My Own Home: Dubai resident’s rise from sharing to buying Dh650,000 one-bed apartment

Ipshita Sharma used to live with seven people and endured several rental disasters before getting on property ladder

My Own Home: Dh650,000 for a one-bed in Damac hills

My Own Home: Dh650,000 for a one-bed in Damac hills
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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

After more than a decade of sharing a home in Dubai, Ipshita Sharma eventually has a place to call her own after she snapped up a one-bedroom apartment in Golf Vista A, Damac Hills 1, for Dh650,000 ($177,000).

Having spent years living in busy house shares with up to seven others, Ms Sharma, 41, from Mumbai, now counts her two rescue cats as her only roommates and is able to work from home in peace as a freelance journalist and publishing agent.

Since buying the property in May 2019, she believes its value has soared by almost a third, with similar properties now on the market for Dh850,000.

Here, she invites The National to take a look around her “green oasis” overlooking Trump International Golf Club.

Please tell us about your home

The apartment is just under 1,000 square feet with a living area, bedroom, small balcony and one and a half bathrooms.

I paid Dh650,000, which ended up being around Dh690,000 including all the fees.

I keep checking the same properties online and they seem to be going for up to Dh850,000 now. When I bought, pre-Covid, the property was valued at Dh1.2 million, but people were more interested in buying villas so I got a great deal.

I think the value will rise to about Dh1 million soon, at the rate the market is moving. Dubai is only on the upstream, especially with all the outside money from foreign investors.

What made you buy your own property?

I’ve been in Dubai for 15 years and I’ve completed the whole gamut during that time.

When I first moved here, I lived in a room-share with three other girls and shared the kitchen with seven.

From there, I worked my way up to a master bedroom before eventually getting a place on my own. Before I bought my property I lived in a two-bedroom unit in Studio City but I’m very proud to now own my home.

Home interest loan rates in Dubai are really good and I lucked out with a rate of 2.99 per cent, compared to the 8 per cent I’d be looking at if I'd bought in India. Now it’s gone up to 4.99 per cent, which is still really good.

On top of that, I was able to get an 80 per cent mortgage so I didn’t need to pay a lot up front. I have a lot of faith in Dubai for the way it’s grown and the way it looks after the people who live here.

Why did you choose this area?

I like that Damac Hills is away from the craziness of central Dubai but is still within easy reach.

I knew it was the place for me when I entered the gated area and felt like I had stepped into a little oasis. It’s a really special place filled with greenery and a dog park, plus lots of facilities, like supermarkets and even an ice rink.

In 2025, a Dubai Metro station is opening near Damac Hills linking it to JVC, Al Maktoum International Airport and Expo City. There’s also a new mall and Damac Lagoon due to open so it’s going to be a major hub with property prices going through the roof.

How did you discover this home?

I viewed 47 buildings across Dubai before I found this one – if there was a freehold on the market then I’d seen it.

I wanted somewhere that had the potential for resale if I needed it. I initially liked Sobha Hartland and Dubai Hills but they were out of my price range.

I also considered Al Furjan, Arjan and near Miracle Gardens before I decided on Damac Hills. I really like how much storage the apartment has and I love the spacious layout.

How did you find the buying process?

I found it horrifying. I felt like I was playing one of those video games where you can’t see beyond the next step and you don’t know if it’s going to be a treasure chest or a dragon.

I had people try to hoodwink me every step of the way, to the point where I started having panic attacks and needed therapy.

There seemed to be so many unnecessary hurdles and it was five months of pure torture. I’d recommend first-time buyers get as much advice and support as they can.

What gains are there from owning rather than renting?

Not having to deal with landlords for every small issue is such a blessing.

In one of my previous rentals, I wasn’t told that my room was a partition and while I was working away I got a call to say that the wall had been torn down and replaced with a curtain.

Now there are no nasty surprises and I can do what I want, when I want, inside my home. That really means a lot to me.

What upgrades are you planning?

When I moved in I didn’t have much money to play with so I got whatever furniture I could second-hand and now I’m slowly putting together the home of my dreams.

It’s a process and I’m taking one step at a time but now I have furniture that actually matches and it feels very homely.

What are the disadvantages of living in Damac Hills 1?

The area has beautiful landscaping and facilities but that comes at a price and the service charge is quite expensive.

When I first moved in, the service charge was Dh1,200 a quarter and it has just gone up to Dh3,300, which feels like a bit of a jump.

Will you stay in this property?

I want to stay here for as long as Dubai will have me and if nothing changes with the freehold, then I have no plans to move on.

Updated: August 30, 2023, 8:44 AM