Yesterday, Matt and I spent the entire day shopping for apartments with our friends Lauren and Tom Arnold. The Arnold's have just been amazing in their hospitality and are just overwhelming us with their help and support during the transition. They rented a car and with the help of a global concierge we were able to visit with a few agents who showed us a handful of properties.
A few things to note about the Dubai property market:
1. There is no central database for brokers to search for available properties, ie. MLS, instead each individual agent has their own relationship with a variety of developers and landlords. You literally have to call about 10 of them to see 10 units in the same building.
2. In order to rent in Dubai, you have to pay 100% of the rent, up front, in cash. That's right, the whole year's worth. It's considered a big perk to live in a place that is "willing" to accept just 50% at the start.
3. You have to have a visa to rent. Doesn't sound too bad, but follow my logic here. Matt is the one with the visa. He doesn't have it yet because you need to submit your passport to get the visa, and he had to use it to fly here, of course. It takes 30-45 days to get a visa. However, we need to be out of our hotel in 25 days and in an apartment by that time. Hmmmm. This will be interesting.
4. Also, if you want to buy you are not able to obtain a mortgage if you are over 55 years old. Doesn't affect us directly, but still surprising.
We looked at places in the Burj Dubai - that is the area right next to the tallest building in the world (or supposed to be when it is finished, but it is a secret how many floors it will be), the Palm, and Old Town. Matt and I really like the location and the view from the Burj apartments, and hopefully going to see a few more today!