you find a good deal, you may save money if you will purchase a cable, gym membership and phone line. You may also want to ask about the terms for breaking the lease. Many apartment communities will allow you to buy out the lease with two months' rent and the forfeiture of your deposit.

Ask the Agent - Can I buy property anywhere in Dubai?

Source: Pooja Mihir Shah, Special to Freehold

The writer is Director - Green House Real Estate

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