Well after a week of phoning endless agents, visiting numerous villas and making various offers, I think we have finally secured a villa in a development called Al Reef. Al Reef is located next to the airport (although not on the flight path) and is a nice community development. We have had quite a stressful week trying to get things sorted, especially as it is next to impossible to get a straight answer from agents as to what is available at what price etc etc. The developer, Manazel, has an office there where you can arrange to rent directly. If you want to give this a go - good luck! Frankly, the guys in the office are next to useless, don’t have keys to half the properties and never get back to you on your questions. If you can get any sense though, they are probably the cheapest option. Many agents are also working the development, some of which are offering the villas at the same price as Manazel, others higher. We have made probably 5 offers this week, which have either been turned down for various reasons (e.g. “the owner has decided not to rent the villa now” - yeah, bollocks. “The owner will wait only a maximum of 10 days before you move in”. “the owner is holding out for a higher price” ) or never had an answer at all.
Finally today we have placed a deposit with Pink Properties. I know of stories where this has still not been the end of the story and the property has still been lost - so it’s fingers crossed. Although I think you ultimately pay a little higher for a property through Pink (as I think they are pretty shrewd and more commercially savvy), I can’t complain about the service, so hopefully all will be well.
So the next stage is to get hold of a contract, have my company raise the 2 cheques (6 months apart) that they require, pay a 5% commission to Pink and arrange our move in. To secure the place we have had to agree to take immediate occupation after contract signing, so we will end up with a few weeks overlap with our existing apartment. We go on holiday to China next weekend (more on that to come) so we wanted to have everything signed, sealed and delivered before we went - otherwise we would have had a very stressful 10 days when we got back. It is a pain though, because it will mean I will have to pay back to my company the money for the overlap - but c’est la vie.
In parts of Abu Dhabi the housing market is a little less hectic, and in Dubai it is so laid back it’s almost comatose! Al Reef however has proved to be a very popular location with expats and demand is high. Therefore it is a case of taking what is available at the time, with only minor negotiation, otherwise they are getting snapped up pretty quickly - at least the 5 beds which we wanted. I think there is much more choice of the smaller villas.
So, fingers crossed and we may be moving in soon!