Edita loves spending her leisure time at Madinat Jumeirah. Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/ANM

She is not a real-estate agent or a property specialist. Instead Dr Edita Hruba Bortolin, is a psychiatrist and has also been associated with the fashion industry as a model and an entrepreneur. So what is it that makes her stand out and why is she on the cover of our magazine? Edita was born in Italy and then studied in the US and Czech Republic. She owned a few fashion shops in Italy as well. In 1999, she made her first business trip to Dubai; little did she know then that this would change her life forever. During the first visit, she fell in love with the city. She returned after three months; this time with her mother and daughter for a holiday. "I just loved the weather, the sun and sand," says Edita. "When I was holidaying here with my mother and daughter, I began to like this city more and more."

As the fondness for the city grew, her visits became more frequent; five to six times a year. She used to stay at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel during these visits. That's when she realised the fact that she was spending a lot of money on hotels every time she visited Dubai. Six years ago, she decided to buy a property in Dubai, igniting her passion for real estate in the city.

The beginning

The first property that Edita invested in was a one-bedroom apartment in Jumeirah Beach Residences. When the property prices went up drastically, she sold it off.

"After I sold my first property, I bought a few more units," says Edita. Gradually, she became more involved in the real-estate sector as she bought and sold many units and also made some money.

Today, Edita owns properties in Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah and Jumeirah Golf Estates. "Tiara and Oceana are developments on the Palm where I have invested in apartments. I used to own units in Trident Grand but I sold them some time back. Now I have units in Marinascape Avant and Trident," says Edita. She is currently living with her daughter Veronica, who is a student at American University, in a spacious three-bedroom apartment in Marinascape Trident.

"I love the Marina and my home offers beautiful views of it," she says, adding that she recently bought one more property in the same development. "It is a two-bedroom apartment. It was a good deal, so I decided to buy it immediately."

The apartment where she is living now was bought in 2009 from a friend of hers who found the unit too big. Edita had a two-bedroom apartment in Trident Oceanic but she was not happy with it as she felt it was not spacious enough for her and her daughter. "Then we decided to move to a bigger space. I bought this unit from my friend who then bought a unit in Trident Grand," says Edita.

New role

Once Edita settled down in Dubai, a lot of her friends from Italy and Prague started visiting her and they were quite impressed with the apartments Edita owned in the emirate. "They all love sun and sand and it was natural that they liked my units here which were close to the beach," says Edita. Soon, she was inundated with requests from friends who wanted to buy apartments similar to hers.

Most of them also took the fact that Europe was only five hours away by flight into account. "They love this country and it is also conveniently located for people from Europe," says Edita, adding that all she did was help her friends who wanted to buy in Dubai and their numbers grew over a period of time.

Some of her friends invested in properties to use them as holiday homes while some others saw them as a pure investment. "First of all, I want to make it clear that I am not a real-estate agent and I have no business interests in what I do, but yes I do work with a lot of real-estate agents such as Andrew Cleator from Ocean View Real Estate. What I do is help my friends who want to invest here or sell the properties they own here," says Edita. Often her friends give her power of attorney to carry out transactions on their behalf. "If someone comes to me, what I do is I show them what I have and tell them what I think is the best. And if anyone wants to sell, they give me the power of attorney and I sell it for them," she says.

Staggering numbers

To date, there are over 70 of Edita's friends who have invested in Dubai, and all of them have been inspired by her. The number is bound to grow in the years to come, she says. "There are some nice units in Downtown but most of my friends love the beach so they want to buy either in Dubai Marina or Palm Jumeirah," she says.

As many as 25 of the homeowners in Trident Grand Residence in Dubai Marina are her friends from Czech Republic. "Four units in Marinascape are owned by my friends while some others have invested in Bayside as well. On the Palm, I own a unit in Tiara which I bought in 2009 and I have rented it out to someone now. My best friend owns an apartment in Tiara as well. In Oceana, one of my friends and my brother own two units while we have recently booked three more apartments for my friends from Italy and Prague. They are buying them as holiday homes," says Edita.

Selfless service

The journey goes on, so does the flow of Edita's friends to Dubai from abroad. While she is helping her friends buy or sell properties here, she is also on the lookout for properties that are worth investing in because she believes now is a good time to buy as the prices are 50 per cent lower than what they were in 2008. "A lot of my friends love the fact that prices are down now," she says.

Edita says she will continue to live in this country as she loves the weather and its tax-free structure. She intends to invest only in countries which she knows well, and Dubai is certainly one of them. Currently she owns one property in Rome and two in Prague.