PropertyTips & Guides

7 factors to look out for when house hunting


Finding the perfect house that you can turn into a home takes tons of research and sharp decision-making skills. Whether you’re looking to rent a cozy studio or buy a family home, these tips will equip you with some crucial questions to ask your estate agent at your next property viewing.


If you’re renting: What are the landlord’s rules on decorating?

Having to think twice about hammering a nail into the wall or taping a poster up doesn’t end after you’ve graduated college. Landlords may refuse to refund your entire security deposit if they feel like their property has been damaged. Most aren’t petty – and will only weigh down on your security deposit for massive changes like damage to furniture and fittings. Some landlords shave off a small percentage of your security deposit to get the space repainted and deep-cleaned once you move out. So you don’t feel cheated when you move out, have a serious discussion with your landlord about their decorative rules and regulations. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.


If you’re buying: Where will the neighborhood be in 10 years?

Some property purchases, especially in the UAE, are an investment in the future. New residential communities sprouting up on the dusty outskirts of the city transform into buzzing neighborhoods within half a decade. If you’re looking to spend a handsome sum of money on a property that looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere – it would be good to consult your real estate agent and some longtime UAE friends for their educated insights. Some important facilities that should either already be there or should be on their way are a neighborhood supermarket, a mini shopping mall in the general area, a pharmacy or clinic, and a school (if you’ve got little ones).


If you’re renting: How does it fare on your list of basic priorities?

It’s crucial to walk into a property viewing with a list of basic priorities it needs to meet. While all local properties offer running water and electricity, take it to the next level by putting parking space or convenient access to public transportation on that list. Here are some common questions you should be asking both yourself and your estate agent at the viewing: Does the apartment come with free air-conditioning? Does it offer a covered or underground parking space? (soaring temperatures in the UAE can turn your car into a blazing oven overnight). What is the building’s policy on pets? Is the neighborhood tailored for families or single/couple residents? How easy is it to hail a taxi or walk to the metro station during rush hour? Does the building feature a communal gym and a swimming pool? If not, is the neighborhood suitable for a comfortable jog?


If you’re buying: How’s the natural lighting in the house?

Due to its location on the equator, the UAE welcomes intense sunshine for most of the year. This makes it important to investigate the natural lighting situation before making a purchase. Natural light can either be a deal maker or a deal breaker depending on preference. If you’re someone who despises the heat and makes your AC work overtime, it would be sensible investing in a property that faces away from direct sunlight. If you’re super into sunbathing by the pool or are an avid gardener with big plans for the backyard, ensure you’ve got a spot bathed in sunshine.


If you’re renting: How responsive is your landlord?

Swift communication with your landlord is crucial when you’re renting. It’s important to keep them on speed dial in case something goes wrong with the property. Most landlords include minor trips from the handyman in the rent, so be sure to use this service. If you’re renting in a building where all the apartments are owned by the same company, expect frequent inspections from a representative. They’re there to keep track on the status of the apartment while it’s being leased to you, and make amendments to anything that may need tweaking or replacing.


If you’re buying: How close to “ready to move in” is your property?

This is a serious factor to consider in the UAE. Several properties are sold to buyers before construction on the project has even commenced. Most buyers consider it an investment with plans of either converting it into a holiday home or simply flipping the property. You can secure your interests by taking some wise measures before signing the official agreement. Thoroughly read the contract before signing it, and consult property experts on their opinion of the purchase. Do your research, get it surveyed, and ensure you’re dealing with legitimate professionals.


If you’re renting: Are there tons of construction sites?

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Dubai. The city is currently in its adolescent phase, with construction sites dotted everywhere. The last thing you want to unwind to after a hard day at the office is the soundtrack of jackhammers and drills wailing in the background. If the din of traffic and construction gets under your skin, make sure there isn’t a construction site or plans for one in the area. Consult your estate agent and do your research to be completely sure.

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