One of us here at listaproperty.com is looking to buy property in Dubai and what an eye opening experience it has been.
My search for property started actually a year ago. I asked an agent friend to find me property and for reasons I cannot explain, that request was not followed up on. So fast forward to today (and yes, I really wish I had bought property in Dubai a year ago) and my experience has been largely disappointing. So to the agents and brokers of Dubai, this is not a criticism but a gentle reminder of what to do and what not to do.
First, let me explain how we do it back home in The States. You call an agent and tell them your budget. Any agent worth their salt specializes in a certain area – but knows every area and is familiar with every property for sale. You tell them your budget and they often will book showings in other neighborhoods (close by) just to show what your options are. They will not say, “I only work in this area and we don’t have anything in that budget.”
Here is a typical situation here. I have a budget of 1.3 million AED and am looking in the Marina, JLT, TECOM, Greens area. While that is not a huge budget, it is not as if I am asking to find an apartment for 350,000 AED. The number of agents who tell me I can’t find anything for under 1,700,000 AED is mind boggling. That is an increase of $111,000 – a bit arrogant, if you ask me, to think I have the ability to increase my budget by this much.
Not one agent has said, “this budget is a bit low for The Marina or JLT but can I show you some property in Motor City or Jumeirah Village? These areas are up and coming and are still close-in to town and are a very good investment.” No, the typical conversation is, “that budget is too low I don’t have anything. If I find something I will call you.”
Not one agent has said “that budget is a stretch for a one bedroom (again in Marina/JLT), but I can show you some great studios that if set up properly can be really quite spacious, would you be willing to view some studios?”
I found one apartment for sale in the Marina for just at 1,000,000. I called the agent and was told, “the apartment is facing construction that won’t be finished for two years and the building will block its view (wow, you really sold me).” I asked if I could still view it and could he put together a few other options in the greater Greens, TECOM, JLT, Marina neighborhood. Yes, I will arrange showings tomorrow. That was ten days ago, I have not heard back from him despite a few texts and phone calls to him. Not only is it unprofessional to ignore a qualified buyer, there are ways you can spin the apartment facing construction. (I need to tell you that the apartment is facing current construction. However, once finished the value of this property will only increase. While the view might be compromised, the unit gets plenty of sunlight and it is the best price for this location, I can show some creative options to emphasize sunshine and minimize the view).
Finally I spoke with Carolina. I told her my budget and she did not bat an eye. “Yes, I can show you multiple properties in the Greens.” She then went on to give me a lot of information on the Greens and different phases of the development and pros and cons of each. She is currently arranging showings of multiple properties.
So for agents a few tips
Spend some time asking what client needs and make recommendations accordingly. If a budget is too low for an area, try not making the client feel like a pauper but make recommendations for other neighborhoods that are still close in.
If you do not work in a certain neighborhood, work with other agents in your brokerage. Don’t just say “Call Frank, he has properties in xxx neighbourhood.” Perhaps call Frank yourself and explain the clients’ needs. Then Frank can call client and say, “I understand you are looking for one bedroom apartments in 1.3m AED range. I have 5 properties I would like to show you.” I promise, this working together will benefit you and the overall brokerage.
Keep in touch with client. If you say you are arranging viewings and a few days have gone by, call the client and update them on the situation.
Give advice on how to deal with blocked views or small units. I’d consider a studio if someone would take to time to show me options on how to decorate a smaller space.
Offer to pick the client up. This gives you time to get to know client, ask what they are looking for (not just the location – but what they want: a place where I can walk to a coffee shop, someplace quiet, square footage, etc).
Lastly, respond to every request and be professional. You know what. I don’t have a 10,000,000 AED budget, but I sure do know people who do. You never know where a referral where come from.