From going with your gut to focusing too much on the people rather than the neighborhood, here’s our round-up of the worst home buying advice and why it pays to do your own research…
There is A LOT of information out there when it comes to purchasing a property, and yet bad advice still seems to find its way to prospective buyers. Most of this comes from a lack of understanding or long-held misconceptions about the housing market in the UAE overall. As much as we love Google, it can be both your best friend and worst enemy depending on the search results you choose to influence your thought process. Combine that with some ill-informed remarks from close friends and family and you can quickly find yourself sinking in a confusing mass of information.
So, rather than giving you another checklist to finding your perfect property, we polled the Onkar Homes office to help find the collective top five worst pieces of advice received and what the reality actually looks like…
1.“Stay away from the market, it’s too unpredictable…”
This is usually followed by: “You’re better off investing back home”. This goes against the fact that Dubai remains to offer a more promising investment opportunity for those in it for the long haul than most other markets do. Understanding the state of the UAE housing market is key to knowing what options are available and you don’t need to look too far to see where Dubai shines in comparison to other places in the world to live. Competitive property prices, attractive financing options, incredible new off-plan developments and of course, the building traction that Dubai Expo 2020 is generating, all make a compelling case to make Dubai home. Even post-Expo, the excitement of 5G powered neighborhoods and Smart Dubai 2021 is likely to increase investor buzz, whilst the introduction of extended and retirement visas provide further incentives. The market may be unpredictable, but that is true of almost everywhere in the world, so let informed decision-making influence your opinion, rather than over-simplistic advice.
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2.“Buying off-plan is far too risky”
It will never get finished! You’ll lose all your money! It’s not safe! And so on. Almost all of us have a story about a friend of a friend that should act as a cursory warning to everyone about buying off-plan. In fact, there were so many myths about off-plan (too expensive, risky, etc.), it needed an entirely separate article to set the record straight. Reality is, when researched correctly, off-plan properties can provide an excellent investment opportunity. Like anything in life worth investing your time and money, the rewards need to outweigh the risks and as off-plan looks to continue its uptick in popularity ahead of Dubai Expo 2020, it simply can’t be ignored from a lucrative return on investment standpoint.
3.“Always buy freehold, you want to own the land beneath your feet”
Deciding whether to go for a freehold or leasehold property comes down to a combination of factors that take into account your circumstances, budget and primary reason for buying in the first place. For experienced investors looking to maximize their returns, then purchasing a leasehold property may make the most sense, or if you are an expat and want to settle in the UAE for an extended period of time, then freehold is naturally the more attractive option. It pays to do your due diligence on the benefits of freehold vs leasehold before making a commitment, as if your view is blinkered by ‘freehold or nothing’, you will likely rule yourself out of certain neighborhoods, developments, and property types.
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4.“Make sure you know what the neighbors are like”
Not what you were expecting? This is, to an extent, something to consider, but of all the factors that can influence a buyer’s decision, this one has to be up there as one of the worst. Granted, talking to neighbors before buying a property is a good idea, as they can paint a picture more vivid than words in a brochure or on a realtor’s website. However, the decision of where to buy is far too important to rest on one brief interaction, so by all means, take note of the advice offered, but don’t let it factor in too much to your final decision. Looking at which neighborhood is the right fit for you is far more important, which is why visiting the areas and speaking to the locals, rather than just the potential next-door neighbors will give you a much broader view. The surrounding area is just as key as the property itself, so make sure you visit the communal places, like the nearest coffee shop or park to see if you could see yourself calling this neighborhood ‘home’.
5.“You’ll know when you find ‘THE ONE’”
Intuition is incredibly powerful, but even real estate agents advise against acting too emotionally when viewing a property, as there are so many other factors at play. Particularly in a market with such a wealth of choice and variety, buyers can often experience choice overload and the accompanying stress that comes along with it. Decision paralysis can promptly ensue the more weight you give to ‘gut instinct’, which means you may end up never moving forward. Whilst first impressions matter when house hunting, having an open mind and trying to remain objective is far more helpful than searching on feeling alone. Return for a second, third and even fourth viewing if needed, as many people overlook features on their first visit, too busy taking in everything around them. Ultimately, you will know when you have found the right property because you will feel secure enough to make an offer.
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At the end of the day, you need to do what’s right for you. Don’t ignore your instincts, but be rational in your approach as well, seeking out the right information that will help you separate the advice worth listening to vs the counsel that could use a second opinion.