My Own Home: Couple paid less than Dh2m for two-bed apartment in Dubai Marina

Italian Ada Lanzaro Beaton and her Australian husband bought their home in 2017 and are in no rush to leave

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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

Ada Lanzaro Beaton lives overlooking Dubai Marina in an apartment she and her husband Nathan Beaton bought in 2017.

The couple, who are in their mid-40s, paid less than Dh2 million ($544, 530) for the two-bedroom unit in 23 Marina Tower, which they share with their dog Dante.

Ms Beaton, who is Italian, works in product management and innovation while her husband, an Australian, is in curriculum advisory, with both employed in the education technology sector but by different organisations.

They had already been enjoying Dubai Marina life since 2012 so decided the popular destination was also the place to buy their UAE home.

Ms Beaton took The National on a tour.

Please tell us about your home

Our apartment is a two-bedroom with a spacious maid's room that we use for storage. We have three bathrooms and an open kitchen with a low wall between there and the living area.

We have two balconies that are the same size. Each is large enough to sit two to four people. Our views are on to Sheikh Zayed Road and JLT [Jumeirah Lakes Towers] on one side, and sea views/Dubai Harbour on the other … very nice at night, with lots of lights.

Our tower has all standard Dubai Marina amenities including multiple swimming pools, a gym, play areas and a running track on the fourth floor that runs all around the building.

Our tower is very well-maintained and thoughtfully managed, and we’re grateful to all the staff who take care of us residents.

We’re in the middle of Dubai Marina so I wouldn’t call this a quiet location.

Our windows provide good insulation but as soon as we’re out of the building lobby, it’s quite busy with both cars and people.

What made you select this area?

We’ve been living in Dubai Marina since 2012 and we bought our current home in 2017.

Our previous apartment was just across the street, in Ocean Heights Tower.

We enjoy living in Dubai Marina so when the time came for us to buy an apartment, we knew this was the neighbourhood we wanted to live in.

We did look around but ended up on the same block.

There are more opportunities for fun than we need, plus a lovely cycling track and we have many friends in the area.

Parking is difficult and traffic is horrific at certain times of the day but we’re lucky we’re able to leave the house outside of peak hours on most days.

What drew you to this apartment?

Our choice was neighbourhood-led.

We’d always lived in Dubai Marina and been happy here.

We have everything we need on our doorstep and we love the vibe.

We found the apartment through a combination of online search until we found a broker we trusted.

It’d have been easy to be tempted by the many beautiful homes in Dubai Marina with sweeping water views but we had a set budget.

We decided to compromise on views rather than space and it was the right choice for us. Views change all the time, anyway.

What prompted you to buy a home?

We believe in buying versus renting.

And when we came to the realisation that we’d be staying in Dubai for the medium to long term, we decided we’d invest in a home here.

We hadn’t had bad experiences with landlords before – perhaps these were easier days when renting wasn’t as competitive as now.

By 2017 we’d saved a reasonable sum and had access to some additional help from our families back home.

As soon as we had enough for a cash transaction, we started looking for something that would fit our budget.

Any negatives about the area?

There is one downside to Dubai Marina for us … we have a small dog and, despite many families having pets, the Marina isn’t a dog-friendly area.

For example, Marina Walk is just at our doorstep and we’ve always enjoyed long evening walks along the water after work.

Unfortunately dogs are not allowed there, so we hardly ever walk there any more.

For this reason, and because of the ever-growing number of residents, traffic and street noise, we might consider leaving the Marina at some point.

What personal touches have you made to the apartment?

We didn’t make any big renovations [but] we did personalise a little.

The house was still new and in very good condition when we bought it. The previous owners had turned the maid’s room into a storage room, which worked well for us.

We introduced wooden floors throughout the apartment, which I love.

We also wrapped the kitchen to make it look less brown and more modern, and upgraded the built-in wardrobes in the bedrooms.

We put pictures on the walls, painted the walls in specific colours and bought furniture that we liked.

But we’ve never pulled down walls or anything structural like that.

What financial advantages do you gain by owning?

There are different schools of thought on owning versus renting and it depends on several factors, including how steep mortgage rates are.

I’d recommend everyone runs their numbers before committing to such a substantial investment.

We had enough that we didn’t need a mortgage and our home has appreciated since we bought it so we’re reasonably happy that this was a good choice for us.

What do you estimate your property to be worth now?

With real estate – as with all investments – you never know when exactly is going to be the best time to buy.

Based on our individual circumstances, it was good to buy when we did. Our home has appreciated since 2017 and as the popularity of Dubai Marina continues to grow, we’re hoping the value of our property will too.

Based on the improvements we’ve made and the current price of very comparable apartments in our building – same unit, same views, around same floor, etc – it should be worth Dh2.3 million-Dh2.4 million.

Do you plan to sell or lease your apartment if you move?

I wouldn’t say this is a forever home, as we’re talking of upsizing in the next couple of years.

As we’ve started to work from home more since Covid, we could do with more space.

We’d like a garden, or at least better views, and a dog-friendly community. We’re also getting older and have less interest in the hustle and bustle of a busy area like the Marina.

Having said this, we won’t necessarily sell this property, we may keep it as a rental.

Do you plan to buy more property?

We might but we’re in no rush and we won’t necessarily buy in Dubai.

If we buy in Dubai, we’ll diversify and buy something and somewhere different from our current home – probably a town house or small villa.

I like Sustainable City but it’s too far from the places I usually hang out around, or Lakes/Meadows but these villas are priced very high right now so we’ll see.

We’re in no rush to leave.

Updated: February 28, 2024, 5:14 AM