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Dubai Real Estate: Finding your perfect home - Part 1

Updated: May 16

If you’ve recently arrived in Dubai, you’ll appreciate the challenge of finding a place to live that ticks all your boxes. So, let's check out how to find your perfect abode amidst the glimmering skyline of Dubai, whether you’re looking for a chic apartment overlooking the sea, a pad close to the night life, or a tranquil home from home. Believe it or not, Dubai has somewhere suited to every palette. As your trusty companion, I am here to guide you through the maze of options, legislation, and lifestyle considerations, to ensure your move is not just a change of address, but a transformation of your living experience.

NOTE: You need to have a bank account and cheque book before you can actually rent a place and you have to have your Emirates ID before you can get a bank account. This is something that caused us a bit of a panic, as my husband hadn’t received his when we started the process. It took some negotiating and reassuring, but we managed to get the account opened in time to settle the deal - just!

Downtown Dubai sunset with Burj Khalifa

Before diving into the sea of options, it's essential to understand the legalities surrounding renting or buying property in Dubai. The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) oversees property laws, ensuring transparency and fair practices. They ensure rents are controlled for tenants, preventing unfair price increases and safety in the home. Recently, any villa owners were obliged to install fire safety devices and connection to the fire authority, so whether you’re looking to buy or rent, check if the property has these installed - Safety first! 

You will need to apply for an Ejari (sort of a licence to live there) in addition to the tenancy contract. Our estate agent applied for this on our behalf and the process was simple enough. However, once you have the Ejari, you may need to apply to the building/developer for a move-in permit before you can get past the security gate. It can all feel rather confusing, so I recommend checking with the estate agent for the particular process. 

The final step to getting set up once you’ve found a place, is to connect to the electricity and water supplies. This is simple enough. All you have to do is set up a Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) account and link to the property using the Ejari.

Non-residents can typically lease property on a renewable yearly basis. Most landlords will ask for a cheque for the full year, but I recommend checking if they will accept 2 or 3 cheques, as often this is negotiable. Our landlord originally wanted 1 cheque, but we managed to arrange for 3. If you’re used to paying monthly, remember to set aside the money needed to cover the rent with each paycheque, as you don’t want to be scrambling to find the cash at the last minute. 

In terms of ownership laws, these vary for different nationalities. If you’re looking to buy, it’s worth getting advice from mortgage brokers before you start as there are fees and costs around every corner, and it's always best to know what to expect before you set your heart on the property of your dreams.  

Be aware of the rogues - When I was looking for a place, I viewed some pretty interesting places, one of which I found to be rather alarming. The landlord was pushy and rude and I got a bad feeling about it from the start. These can seem like legitimate estate agents at the time of booking the viewing, so if in doubt, leave and don’t look back - they may imply that you’ve wasted their time, but this is a tactic - Don’t be pressured into agreeing to something that doesn’t feel right. 

Dubai Marina with Traditional Dhow

In this digital age, your quest for the perfect dwelling starts with a few taps on your smartphone or clicks on your laptop. Let's unveil the treasure trove of apps and websites tailored to your house-hunting needs:

Property Finder: This platform offers a comprehensive database of properties for sale and rent, complete with detailed descriptions, high-quality images, and interactive maps. With filters to refine your search based on budget, location, and amenities, finding your dream home becomes a breeze. Zoom in on the map and you’ll see connections and footpaths that Google doesn’t even know about, which is useful for planning commutes and shortcuts to the local conveniences. 

Bayut: As one of the leading real estate portals in the UAE, Bayut provides an extensive selection of properties accompanied by insightful market trends and expert advice. Very similar in the information provided by Property Finder in terms of property details, however Bayut has an extensive archive of articles providing information about the different areas of Dubai, down to individual building descriptions and detailed information about the schools in each area.

Dubizzle: Think of Dubizzle as the Gumtree of Dubai. I’m i

ncluding it here as I recently found out that it has a real estate section, but I’ve never used it for this purpose. I can say that it’s a great place to get used furniture, often in great condition, so it’s a good place to explore, if you’re looking to furnish your new place sustainably.

Dubai nature as seen from The Meadows

Remember, dear seekers, finding the perfect place to call home is not just about square footage and amenities; it's about aligning your living space with your aspirations, values, and lifestyle preferences. As your trusted life coach, I encourage you to embark on this journey with an open heart and a clear vision, knowing that your dream home awaits amidst the dazzling tapestry of Dubai's urban landscape. Happy house hunting!

Check back next week for part 2 of my real estate deep dive, where I’ll be giving you the low down on the different areas of Dubai and what each of them brings to the table.


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