The Missus Files: Finding A Home in Dubai

Last month started pretty amazing with us finally settling in our new home. Having my own space was one of my ultimate dreams since moving to this country. I started as a bed spacer back in 2009, sharing a studio with 3 other ladies I’ve never known before. Then I got to move to a room in a bigger flat where I lived with my colleagues until finally moving out with friends where I stayed the longest so far. It’s been 7 happy and crazy years cohabiting with my “second family”. I have had mixed feelings about it – sad that we’re leaving them and excited that the husband and I are off to a fresh start. No more rules to follow and (cleaning/laundry) schedule to consider! Don’t you think it’s the greatest feeling in the world? :>

We are having the time of our lives at the moment, spending most of our hours at home. Our dates were kept to the bare minimum lately and we’re enjoying everything home cooked. Sometimes we are hosting friends and we felt like we’re winging this husband-and-wife thing so far. We are in the phase of reaping the fruits of our labor – looking for a home and the process of moving out was such a pain in the bum. Not only did we spend so much time and moolah, but also sweat and effort!

Finding A Home in Dubai UAE

So what does the whole moving to a new home in Dubai looks like? For someone who has never done it before, it was quite overwhelming. Gosh, it was the ultimate slap in the face that I am indeed an adult (as if getting married ain’t adulting enough) Here’s how we did it and I hope it helps you in one way or another :)

  1. Set your priorities and nonnegotiable. Do you want to live next to a metro station, near your workplace or in a posh area? In the core of the city or outskirts? Are you going for a studio, a two-bedroom apartment or a villa? Is budget a concern? Does it have to be fully furnished? Do you prefer an old or new building?

TIP: In our case, since the husband and I are working in 2 different locations, quite far from each other, we picked the area in the middle. We prefer a studio over a one-bedroom apartment so we won’t itch to fill every corner with furniture (read: newlyweds on a budget). We don’t like furnished flats (read: scared of bedbugs and other creatures) and we don’t mind if the building is old as long as it’s maintained properly.

  1. Search for the perfect home. Once you established your criteria for the home you are looking for, start searching for it through ads online (dubizzle – probably the best site to go to, propertyfinder, Khaleej Times and Gulf News), newspapers or supermarkets (Spinneys and Al Maya bulletin boards are usually filled with accommodation ads) or real estate agents. Another idea, although a bit of legwork, is going from building to building asking the watchman for vacant flats or contacting the numbers on the TO LET banners stuck on building facades.Finding A Home in Dubai UAE2
  2. Viewing. Most of the time, the images posted online differ from the actual property so it’s always a good idea to pay the house a visit first. Check if the space is adequate, if the building maintenance is good and is pest-free, etc.
  3. Payment. Know the terms of payment whether it needs to be paid by 1, 2, 3 or 4 cheques. Most of the ads we saw require 4 cheques but there are a few great deals around that ask for monthly payment. These must be stated in full detail in the tenancy contract. Aside from the rent, be ready to pay for security deposit (usually 5% of the total rent) and real estate agent fees (ranging from 2000 to 4000 if you found the flat through an agent).Finding A Home in Dubai UAE3
  4. Apply for water and electricity connection. Everything you need about getting your DEWA connected is available on their website, including both online and offline application procedures. Be aware that you have to pay a (refundable) security deposit (the charge depends whether you’re applying for a villa or apartment) and a reconnection charge (if needed).
  5. Get your phone/TV/internet connection. Internet has become a necessity nowadays, while a landline and television connection’s vitality is slowly fading into thin air because of mobile phones, torrent and streaming. Schedule an appointment with Etisalat or Du to have your connection fixed. It takes about 3-5 working days to get it all working.

TIP: For our little household of 2, we subscribed with Etisalat’s 359 plan. We figured out that it’s cheaper and internet’s faster (20mb) in this e-life family package compared to the normal internet package. And it comes with a landline and selected cable channels, too! Win-win!Finding A Home in Dubai UAE4

  1. Pack your stuff and move! Probably the most annoying part is fitting the last x years of your life in tens of boxes. But it’s a good exercise to go through all your things and decide which ones to keep and the ones that are better off trashed/donated/sold.

TIP: Your trash could be another one’s treasure. Check out these sites where you can sell your items: Dubizzle and Cash Converters. If you’re opting to donate old clothes, etc, you may want to have a look at Take My Junk UAE.Finding A Home in Dubai UAE5

  1. Furnish! Ahhh this is the best part of moving! We had a swell time looking for new furniture sets and appliances. Window shopping no more! While some recommend buying second-hand stuff, be on the look out too for promotions on home and furniture shops like Ikea (everyone’s favorite! Apply for Ikea family to get more discount!), Home Centre, Homes r Us, Home Boxx (good deals!), etc.Finding A Home in Dubai UAE6

PS. Don’t exhaust your pockets for furniture yet until you have your gas connected, ie if you do not prefer electric cooking. Gas cylinders have an initial payment of 450 AED and a separate charge for the actual gas (refills at 60).



So this explains why I was out of the loop lately there you have it! Moving is a tedious task but it’s very rewarding once you’re all settled. I hope the above helps, happy moving!

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