My Dubai Salary: ‘I earn up to Dh180,000 a month in real estate’

Shubham Hunda, co-founder and managing partner of Money Plant Real Estate, bought two properties in Dubai with his commissions and savings

Shubham Hunda, co-founder and managing partner of Money Plant Real Estate, says people should save up to 15 per cent of their salary. Antonie Robertson / The National
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Shubham Hunda discovered early on that he was good at sales and mediation. These skills have helped his UAE real estate career to thrive today.

The Indian citizen, 27, is co-founder and managing partner of Money Plant Real Estate, a broker in Dubai that focuses on buying, selling and renting properties.

The company was established seven months ago and is one of the real estate subsidiaries of its parent company, Hedge and Sachs, which has been in the UAE for four and a half years.

Mr Hunda arrived in the country in 2021, while his family lives in the Indian city of Bhopal. He rents an apartment in Dubai Sports City.

He completed his bachelor’s degree in political science, English literature and economics, then graduated in 2019 with a master’s degree in international affairs and Persian literature from The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in India.

What was your first job and salary?

My first job was in Vadodara city, in the Indian state of Gujarat. While doing my master's, I was working as a call centre representative.

My first salary was 22,150 Indian rupees ($246.80) per month.

How did your career progress?

When I was in India, I took a three-month sabbatical and came to Dubai to visit my sister. She has been living in the UAE for the past 13 years.

I started to look out for opportunities because the UAE felt like home. From my childhood, I liked to sell things and act as a mediator, so I started searching for opportunities in the Dubai real estate industry.

I started my first job as a portfolio manager. My job was to sell real estate, consult with my clients regarding properties and help them to build a real estate portfolio combined with different attributes of finances. I worked there for six months on a monthly salary of Dh5,000 ($1,257).

I hopped from one job to another, unable to find a suitable role. Then I joined Hedge & Sachs as an assistant vice president. There was a programme in the company where they offered a chance for top performers to create a company and make it profitable.

I took on this challenge and started Money Plant.

How much do you earn now?

My current remuneration has different attributes. There’s a fixed monthly salary and the rest depends on the profits and commissions we make.

My fixed salary is Dh49,480. This includes all allowances, including housing.

Real estate professionals always rely more on commissions, which vary from month to month. On an average, it roughly comes to Dh110,000 per month.

During a good month, I can earn as high as Dh150,000 to Dh180,000 from business profit shares after deducting all costs.

Do you have considerable savings?

Yes. I believe that one needs to save a minimum of 10 per cent to 15 per cent of whatever you earn and this will help overcome any emergencies.

I maintain a separate savings account and do not use the debit card for that account. I keep it at home.

2024 UAE real estate sector salaries

What asset classes do you invest in?

I primarily invest in real estate. I also invest in the stock market.

I have investments in mutual funds and a few fixed deposits in India. During my free time, I like to trade international stocks.

Have you purchased property?

Yes, I own two properties in the UAE – a one-bedroom apartment in Remraam and a studio in Jumeirah Village Circle, both of which have been rented.

I bought the Remraam property for Dh585,000 about two and a half years ago, while the JVC unit was purchased eight months ago for Dh525,000.

In India, I purchased a land plot and gave it to my father to help him pay back a housing loan.

Do you have any debt?

No, I just have a car loan now. I didn’t take mortgages to buy the properties because they were distress deals, so I used my savings and commissions. They were both full-cash deals.

I plan to take out a home loan in the coming months to buy a property for my own use in the UAE.

Although I have credit cards, I don’t want to take on debt. So, I spend using the credit card but make sure to pay it back within one or two days.

I use the cards mainly to avail points, which can be used for groceries and food orders.

Have you ever inherited a sum of money?

The only money that I ever inherited was 30,000 rupees. I took it from my father when I came to Dubai.

My father has a government job, so we had limited savings.

You are earning a high salary at a young age – how did you achieve this?

I always wanted to excel in life and buy things that I couldn't afford earlier. When I was in college, my friends would drive posh cars and go for holidays.

Hard work pays off in Dubai. While my colleagues used to work for six to eight hours, I worked for 12 to 14 hours, talking to my international clients at night.

I used to work overtime to achieve my dream to have a comfortable life in the UAE. I also had very good mentors.

Growing up, were you taught how to handle your finances?

Yes, my mum taught me to minimise my costs and save as much as possible. My father taught me to use my earnings to save and to donate.

What are your major monthly expenses?

The biggest chunk goes towards my house rent. I spend on my car loan and remit about Dh5,000 to Dh6,000 every month to my family in India.

I travel a lot and keep money aside for this purpose. I also like to treat my colleagues at work, so I take them out often for movies and staycations.

How do you budget your salary?

I first take out money for fixed expenses. Then I plan things in advance for the month.

For example, if I am travelling, how much will I spend? How much do I need to take my team out twice a month?

I budget and keep those amounts separately. I always make sure that I save the maximum amount possible and minimise all miscellaneous expenses. It’s a work in progress.

Have you started saving for retirement?

I plan to retire around the age of 42. I would like to see a different part of the world.

I have started saving for retirement by investing in certain financial assets. There are some products that will mature when I turn 40.

I keep one year’s worth of expenses in my emergency fund
Shubham Hunda, co-founder and managing partner, Money Plant Real Estate

Do you have an emergency fund?

Yes, especially for medical expenses. I keep one year’s worth of expenses in the fund.

Do you own passive income?

Yes. It is mainly through my real estate investments. I also earn mortgage commissions when a client purchases property with a home loan.

What are your money saving strategies to beat inflation?

Firstly, I keep my earnings in dirhams or dollars. Always keep your money in a currency that is growing.

Secondly, I always invest in products that appreciate in value, such as real estate.

Do you worry about money?

Yes. I feel there is only a particular span of time that a person can earn money.

I am currently at an age when I can earn well. But what if I cannot earn as much in my forties? That worries me and pushes me to work harder.

What are your financial goals?

My short-term financial goal is to buy a property in the UAE for me to live in. I would like to bring my family here so that we can live together.

My long-term financial goal is to buy a property in California. I love the weather there.

What is your idea of financial freedom?

My idea of financial freedom is to be able to buy anything that you dream of.

What are some tips for people to succeed in real estate?

We all have the same number of hours in a day. It is how we strategically plan and execute tasks. Work hard for your goals.

Always sell the right product to your client and build a very good relationship with them.

Sell a product only if you are fully convinced about it. Don't sell anything that’s faulty.

A real estate professional does not need any qualifications. They need to be an extrovert, confident and have strong communication skills.

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Updated: February 27, 2024, 6:40 AM