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To Move or Not to Move: Finding a New Home in Dubai

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Moving in Dubai

Apparently the rental market is swaying in our favour, prices are coming down and more properties are becoming available. If you’re tempted to find a new home, our sassy real estate adviser gives us a few tips on making the decision to move or stay…

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Why move?

At the moment people are looking to move because they are seeking better value than they are already getting. Also moving to be closer to schools and work is a general decision behind moving. The other obvious reason for reason is a change in family structure i.e. having a baby, changing schools, children growing up and leaving home. Currently, there’s a little more supply than during other times of the year as many families leave at the end of the summer term so it’s a good time to be looking.

If you are fed up with poor maintenance then a move is often a great idea. Dubai landlords range hugely and the best are those with their own maintenance teams. They are usually very experienced and have total knowledge of how their properties work. A watchman on a compound is another good sign, although not for his watching, as he will be the first person to call on should something go wrong and secondly you can chase him for action. Maintenance is a good reason to move but try and ensure that your new landlord will be better. There are several landlords to be avoided and a good agent can advise you on them.


Rental increases are generally controlled by the RERA index and these should be respected – registering your contract with is a good way to remain aware of your rights. However landlords can choose to ignore this which not only leads to a lot of stress but also a decision to move! Try to make sure that the villa you move to is not likely to create the same strains. Keep an eye on the RERA rent calculator for any new villa you sign on. It will give an indication of what your second year rent adjustment will be.

The Practicalities

A new deal and a new start all depends on what you agree with your new landlord. You’ll also need to make sure that you leave your previous property in a great state so that you get your deposit returned. There is the cost of repainting, filling in the holes and other general repairs which can add up (in a landlord’s eyes) if not seen to. If getting your deposit back is an issue then visit for advice.

Moving will mean paying an agents fee of  5% (the standard percentage) to the agent who finds your new home. Although they may not receive all of it due to side deals this is always a cost of moving and a good agent should earn his salt during the move so don’t be afraid to ask questions and use agents for their expertise and advice!

If you are moving from an apartment to a villa please be aware you security deposit is a standard AED 4,000 to open a DEWA account which is double the apartment security deposit. Gas bottles have an AED 500 deposit.


And then there’s the cost of moving itself. You can either do this yourself, depending on how many personal belongings you have or you can use varying classes or removal firms to do the packing, moving and unpacking. There are local and international movers readily available and this cost is dependent on the volume and distance of the move. Remember to think about the dismantling and reassembling of furniture plus new curtains and fittings too.

Make sure to check out the Sassy Mama Guide To Moving House in Dubai


Finally comes the fun part –   buying furniture and decorating your new home.
Check out the Sassy Mama Guide to moving home and to getting things made.

In a nutshell – a move will cost you but you may end up saving money in the long run (if your current landlord refuses to cover maintenance costs or follow market valuations). Most expats end up moving around a lot – it’s a great way to experience different sides to the city!

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