Buying a property can be expensive and stressful. You need to consider what your current financial commitments are and what you can afford towards a property. If buying a property via a mortgage, understand the long-term financial commitment of up to 25 years. Other costs to consider are fees for mortgage arrangement, agency, legal, land transfer, mortgage registration, life insurance, building insurance and other miscellaneous fees. Ongoing monthly payments to consider are mortgage payments, utility bills and service charges. Also keep in mind repair and maintenance costs, which are usually higher for villas and town houses compared with apartments.
Once you are aware of the financial commitments, it’s time to decide on the type of property. Your decision can be based on your personal preferences or practicalities. If you are single occupier, a studio apartment may be suitable, while a family of four is typically better suited in a villa or town house.
Location is one of the most influential factors when buying a property. Whether in the city, suburbs or outer suburbs, Dubai has the right spot for you. An apartment in the city close to social venues, amenities and work, the so called city life, is favoured by urbanites. Suburban communities some distance from the city centre commonly offer bigger parks, recreational facilities, schools, shopping centres and medical centres within the development. These communities tend to have a more relaxed environment, suited to people trying to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Know the market
Know the market you are buying into. You don’t want to buy a property for more than its actual market price. Review online property portals, check transaction records on the Dubai Land Department website and speak to respected agents who specialise in an area of your interest.
For a more accurate assessment of market value, a Real Estate Regulatory Agency-registered valuer who is also a qualified valuer of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) should be appointed to provide an independent opinion.
View the property
Surprisingly, there are still purchasers who do not care to view or inspect the property. Viewing and inspecting a property provides a better understanding of the layout, condition and surrounding areas of the property, and helps identify possible hazards, such as an electric sub-station, telephone masts or a construction site. A valuer’s report will include an inspection of the property.
The pertinent documents must also be reviewed with a legal representative, conveyancer or agent. Pore over the property’s title deed (in Dubai) or ownership deed (Abu Dhabi), which will confirm the address and the owner’s name along with other salient details. There should also be a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the developer confirming approval for upgrades or alterations to the property, if you suspect such action has taken place. Other documents to review would be the latest service charge and utility bill receipts. If the property does not have any relevant NOC or if service charges are not paid, the developer can fine the owner or even block the sale.
Imran Hussain is director and head of residential valuations at Colliers International Mena. The views expressed here are his own.