My Own Home: Dubai couple enjoy their Dh1.58 million home in family friendly Motor City

Manisha Harbhajun and her husband Aadil have two children, aged nine and two

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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

Manisha Harbhajun is a homemaker with two children living in the thriving Dubai district of Motor City.

She and her South African husband, Aadil, who are both 41 and run sweets retailer Candy Hearts, bought their two-bedroom apartment just before becoming parents eight years ago.

The couple had become first-time property owners upon getting married and moved into a one-bedroom apartment in the same Uptown Motor City development, shortly after the wedding.

They sold that in 2014 and purchased the two-bedroom unit that remains their home when they realised they would need extra space for son Aarav. He is now aged nine and they also have a daughter, Mahi, aged two.

Ms Harbhajun, an Indian raised in Dubai, took The National on a tour of the family’s property.

My Own Home: Dh1.5 million for a two-bed in Motor City

My Own Home: Dh1.5 million for a two-bed in Motor City

Tell us about your apartment

Our home is approximately 1,370 square feet, on the second floor of a low-rise building – with only three floors – overlooking the pool and a huge park.

The rooms are spacious, we have two parking spaces and two storerooms in the basement, which is great for keeping things that are not in everyday use out of sight.

It is a two-bedroom apartment with two-and-a-half bathrooms, a lounge with dining [space] and an open kitchen. The balcony is decent size.

Since the property was developed almost two decades ago, they had a boring brown kitchen. After living in this community for almost 10 years we decided to do up the kitchen to make it look a little brighter and inviting. So in 2020 we decided to wrap the units to our liking.

What facilities do you have?

We have a community pool behind our building, which has a small gym and a function room that can be reserved for small events.

Adjacent to the pool is a huge green area for the kids to play football or cricket. We also have multiple playgrounds around the community with swings, slides etc. We have security assigned to each building and they also patrol the community, so we feel safe letting the kids have their space.

Our floor has four other families with kids around the same age as ours and they are always together, so we have our little community within the community.

What prompted you to buy?

I grew up in Dubai and my husband and I both lived with our families until we got married.

He always wanted to buy instead of renting, because essentially what you pay in rent can be put towards a mortgage, and can sometimes work out the same or cheaper.

We purchased [the one bedroom] in late 2009 and moved in 2010, after our wedding. Having our own space was a dream come true.

How much did your home cost?

We paid Dh600,000 for our one-bedroom apartment, which was a steal at the time when the recession happened.

In 2014 we purchased our two-bedroom for Dh1.58 million, which was a little higher than we wanted to go. But we really liked the unit after seeing several that just didn’t feel right.

We got a good deal on the mortgage and the down payment was not too much because the unit cost was low.

When we sold the one-bedroom unit at a premium it helped with the deposit for the two-bedroom we then purchased.

What attracted you to this apartment?

It was very well maintained when we viewed it. And being on the second floor meant we didn’t get noise from below and had the floor above us shielding us from the direct heat during summer months.

It has an amazing view of the pool and park which was great because we didn’t get any noise from the roads.

The added bonus was we get the morning Sun through the rooms and lounge, which is nice. The unit is also very spacious.

And why Motor City?

My husband was in real estate at the time, managing off-plan projects for developers.

He had three projects in Motor City so he saw the potential the area and community had, and what it could become.

It was a gamble that paid off as Motor City has been voted the best community in Dubai for several years now.

It was difficult for me at first because I was used to the hustle and bustle of Bur Dubai, but now I cannot see myself living anywhere else.

It’s a great place for kids, it has numerous restaurants, coffee shops, a hotel, parks, and many more amazing facilities.

How have you personalised the space?

I love colours, so each room in my apartment, be it a bedroom or living room, has one wall which is painted with different colours.

Our master bedroom wall is purple, the kids' room is yellow, and the living room is blue.

We also updated all the light fittings when we moved in and recently changed all the light and water heater switches to smart switches.

Any financial advantages to owning versus renting?

Mortgage payments are probably equivalent or even sometimes lower than monthly rental payments.

At the end of the day the property is yours and, over time, it will appreciate in value so if you ever choose to sell you can still make money on it.

Rental payments are just money down the drain and when you leave the unit, you have nothing.

What is your place worth now?

The unit value has depreciated over the years due to the supply of apartments in the surrounding areas; I believe it’s around Dh1.4m at the moment.

We have no plans to move or sell so it's not a concern for us.

If we ever move then we will rent it out. Rental returns are good in the UAE if you have the right property.

We did buy a three-bedroom townhouse in Town Square, which has been rented out since handover in 2019.

Updated: January 31, 2024, 7:28 AM