Everyone dreads moving, and yet the average person will move 11.7 times in their lifetime. Here are 3 hack to simplify the process.
The act of relocating is never easy, and this is especially true when you’re in a foreign country, with processes that are like a maze to navigate. And while there are enough home moving checklists and advice columns out there to sink the internet, what about the stuff that no one really talks about? You know, the handy hints, insider tips and local knowledge from the people who have actually experienced all the little nuances the UAE have to offer. So, here are few life hacks for moving into a new house that will take all the guesswork out and put you back in control.
1. NINJA-LIKE NEGOTIATION
Be tactical and then make your move
Once you have decided on the where and how, you will usually end up paying around 10% higher than the price listed, thanks to agency and deposit fees at 5% apiece. This means that moving costs can escalate quickly if you’re not careful. But fear not, if you learn one thing while living in the UAE, it’s that what you see is never really the final price.
- Cheque-mate: Yes, the UAE still uses cheques for purchases, at least when it comes to property. In the past, agents and landlords expected tenants to pay in one cheque for the year, but thankfully that practice is being phased out, providing more flexibility for payments. With an abundance of empty apartments on the market, it’s easier than ever to negotiate on your terms when it comes to price and payment schedule. Tenants can pay the rent in one payment or through multiple payments as agreed with the broker/landlord. In addition, some brokers may require a commission fee, up to 5 percent of the total amount of rent. However, and as more supply flooded the market, you can negotiate the number of cheques to four or six cheques, or even get bank loans, to pay rent in multiple installments. After all, who has 100,000 AED just lying around?
Top Tip: Take our advice, if you find a unit that you like, don’t waste time by bartering back and forth. Know what you are prepared to pay and on what terms, then show the landlord your commitment with four or six cheques. Most landlords are still uncomfortable with monthly payments as this is still fairly new, so by building that trust early on, you may be in a better position down the line to negotiate more cheques for renewal.
- Enter the chill zone: For a country that spends half of the year basking in 40+ temperatures, the cost of air conditioning can add a hefty amount to your overall monthly spending. With rental inventory on the rise, landlords need to add a little incentive for their potential tenants, often eating the cost themselves by offering chiller free rent. It’s a practice that has become far more common over the years in the UAE, saving renters hundreds, if not thousands each month.
Top Tip: Our two cents is to start by filtering your rental search on dubizzle to include ‘chiller free’, and to verify this with agents when viewing the property in person. You can even throw it in as a negotiation for listings that may not already include it as part of the offer.
2. A PAPER TRAIL
Know the three Ps – Paperwork, Payments, and Process
While rental fees, the number of cheques, and chiller costs are all negotiable, the renting process remains fixed in the UAE. It doesn’t matter who you are or what neighborhood you’ll be calling home, fail to connect the dots in the order required, and you’ll find yourself with one foot in your new home and the other out of the door.
- Ask all the right questions: So, you love the place and you’re ready to make an offer, but before you even get that far, there are a few things you need to be very certain of. While safeguarding tenants has become a priority in the UAE, there are still cases where a tenant goes to connect their DEWA only to find a pending bill from the previous tenant in the system. That’s why you need to ask all of the right questions from the outset, verifying the details before you invest too quickly in a space you want to call home. This includes asking the agent to prove his/her authority on the property with a registered RERA number, obtaining proof of the landlord’s title deed and copy of their passport to make sure the names match and confirming that there are no outstanding bills that would hinder you from setting up an account.
- Dissect the contract: Your offer has been accepted, but before you can get the keys, you have to sign the line, cross the ‘t’s’ and dot the ‘i’s’. Most landlords will use a standard contract, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a few lines of text worth questioning. The biggest points to be certain of include dates of the rental, amount, number of cheques, penalties for breaking the contract and terms of notice whether you want to extend the lease or cancel it. By signing the rental agreement, you’re binding yourself for a period of time, so be sure you’re happy with the terms.
- Get your cheque book ready: Now it’s time to drop a little money to a lot of people. First, you’ll have to pay your agent his/her commission for showing you the unit and arranging the paperwork. You’ll also take this time to write and hand over the rent and deposit cheques as agreed. Once the landlord signs the contract, an original signed copy will be given to you for your records. If you haven’t already, you should also receive a copy of the owner’s passport/visa and title deed for the property – both of which you’ll need to connect power and water. Which brings us nicely onto step 4 below – moving home utilities, easily one of the biggest ‘house move’ headaches to deal with…
- Let there be light, water and most importantly, WIFI: Once you have your paperwork in order, you’ll need to head out to the nearest utilities office or log on (in the case of DEWA) to submit the required papers and issue deposits. If you have everything, supply should be activated within 24 hours. The same goes for connecting your WIFI. Simply provide proof of tenancy and schedule an appointment to have a technician from DU or Etisalat come to your home and connect the service.
- Registered rental authorities: You’re nearly there, but pending the Emirate you reside in, you will need to visit a registered rental authority to submit documents proving you are the new tenant of the property, and also the rental agreement reached with the landlord. This system is in place to help in any rental disputes should they arise between the landlord and tenant in the future.
3. MOVERS & SHAKERS
Hit the forums for some expert (and honest) advice
The UAE is the land of convenience via its services and when it comes to every aspect of moving house, this no exception. You’ve likely heard some bad experiences with manpower and acquiring new and disposing of old items. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen to you is to learn from everyone else’s mistakes. Take the time to review forums and groups for a moving home guide on everything from the best removals in the UAE to where you can buy and sell home goods to save on your bottom line.
- Movers: Finding house movers in the UAE isn’t difficult given the influx of expats but finding companies that are both professional and reasonably priced is where it can get a little tricky. There are so many forums and directories, such as dubizzle, where you can see first-hand experiences and get some great moving home tips on hiring reputable removal companies.
Top Tip: Anyone looking to remove large, small, defunct and used items, but not bring them to their new home is also in luck. Call Take My Junk, the UAE’s leading free removal service, to come and collect the items when you’re ready.
- The ‘new versus used’ debate: Moving to a new home often means it’s either time to sell or buy a few new items to fill the space. That’s pretty much where sites like dubizzle can help on both fronts, offering a huge inventory for you to bag a bargain on big-ticket purchases (sofas, beds – you name it), or by making it incredibly easy for you to sell the things you no longer need.
Top Tip: Create an excel sheet of all the items you want to sell, your expected price, condition, and top-selling points, so that when the time comes you can upload to the platform in one quick batch.
Visit dubizzle to get the latest updates on properties and housing information, as well as more tips, tricks and life hacks for living in the UAE.