My Own Home: Family ditch renting for Dh15m six-bed villa in Arabian Ranches

Erika Doyle and her husband Patrick live with their three children in the family-friendly neighbourhood with scenic views

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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

Last year, entrepreneur Erika Doyle and her family spent Dh15 million on a six-bedroom, six-bathroom villa in Dubai's Arabian Ranches.

Ms Doyle, 35, is the founder of Drink Dry, the GCC's first premium non-alcoholic drinks store, and lives with her husband Patrick and their three children.

Originally from Lithuania, she has lived in the UAE since 2019 and previously rented a home in Polo Homes, also in the Arabian Ranches neighbourhood.

Ms Doyle took The National on a tour of her family “haven”.

My Own Home - A Spanish-style, six bedroom villa in Dubai

My Own Home - A Spanish-style, six bedroom villa in Dubai

What can you reveal about your home?

It's nestled on a serene and quiet street, offering us the peace and tranquillity we cherish.

We are very fortunate to have an outdoor pool and a lovely garden space where our children love to play, and we enjoy alfresco dining.

In terms of energy efficiency, our home is relatively well-insulated, which helps to keep utility bills in check – especially during sweltering UAE summers.

Before moving to Golf Villas, we were living in Polo Homes, which was a great experience.

But when we stumbled upon this community, we knew it was the perfect place to put down roots.

What prompted you to switch from renting to ownership?

Renting had been our go-to option in the UAE for over three years, but the pandemic-driven lockdowns made us appreciate the value of having a place to call our own.

The uncertainty of eviction notices and fluctuating rent prices also played a role.

It was a significant step towards long-term security, a sense of ownership and providing stability for our family.

Was your home worth the price?

We genuinely believe we got great value for our money.

The buying process was relatively smooth but it did take a bit longer than we expected.

We started the process in February 2022 and managed to complete it in May 2022.

We also embarked on some renovations to make sure the house was fit for purpose for our family.

As with any property purchase, there were some unseen costs and minor hiccups along the way, but nothing that dampened our excitement about our new home.

Why choose this property?

The spaciousness, scenic views of the golf course, and the quality of the building were key attractions.

It was also a recommendation from a close friend in the area who initially brought the property to our attention.

We did explore other options, but this villa's combination of size, location and overall appeal won us over. Sometimes it's just a gut feeling that tells you a place is right for your family.

The only compromise was our driveway – it only fits two cars, so visitors have to park on the road.

What made you select the area?

Arabian Ranches had everything we were looking for in a community.

It’s family-friendly but also offers a sense of serenity that’s hard to find in the city.

The parks, leisure facilities, and the overall community vibe were definite attractions. Plus, the area is known for holding its property value, which gave us added confidence in our choice.

While the community has advantages, it’s essential to note that there’s no such thing as a perfect place, and the distance from work and some key spots might be a drawback for some.

It takes me and my husband about half an hour to reach our offices each morning, which may be too far for some people.

What changes have you made?

Since moving in, we’ve focused on personalising our home to make it truly ours.

We’ve upgraded the kitchen and bathrooms, added some fresh paint and lighting fixtures, and created a cosy atmosphere with stylish furniture and artwork.

Our garden has seen a few additions too, including plants and outdoor furniture.

We’ve had a great time making our villa feel like our own. Once you purchase a house, it is much easier to spend money on improvements and you are simply adding value.

In regards to the budget, it is hard to say and it is something you work on monthly … it is a constant “work in progress” moment.

What is your house worth now?

We haven’t had a recent valuation, but based on market trends in Arabian Ranches, we believe our property has likely appreciated since we bought it.

Similar properties are now selling for around Dh20-22m. It’s always reassuring to see your investment grow.

Do you see yourself remaining there?

Our current plan is to keep this property for the long term.

It’s become more than just a house; it’s our family home, and we see it as a part of our future.

However, life can be unpredictable, and circumstances may change, so we remain open to different possibilities. As of now, it’s our cosy haven in the UAE.

Are you planning to buy more property?

The experience of owning has been positive and it has piqued our interest in real estate.

While there are no immediate plans, the idea of expanding our property portfolio is something we’re keeping on the horizon.

I am particularly interested in developments around Expo City and Desert Palm. Dubai provides a stable real estate market so why not take advantage of it?

Updated: November 09, 2023, 3:47 PM