I’ve been busy lately looking for a new apartment. Since the ‘family’ is growing, we decided to rent a bigger flat. See, it’s now 3 years since I first moved in to my current apartment so it saddens me a bit to leave all the memories behind. But well, that’s life. Anyway, more than the sadness, I feel more excited because the shift will also mean a new environment, new routine, and definitely new memories! 🙂
Jaran! Presenting our new home 🙂
Here are some tips based on our experience. This list is not totally foolproof but at least it will help you get started (hopefully!)
- Before the apartment hunting begins, you have to consider below:
- Number of rooms required (Studio, 1BHK, 2BHK, etc.)
- Preferred location
- Transportation options
- Available facilities and nearby establishments
- Here are some suggestions on where you can find available properties:
- Direct to the owner. Check directly with the Natur/Watchman if they have any vacant flats especially if you really want to stay in a specific building. Otherwise, ask for the owner’s contact number and call them directly. This proves cheaper because you won’t have to pay any agency fee/commission.
- Referrals. Inform your friends and colleagues of your plan to move out so when they hear of any vacant property, they will inform you right away.
- Community & real estate websites. Check out Dubizzle, PropertyFinder, JustRentals etc. In our case, we used Dubizzle as it’s more flexible and updated. These ads by the way are usually posted by agents, not the owner themselves.
- Newspapers (website and print). Gulfnews, 7days, Emirates 24/7
- Once you find the perfect apartment for you, ensure you cover the following:
- Payment Terms. Annual rent is paid in cheques. Your landlord will ask you either 1,2,4, or even 6 post-dated cheques for a year’s rent. I don’t need to remind you that a bounced cheque here in Dubai has legal consequences so ensure that your account is well funded in time for the cheques’ clearance.
- Security Deposit. This is 5% of the total annual rent. Majority of landlords prefer to receive cash but there are few who will just ask you for a security cheque for deposit.
- Agency fee/Commission. Now this is tricky. See, we searched all over Dubai before we finally found our apartment. This means that we dealt with a lot of different agents. Some were professional, some too casual (FYI, make sure your agent is certified by RERA). There were even agents who never showed up. They just merely gave us directions to the building then let the watchman do the rest of the work. Also, there was a case when two different agents showed us the same property but gave us different rates (the other one even charging us up to 10% of the annual rent! Nakakahigh blood!). So if an agent charges you more than the standard 5%, I advise you to think twice before closing the deal. The agent by the way will be the one arranging all the paper works. Before signing, review the contract to ensure that everything is as per what you have agreed.
- Maintenance Inspection. If you are not the first tenants of the apartment, schedule a visit prior to your shifting date to check if there are areas needed to be cleaned or fixed. It’s also advised to hire a pest control team to get rid of any remaining insects/pests lurking inside your future home. (Please only avail of lawful pest control companies)
- DEWA (Dubai Electric and Water) Connection. Once the Tenancy contract is signed, take it with you to DEWA Customer Service Office (map here) together with your passport & visa copy so everything gets connected before you move in. DEWA deposit is AED 1,110 (including connection and admin fee). This is apart from the 5% housing fee which will be added to your monthly DEWA bill. For more info, visit this site or call 800900. (UPDATE as of September 2014: DEWA Deposit has now increased to AED 2,110)
- Internet Connection. Check with your Natur whether your preferred service provider (Etisalat or Du) is allowed in the building. Visit their website for an overview of their internet service packages. For Etisalat click here. For DU click here.
- Any modifications. If you want to repaint any of your walls with a different color or do any drillings, better consult your Natur first as some building owners are quite strict with this. Otherwise, you might not be able to get your deposit back after your contract ends.
- Furniture & Appliances. Some people prefer to buy 2nd hand furniture/appliances to save money. Dubizzle and Naif prove to be popular destinations when shopping for pre-owned items. This is okay specially if you buy them from expats who are leaving the country (They will give you the best deal). But before you pay for any 2nd hand item, make sure you come over to do a proper inspection. And just a personal tip, as much as possible, do not buy a pre-owned bed (specially mattress) if you don’t want to introduce bed bugs to your new home.
- Once you accomplish all of the above, sit back, relax and savour the feeling of having your new home away from home. 🙂
If you have any additional tips, please share them in the comments section. Thank you! 🙂