My Dubai Rent: Musician makes move to save Dh90,000 on rent and invest in business

Francoise Albrando Crosbie pays Dh60,000 for two-bedroom apartment in Nadd Al Hamar

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My Dubai Rent takes you inside a reader's home to have a look at what they get for their money, how much they pay in rent and asks them what they like and don't like

Entrepreneur and musician Francoise Albrando Crosbie recently rented a two-bedroom apartment in Nadd Al Hamar, Dubai, with her teacher husband David and their five-year-old son, Robin.

The Filipina moved from nearby Dubai Creek Harbour in Ras Al Khor after a huge rent increase demand drove the need for something more affordable.

Ms Crosbie says she is paying Dh60,000 ($13,600) in four cheques rather than the Dh150,000 their previous landlord had requested, freeing up crucial funds to rebrand her Keto Goodies start-up as a healthy online bakery and a meal plan businesses Carb Conscious and Low Carb City.

Ms Crosbie, 36, invited The National to tour the apartment and discover what makes it ideal for her lifestyle.

My Dubai Rent: Filipina mum pays Dh60,000 for two-bedroom apartment in Nadd Al Hamar

My Dubai Rent: Filipina mum pays Dh60,000 for two-bedroom apartment in Nadd Al Hamar
My Dubai Rent: Filipina mum pays Dh60,000 for two-bedroom apartment in Nadd Al Hamar

Tell us about your home

We are in a corner apartment with two balconies — one for the main bedroom and one for the living room — two and a half bathrooms and a closed kitchen. It has a big enough living room while having nice size bedrooms, more balanced than in some apartments.

We have a small swimming pool and gym on the rooftop. We live on the sixth floor of a nine-storey building. There are two mosques and they’re building one more.

What made you choose to live there?

We liked it for the price and we knew right off that we wanted to live close to the 311 motorway because my husband works in Umm Al Quwain. There were only a few options.

We still wanted to also be near Dubai Creek Harbour because my son’s playmates are there. My husband plays a lot of squash and there’s a court there that he likes.

We looked in three buildings and this was a really nice one.

What other advantages are there to the area?

There is accessibility to cheap grocery stores and a small mall. Also, it’s really near Mirdif City Centre and Festival City Mall, so really convenient. It’s a close community as well, a smaller place.

It’s quieter than where we used to live, which had so many tourists, influencers and business people.

It feels more homely here in that I can go down to the grocery shop in the clothes I wear inside the house rather than feel like I have to dress up.

Is it a sociable neighbourhood?

I’m a bit of an introvert but my husband, my son and the nanny are more sociable and have managed to make friends for Robin in the month and a half we’ve been here.

We miss the playground and the parks that our old neighbourhood came with, but that’s a reason we’re living just 10 minutes away.

I feel like we always move to a place where it’s developing. They’re building two more buildings across the street.

How are you personalising your flat?

It’s basically a carbon copy of our previous apartment. I went more minimalistic.

We brought our furniture with us and I’m hanging pictures and my guitars.

Do you feel it offers more value for your rent?

Yes. We moved at just the right time to Dubai Creek Harbour, a few days before Covid lockdown, and it was affordable back then.

After a few years, it became really popular, the development really progressed and the price came with that. They wanted Dh150,000 for my two-bedroom. Here we are paying Dh60,000.

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We are pivoting the business … rebranding and marketing are expensive so you have to downgrade some things in life to enable that.

If we had a choice, we wouldn’t have moved because of how nice the community was there for children. That’s why we still want to live close to it.

What about this apartment appeals to you?

I like lots of light and it has floor-to-ceiling windows. That was important, as back in Dubai Creek Harbour we had a nice creek view, as well as the Burj Khalifa.

What I like about this place is that it also has a bit of a Burj view. There’s space to look out on to so it’s not crammed with other buildings when you look out of the window.

I have multiple schedules. I can work from home and I like that it does not feel cramped in here. I like the area for the quietness.

Are there any downsides to living there?

There’s not a lot of street parking space. I have to park at the sandpit.

Another is there’s not a lot of pathways for walking. We have a small French bulldog, Georgie, and walk him with our son. There’s not a lot of pavement because of construction and so many parked cars.

Updated: May 09, 2023, 12:36 PM