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
Hair styling entrepreneur Jamilla Paul moved to the UAE nine years ago and now owns a large Ras Al Khaimah villa with her fiancé Paul Gandy and their three teenage sons.
Having initially lived in Abu Dhabi, Ms Paul fell in love with Al Hamra Village for its “relaxed holiday resort-style living” after being shown the area by a client.
Ms Paul, 48, is a leading hair artist who mentors stylists globally and is regional creative director for four leading hair brands.
She is about to launch premium service, Artilla – The Art of Hair, to provide cuts, styling, male grooming and more for VIPs at exclusive UAE addresses, high net worth weddings, and corporate and celebrity events.
Ms Paul regularly drives to Palm Jumeirah's The Blowout Bar, a salon she bought with her best friend.
She tells The National why her RAK home is worth the commute.
What are the details of your home?
We chose one of the larger, prestigious Bayti Villas in Al Hamra Village.
It has four double bedrooms and a double maid’s room, all en suite. In total, we have six bathrooms.
The three-storey house has a large patio overlooking the pool area, so a perfect location for entertaining while the children play in the community pool.
It also has a large terrace on the third floor and two balconies on the second floor.
We bought the property for Dh1.95 million, completing in August 2022.
Its current value would be around Dh2.75 million as it is the most sought-after location due to new developments to neighbouring Al Marjan Island, only a five-minute drive away.
We bought at the perfect time.
Why become an owner?
We were in a three-bedroom town house prior to buying, but it was just too small for our growing family.
I knew the market well, having lived in Ras Al Khaimah for seven years.
I always had a passion for property and knew the secret was nearly out that RAK was becoming more popular. I had witnessed the village becoming busier and seen many more commuters from Dubai experiencing our beautiful way of life.
The villa we bought was becoming more popular for larger families and more difficult to rent as demand was higher. Having three teenage boys, we needed the extra space.
Property prices had started to rise; RAK was always much cheaper than Dubai, and still is. However, I could see movement, and prices really have increased a lot.
Why choose this area?
I love it. I drive to Dubai most days for work – it is so worth the drive and the traffic.
Work colleagues think I’m crazy, but there is no better feeling from all the travelling I do across the region to come home to our amazing villa and community. Our boys have lots of friends here and it truly is a beautiful place to live.
Al Hamra Village has about 11 swimming pools to choose from, three beaches, a sailing club where the boys can go kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and they play volleyball and football.
There are parks and we live on a golf course.
We have many bars and restaurants, Al Hamra Mall with everything we need, and a golf buggy to get around the village. It is an amazing place to bring up your family.
Also a big attraction for me is I am close to two of the most amazing hotels in the UAE – The Waldorf Astoria and The Ritz Carlton Beach Resort. I spend most of my weekend chilling there.
Soon we will also have the Anantara, The Sofitel Al Hamra and The Westin, alongside many new resorts coming to Al Marjan Island.
What benefits do you feel owning instead of renting?
We are paying only slightly more than when we were renting a smaller villa.
We got great value for money and I cannot see us losing, only gaining, from this investment.
The deposit was a struggle, but somehow we got there. We were determined to buy this home for our family.
We were lucky to buy when we did as I could see the shift happening. I spoke to an agent not long ago and they predicted our villa would be worth Dh3 million by end of 2023, which would mean a profit of Dh1 million in 16 months.
As we bought at the right time, we can now see that the profit will support our retirement.
What upgrades have you made?
We have not done very much – only the patio at the back of the house, some general painting. I painted the kitchen to keep it looking fresh until we can afford a new one.
There is no immediate rush. The fittings in Bayti Villas are still relatively new. This was one of the reasons we chose this property, as it would be easier for us to move straight into.
We are very busy and would not have time for renovations at this stage of our careers. All the furniture was from our old villa, with a few new additions.
Are there any disadvantages to the area?
Absolutely not. It is perfect. They keep the community very clean and clean the pool every day. It really is an amazing place to live.
Do you think you will stay in this home?
The Ras Al Khaimah secret is out now. This place will go from strength to strength and I feel eternally grateful we bought when we did.
We are currently looking to buy on Al Marjan Island, maybe a one-bedroom property as another investment before the boom really happens, for short-term rental income.
We are at a very exciting stage in RAK and I feel very proud to be a homeowner here.
I don’t think we will leave this home. For me, this is also a beautiful retirement area, so we are very happy.