My Own Home: Indian family paid Dh2.3 million for off-plan villa in leafy Sharjah suburb

Banker Joseph Thadikaren swapped Dubai for the forest concept of the Suyoh megaproject that houses 50,000 trees and sits close to Emirates Road

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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

Joseph Thadikaran was the first homeowner to move into a villa at Masaar, a forested community megaproject in the Suyoh area of Sharjah.

The Indian father-of-two says he was among the last to buy off-plan in the initial Sendian phase of 430 homes, but got the keys to his completed semi-detached home first.

Mr Thadikaran, head of reward, performance and operations in HR with a UAE bank, had been renting in Dubai’s Al Qusais area since moving to the country, but decided to buy during the pandemic.

His four-bedroom house is part of developer Arada’s Dh9.5 billion Masaar scheme, which will comprise 3,000 homes in six gated districts with 50,000 trees and easy access to Emirates Road.

The family-friendly community’s central precinct will contain sport and F&B attractions including a food truck district, skatepark, children’s adventure playground and an events space.

Mr Thadikaran, 40, shares the home with his wife Treesa, who works as an oil and water chemist, their son Steve, 10, and 13-year-old daughter, Sarah.

Please tell us about this villa

Our home has four bedrooms, a guest room and a maid’s room, with a total of five bathrooms.

It has a closed kitchen, a little away from the dining and living room area, and has privacy.

There are two en suite bathrooms upstairs and one is shared with two other bedrooms. There’s one on the ground floor and one attached to the maid’s room.

We have two balconies, a backyard and a side garden. We also have covered parking.

When did you buy your home?

In November 2021, during the pandemic. I was one of the last customers to buy directly from Arada, one of the last properties available in this particular phase.

Arada management was here to do the key handover in the beginning of February.

I took almost a month to finish the curtains and other interior work, get the electric, water and gas connections and all my furniture moved in, because I bought all new. March 1 was the first night we slept here.

We’re still settling in, and about 10-15 families have moved in since.

And, because of me, five of my cousins and friends have taken villas in other phases. Hopefully in another seven or eight months, I should be seeing them in the community.

How much did the villa cost?

I got a very good deal, slightly over Dh2.3 million. It’s now worth at least 50 per cent more than we paid for it.

The forested concept is something new. It’s a Sharjah version of Al Barari [in Dubai].

If I had to rent something like this, in this community, I would have to pay about Dh180,000-Dh200,000 a year.

What prompted you to buy?

I came to the UAE when I was 23. I’m 40 now and this is the place where I want to continue my career and to live.

Fortunately, we had enough savings to make the down payment.

We never thought of it as an investment, it was more for our own use.

But it has turned out to be one of our best investments so far.

I was previously living close to Terminal Two of Dubai Airport, because it was very close to my previous office. We lived in the same apartment for 14 years.

What drew you to this type of house?

I was exploring on the internet over a weekend; I wanted a contemporary design villa with a lot of greenery.

I got a call from a broker the next morning saying that there’s this project in Sharjah. I went to their office and by the same evening I’d decided.

My whole villa buying process took almost 20 hours.

This was the only project I’ve seen, although I’d been to other villas in Dubai, to friends’ and cousins’ places, such as Arabian Ranches.

We were looking for a three-bedroom, small villa because it’s a small family.

We believe in having less maintenance and spending our money on something else in life, not just a home. However, we wanted a room downstairs so we had to go for a bigger house.

What made you select this area?

I wanted my children to have access to activities and exercise.

Now, they play badminton in the evening, football or I see them cycling. They are fully engaged and most of the time away from their gadgets.

You can spend the whole day walking in the community and still explore only a third of it. The primary thing is green space; there’s a lot of it, about 150 varieties of trees, as if you are in a forest.

You have swimming pools, the open play area, small football grounds. They have a cycling track around the community, something we’re all going to use.

We have a food truck and a supermarket will open soon, as well as coffee shops. We don't need to go anywhere else.

The entire project is massive. The first phase, called Sendian, is huge but it's only one third of the whole project.

We really loved the theme, the construction quality. This was the last villa available in the whole community. We didn’t want to lose it so I immediately paid the down payment and closed the deal.

What improvements have you made?

I’ve done a lot of landscaping in a small space.

I removed sand and filled the garden with soil and put out planters.

I’ve got a barbecue area, new furniture and 70-plus plants in my garden, lots of bonsai, pebbles, automated irrigation, and a cosy lighting system.

Inside the house I did a minor bit of a work around the lighting system, put in towel holders in the bathrooms, curtains and installed a dishwasher.

How have you personalised the property?

I don’t like to touch my walls, so I haven’t done much except put up one or two paintings and some mirrors in the bedrooms.

I’ve installed some (motion) sensor lights in the staircase, more for a safety perspective, and a sophisticated integrated water purifier system under the kitchen sink.

Do you feel a financial advantage to owning versus renting?

If you want to rent a decent two-bedroom apartment in Dubai anywhere now, you won’t get anything for much less than Dh80,000.

For the past 14 years, I’ve been paying the same kind of rent, so it’s close to about Dh1.2 million.

Now I’ve got a property and if I calculate from a rental perspective, my mortgage repayment is probably the same, if not less.

Do you plan to sell if you leave the UAE?

I don’t have any plan to leave the country any time soon. If we left, we would rent this out.

This is the first home I bought anywhere, but I’m going to have a new house back home in Kerala soon. It’s under construction.

Updated: March 27, 2024, 5:25 AM