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Question of theWeek
What are the benefits of having an “exclusive” contract?
An exclusive contract or mandate, meaning a seller uses just one agent to sell his/her property, has a multitude of benefits to both the seller and buyer. The premise of such a mandate is results based on investment and commitment. Selling your home is a quality not quantity game. For the buyer, you will be safe in the knowledge that the property is a) genuine, b) the buying process will be smooth, c) they have all the proper qualifications, and d) the agent has the proper authority to make the transaction. The benefits come in the form of time, priority and quality.
At Espace, we encourage exclusivity as it enables us to do what we do best: provide a thorough and quality service. We have built an entire offering around exclusive clients. You receive half and quarter page print adverts in Dubai’s primary newspapers, a professional photography session with our in-house photographer, a virtual 360-degree tour of your property, we feature exclusive listings on 25 leading property portals and on half, full and double page adverts in our property magazine. We also include listings in our E-50 open house events, one of Dubai’s biggest house viewing/buying events.
There are tangible benefits of doing it this way. Most reputable companies will offer a few of these services as well. Do make sure you find a company that can speak your language, knows your area and will give you the commitment you are giving them.
What will happen to property values in this market over the next few years?
I think we are currently seeing Dubai experience a period of realignment.
Dubai is a thriving city, very much on the global map, and as a result, has experienced continued population growth. This has, therefore, led to an increase in property demand in almost all locations over the last few years.
We can expect a continued, albeit gradual, rise in property prices. Dubai is still a relatively new market and as it matures, it is expected to experience a degree of stabilization. This has already begun with government regulations in the form of a transfer fee increase as well as the mortgage cap coming into play. It is good to see regulations like these being brought in as these will allow the market to experience tighter peaks and troughs by filtering out those buyers who are looking to flip off-plan properties and cannot actually afford the full amount. Investors need to keep an eye on market fluctuations and conduct due diligence. Research will mean the difference between profit and loss for any buyer.
What should I look for in a real estate agent?
When choosing the representative for your home, you need to feel assured, protected and that you are in safe hands. Go to their office and check out their operation. Make sure it is not all talk and that they actually have an office, a presence and can do all they say they can.
Are they going to be around tomorrow? You should know their history. In a market where it is very easy to open up a brokerage firm and put up a website, you have to look deeper than face value. So look behind the scenes in case it tells a different story. It is also important that your agent is giving you the right advice because that is his job. Your agent will give you a valuation for your property as well as find you the right buyer, position your home in the best light, and advise you on areas to improve. You will need a great and reputable agent if you are going to safely act on his advice. Again, do your due diligence in terms of the market, similar properties, your agent of choice, etc. The advice an agent gives you should be the best advice for you, not them.
What are the benefits of buying off-plan property?
The off-plan market is making a comeback. Confidence has begun to rebuild and there are massive developments underway by trusted and secure developers. We have seen huge international developers relaunching projects locally, an excellent indication of a confidence return. Off-plan is more of an investors market as houses can take around three years to complete once you have paid the initial 10%. Sanctuary Falls at Jumeirah Golf Estates is a great example. An additional security measure put in place recently is the escrow account, which aims to regulate the functioning of the construction process of units sold off-plan, thus safeguarding the rights of investors and developers alike. What I would say to anyone buying off-plan is, as with any decision that results in a large investment, do your research and come prepared to wait if necessary; prices will always come back up. It can be a risky choice but choosing the right developer can have a huge reduction in your overall risk potential. The profit opportunity the finished product provides remains unchallenged and the next two to three years will see fruitful yields.
Where is the best place to buy for a first homeowner right now?
The answer to this question is definitely based on personal preference. I will, therefore, work on the assumption that a first time buyer would be looking at something affordable, young and with a degree of investment opportunity to be able to upscale at a later date. Of late, we have had many buyers telling us that their mortgage quotes are coming out at pretty much the same as their rent on a monthly basis. More people are looking at this option. Instead of paying off someone else’s mortgage, they are paying off their own. Check out The Greens, near Tecom, as a first buy. It has terrific amenities, a lovely atmosphere and a sense of community, it is well-maintained, it is still reasonably priced and is a very up and coming area. In terms of value, The Greens is excellent. That said, if you are a young family, you would do well to look at somewhere like Jumeirah Village Triangle. There are plenty of two-bedroom detached villas there, and it is one of the areas which is very easy to get approval to extend plus they have large plots, a rarity in Dubai. It is ideal because if you are going to add to your brood, you need not actually move, you can simply extend.
More about buying property in Dubai and the UAE.
Source: Peter Calamari, Managing Director, Espace Real Estate, Special to Freehold