DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 09 APRIL 2018. General image from the show floor at the Dubai Property Festival. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Sarah Townsend. Section: Business. POSSIBLE ONLINE GALLERY
Fortunes have been made by some investors - particularly those that bought in 2006 and sold in 2008, or bought in 2011 and sold in 2014. Antonie Robertson / The National

Homefront: 'Should I pay a fee directly to an agent rather than the company?'



I purchased an off-plan property in Dubai in late 2016, which was completed and handed over at the end of last year. During the negotiations between myself, the agency and the developer, the agency agreed to remove its 1.5 per cent agency fee from the purchase price. This was because, at the time, the bank I was looking to take a mortgage from were offering to pay the 1.5 per cent fee as an incentive to sign up with them. However, I would only be able to take the mortgage once the property was completed in late 2017, so the agency were willing to wait until that time to receive the fee. This was never formally written down or agreed in any form of signed documentation or contract; the discussions were either verbal or via WhatsApp. Due to a change in circumstances, I ended up purchasing the property outright without a mortgage and therefore never received the 1.5 per cent agency fee contribution from the bank. The specific agent I was dealing with throughout the purchase process left the agency in early 2017 before the property was completed. She is now contacting me as an individual (not as a representative of the agency) requesting that I pay her the fee directly. She has taken legal advice and her solicitors have written to me requesting payment. The agency itself has never contacted me for the payment. My understanding is that my obligation for payment would be to the agency and not to the specific agent as an individual.  Any general guidance you could provide here regarding my obligations for payment would be greatly appreciated. MM, Dubai 

There are many factors to your dilemma. Firstly, if one buys an off-plan property, the industry standard is for the developer to pay any commission owed to the agency, it is not normally the buyer's responsibility.  A buyer normally pays the agency commission only if the property is either, ready - ie on the secondary market  - or if it is off plan only when it is a resale of an off-plan property.

Mortgage finance for an under-construction property is given by banks only up to maximum of 50 per cent loan to value. Given you did not have anything in writing in the form of the sale contract, or any other written agreement confirming you are liable to pay the 1.5 per cent agency fee, I suggest it would be difficult to confirm there was an agreement.  I understand that a WhatsApp communication may not necessarily be admissible although this may prove otherwise (only a judge can decide).

I can confirm that the Real Estate Regulatory Agency has for sometime now, been phasing out freelancers from the real estate industry and recommends the public only deal with reputable Rera-qualified agents. These agents can only be Rera-qualified if attached to companies; they cannot operate unilaterally without being employed by a licensed real estate company.

Your agent has now got in touch, requesting the commission. I suspect that the solicitor's letter is just a way of applying pressure on you to pay the fee. The fact is that if she is not with an agency, you should not write a cheque personally to her. Despite the long period that has now passed, I’m sure you will not disapprove of paying a fee, just not to an individual. If the agent can offer a legal invoice via a company, then by all means go ahead and pay it.

You can of course do nothing at this stage and wait to see what happens. If the agent insists on the fee being paid, I suggest you tell her that you will only pay the original agency, once they supply an invoice for the same.

________

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________

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & VolkersHe has worked in the property sector for 34 years in London and Dubai.

The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com

DMZ facts
  • The DMZ was created as a buffer after the 1950-53 Korean War.
  • It runs 248 kilometers across the Korean Peninsula and is 4km wide.
  • The zone is jointly overseen by the US-led United Nations Command and North Korea.
  • It is littered with an estimated 2 million mines, tank traps, razor wire fences and guard posts.
  • Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un met at a building in Panmunjom, where an armistice was signed to stop the Korean War.
  • Panmunjom is 52km north of the Korean capital Seoul and 147km south of Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.
  • Former US president Bill Clinton visited Panmunjom in 1993, while Ronald Reagan visited the DMZ in 1983, George W. Bush in 2002 and Barack Obama visited a nearby military camp in 2012. 
  • Mr Trump planned to visit in November 2017, but heavy fog that prevented his helicopter from landing.
The Boy and the Heron

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki

Rating: 5/5

World Cup 2023 ticket sales

August 25 – Non-India warm-up matches and all non-India event matches
August 30 – India matches at Guwahati and Trivandrum
August 31 – India matches at Chennai, Delhi and Pune
September 1 – India matches at Dharamsala, Lucknow and Mumbai
September 2 – India matches at Bengaluru and Kolkata
September 3 – India matches at Ahmedabad
September 15 – Semi-finals and Final

The Bio

Amal likes watching Japanese animation movies and Manga - her favourite is The Ancient Magus Bride

She is the eldest of 11 children, and has four brothers and six sisters.

Her dream is to meet with all of her friends online from around the world who supported her work throughout the years

Her favourite meal is pizza and stuffed vine leaves

She ams to improve her English and learn Japanese, which many animated programmes originate in

The specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 217hp at 5,750rpm

Torque: 300Nm at 1,900rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh130,000

On sale: now

If you go

There are regular flights from Dubai to Kathmandu. Fares with Air Arabia and flydubai start at Dh1,265.
In Kathmandu, rooms at the Oasis Kathmandu Hotel start at Dh195 and Dh120 at Hotel Ganesh Himal.
Third Rock Adventures offers professionally run group and individual treks and tours using highly experienced guides throughout Nepal, Bhutan and other parts of the Himalayas.

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champioons League semi-final:

First leg: Liverpool 5 Roma 2

Second leg: Wednesday, May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

TV: BeIN Sports, 10.45pm (UAE)

What is type-1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a genetic and unavoidable condition, rather than the lifestyle-related type 2 diabetes.

It occurs mostly in people under 40 and a result of the pancreas failing to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugars.

Too much or too little blood sugar can result in an attack where sufferers lose consciousness in serious cases.

Being overweight or obese increases the chances of developing the more common type 2 diabetes.

THE BIO: Martin Van Almsick

Hometown: Cologne, Germany

Family: Wife Hanan Ahmed and their three children, Marrah (23), Tibijan (19), Amon (13)

Favourite dessert: Umm Ali with dark camel milk chocolate flakes

Favourite hobby: Football

Breakfast routine: a tall glass of camel milk

The specs

Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Power: 650hp at 6,750rpm

Torque: 800Nm from 2,500-4,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto

Fuel consumption: 11.12L/100km

Price: From Dh796,600

On sale: now

Brief scores:

Day 2

England: 277 & 19-0

West Indies: 154

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)


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