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
Indian resident Eric Vasania turned his back on rising rents seven years ago to buy a two-bedroom apartment in Dubai's Remraam community.
The order management professional, 40, had previously lived with his parents in an apartment in a tower on Sheikh Zayed Road for more than a decade.
His new home had tenants at the time, so he and wife Jennifer, then newly married, waited until 2017 before moving in along with his parents, who have since returned to India.
Mr Vasania, who works for a multinational company in Al Quoz, told The National why becoming a home owner remains a wise investment, even as property prices rise and fall.
Tell us about your property
It was in 2016 when I decided against paying high rents and went ahead with my idea of having our own home in a beautiful community called Remraam. I bought a two-bedroom unit with a big balcony on the top floor of a five-storey building with a lovely view.
It has an open-plan kitchen and two full bathrooms. We needed a moderately cool space and Dewa bills are also moderate. They range from Dh300 ($95) to Dh850 per month as we have our own air-conditioning units on the terrace of the building.
We have one parking space for the apartment, but plenty of space outside the buildings to park other cars.
Why did you buy?
I felt it was better to get a mortgage and spend towards our own home, rather than spending on rent and losing the money. Ours was a lovely and spacious rental unit in a very well-maintained building on Sheikh Zayed Road where we lived for 14 years, paying rent upwards of Dh70,000.
At the time of leaving, we were paying Dh85,000 which I felt could have been spent in a better way
How much did your home cost?
I paid Dh895,000 for this unit, which at that time was a very good deal for the centralised location within the community.
It was a fairly easy process as the agents were there to assist me throughout until the end. There were no unseen costs as I had done my homework which prepared me to pay 2 per cent towards agency fees and 4 per cent towards Land Department fees which are the major expenses added to the deposit amount.
Why did you choose this area?
The circular layout of the community makes everything very accessible at a short walking distance.
I wanted a green and quiet place of residence and at that time had short listed Discovery Gardens and Remraam as my choice.
The community has ample facilities in the form of basketball courts, tennis courts, BBQ pits on podiums, plenty of beautiful green areas and children’s play areas, a football court, a volleyball court, gym, school, nursery, mosque, clinic and retail outlets – all a short walk from our building.
What other benefits are there to the location?
Remraam felt far off from everywhere else, a few years previously. It does not feel the same way any more, given so much development in the area – like Mudon, Damac Hills, Studio City, Tilal Al Ghaf and the upcoming Damac Lagoons.
The area has indeed turned out to be a great choice, given so many premium developments which have come up nearby. Additionally, we have two shopping malls coming up soon, in Damac Hills and Tilal Al Ghaf, so it is only getting a lot better.
Is there anything you would change?
While we also have bus service to Studio City, the downside is that we need to change a bus there to catch another one to Dubai Metro at Mall of the Emirates.
However, we hope for the RTA [Road and Transport Authority] to directly connect our community to Jumeirah Golf Estates station soon.
What improvements have you made?
While we haven’t made changes so far, we do plan to change the flooring and the air conditioning units on the terrace to more powerful ones in the future. To be able to decide what you do with your space … these are perks that only resident-owners can have, as compared to being tenants and accepting what you have
What is your property worth now?
While the value fell to around Dh650,000 during the pandemic, it has come back to around Dh800,000-plus. But being a resident-owner, these property cycles of rise and fall hardly matter; we are still saving in the long run when you add up what you would have otherwise paid in rent, and that’s what matters.
When you are out of your home country, you need to spend on accommodation. The choices are to spend on rent, or to select a property you would like to live in long term and spend on. I’m happy with my choice and purchase.
What does the future hold?
The community is well maintained by Dubai Properties Community Management and the property currently commands a good rental value of around Dh75,000. If the situation remains similar in the future, I would be happy to rent it out if I decide to leave the UAE.
Would you buy more property?
After clearing my current mortgage, I would love to go for another one as an investment.