My Own Home takes you inside a reader-owned property to ask how much they paid, why they decided to buy and what they have done with it since moving in
Just over two years ago, George Karebian and his wife paid Dh2.4m to own their first house, within the Serena housing development in the Dubai suburbs.
A regional manager at a Japanese medical equipment manufacturer, Mr Karebian, who is Syrian of Armenian origin, has been resident in the UAE for 20 years and has previously lived in Mirdif as well as Nahda, in Sharjah.
He married Ani Bezdigian, a 34-year-old communications professional at Ducab, eight years ago and together they have three-year-old twins, son Hagop and daughter Araz.
Mr Karebian, 40, showed The National around his home.
Tell us about your property
Our home is a three-bedroom semi-detached villa in Serena community, in Casa Viva. We have three bathrooms, a maid’s room with bathroom, and a store room.
We purchased this place and moved in back in March 2021. The process was quite easy to understand and go through. It took a bit longer than expected, but no complaints.
What made you buy a home?
I have been renting throughout my stay in the UAE. And when the price of the two-bedroom apartment I was renting started rising, we made the decision to at least look for possible options.
A few weeks later, we came to the conclusion that buying would be better.
What led you to choose this area?
We looked at and viewed almost all the options in Dubai. The criteria was that we needed at least three bedrooms with a decent-sized backyard for the twins to run around in. It had to be new and with a certain style, relatively close to the main city for our commute to work [George works in DAFZA, while Ani works in Jebel Ali].
Having nurseries, schools, grocery shops and other services at close proximity was a plus. The prices were increasing so I think we made the right decision, since the property is now for sure more expensive than when we bought it.
Where were you living before?
We were in Dubai Silicon Oasis, a relatively large two-bedroom apartment … somewhere we called home for a couple of years pre- and post- the twins.
What benefits do you enjoy owning rather than renting?
When you can call it yours, you can feel it; it’s not a house, it is a home.
It is definitely a home for the kids to grow up in, something that will be passed on to them.
Even though as a financial investment it doesn’t make sense now, down the line the realisation of this home as an asset will hit harder.
I am not saving over rent if you compare apples to apples, but after years and years the asset will be tradable if needed and that’s the main financial benefit.
What upgrades have you given to your home?
No major modifications have been done. The house and the layout were good from the start.
All we had to do is to make sure the backyard is a nice cosy place for us and the kids, so we did landscaping. A nice permanent fire and BBQ place were built. We added as much green as possible and carpeted the area with high-quality artificial grass for the kids to be safe if they fall while running.
We have a bookshelf upstairs, but since we have three-year-olds we haven’t had the chance to hang any of our photos yet.
What facilities do you have access to?
There is an outdoor play area right across from our house, also a Cheeky Monkeys [indoor playground brand] that is very close. Two Fitness First branches are nearby, as well as nursery options. Geant, Spinneys and Choithram supermarkets are very close, as are a few coffee shops.
The closest mall is Cityland. It has a Carrefour inside. And Dubai Hills Mall is also not far away.
Any downsides to living in the area?
There are no disadvantages, I believe, compared to living in the city centre. You lose the ability to call the supermarket for home delivery, but there are substitutes like InstaShop, Talabat Mart and others. It is a bit of a longer drive to some places, but closer to work, which is important.
The biggest [financial] hit was the down payment, which in our case was around half a million dirhams, something that is not in your pocket as security. We had to start saving from scratch, and it’s harder with twins, but I believe this was a good move.
Is this your forever home?
We don’t know what the future brings, we don’t know what is around the next corner, but for now … it’s our little home that we are enjoying and raising our kids in.