If you haven’t already guessed from the packing blog, sometimes the inner project manager in me takes over, and my happy place often involves a colour-coded excel spreadsheet and a plan B. (and C,D,E…)
Initially, looking for an apartment in Dubai did NOT take me to my happy place. As you cannot rent an apartment until you have your Visa and ID, (both of which need to happen once you’re in the country) matched with a fast-moving property market, there was a limit as to what was within my control. The spreadsheet was empty.
My anxiety was greatly reduced by the fact that we were in the very lucky position of my husband’s company were putting us up in a hotel room for two weeks, but ultimately I was still antsy.
However, one of my favourite, judgemental, hobbies, is looking at other people homes on the internet and their decorating choices. So I actively enjoyed searching for apartments on the internet (and was only slightly upset by the number that were empty, reducing my judgement opportunities.)
When we’d visited for the interview, we had dinner with some friends, and I’d fallen a little bit in love with the area they lived in. Dubai has so many lovely places for you to live, the choices are endless – but Old Town won me over – low-rise apartments, with beautiful pools and tiled lanes made this feel like a tiny corner of tranquility in a bustling city, but still close to all the fun.
Even armed with this information, I can’t deny feeling totally overwhelmed that first day I was alone in the hotel. The two weeks we had suddenly felt like the shortest two weeks in the world, and I had no idea where to start. It was too hot to just trek about into the areas like, I would have done in the UK ,and my lack of knowledge and terrible sense of direction, made cabs alone a bad idea. Without a Dubai phone, I took the millennial way out and began communicating in the least personal way – email, and sat there hoping for responses.
Things got off to an unsteady start. One Agent told me we wouldn’t be able to find what we were looking for with our budget, others sent very vague and confusing Whatsapp messages – my favourite was one who ended every message he sent me with “……..” which it turns out, makes the most innocent of messages sound menacing.
And then – when I was beginning to picture us never leaving the hotel, we lucked out. We found a really helpful agent – who had a number of apartments in the area we wanted and in our budget (I refrained from sending a told you so email to the first agent). He took me to a few that day, but it was too late – I’d already fallen in love with the first one we saw.
My husband was rightly skeptical – I can get carried away with things, and he is very good at taking a step back and looking at things calmly. He made some very good points about not rushing into things, which I nodded along with, (at the same time picturing our lives there.) We agreed to see others, which were equally nice but just not the same as the first. We got a great deal, and after a very quick meeting at the estate agents office – we had the keys in the hand to our new home.