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And the House Hunt Begins

One of the best things about staying in a serviced apartment is that we have all the amenities under one roof: fitness center, nice swimming pool, Costa coffee, etc. We don’t have a restaurant or room service but it is comfortable and conveniently located in the Marina district. Every morning I enjoy the fitness center and this is my view from my elliptical. I can watch the yachts come and and go. It’s just beautiful.  However, this is only temporary. Eventually, we will have to purchase our own toilet paper and change our own light bulbs as we hope to find a home soon.

Today, Dubai has so many choices for living (rent or sale). It’s actually confusing and difficult to figure out as there doesn’t seem to be any decent maps or guides. Many estate agents specialize in one neighborhood and are overwhelming by throwing out the villa types, styles, names as if you (the potential tenant) has lived in Dubai for years. While out with our relocation consultant, the realtors were throwing out names like Hattan (a neighborhood in the Ranches), Saheel, Mirador, etc. In each neighborhood, you will have different types of villas, Type A for example.  All so confusing… Once you begin to make sense of it all you realize there isn’t just one type of this villa but 6 ranging in names from A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. These – as far as I can tell – refer to the style and number of bedrooms. Oh so confusing! No one seems to use street names or addresses in Dubai (I’ll talk more about this another time soon)!

Since our family has 3 kids we are planning to get a house (aka villa) during our assignment in Dubai. If we didn’t have kids, most likely we would be in an apartment as there are SO many amazing locations. We’ve even thought about a few but our kids (and 2 dogs) need the space of a garden. Additionally, we have made a promise to our trio that we would have our own swimming pool. Many of the apartment buildings have swimming pool facilities and usually fitness centers as well. The buildings on the Palm also have private beaches and sometimes restaurants and cafes.

The Palm is one really, really cool place to be. My screen saver on my iPhone is the view from one rental’s bedroom that I fell in love with in May. These homes on each frond often have their own beach front, are very quiet and super private. So, why am I not choosing to live here like several of our friends have? Good question.

After hours, days and months of thought, the reason is that I think they are too quiet. It’s the perfect location for someone who likes their privacy and peace and quiet. I may think this is my ideal home but with our kids, joy of entertaining and frequent visitors along with our need for chatting with the neighbors, this is probably not the best ‘first’ home for us in Dubai. Our kids want an active neighborhood with lots of kids. The Palm has many homes that are vacant. Purchased as either a second home or with the intent to rent out. Yet, they have remained empty. Additionally, unlike many other (somewhat more mature) neighborhoods in Dubai, you will not find all the extra amenities varying from grocery stores, gyms, club houses, tennis courts, etc to medical clinics and even schools.

Two neighborhoods that we really like are the Lakes and Arabian Ranches. For those who do not have children, they may seem very family-oriented. We like them because they both have great community centers (including a restaurant / club house which serves alcohol), golf courses, tennis courts, medical clinics, grocery stores, etc. The sense of community (ie kids everywhere) is appealing to us as our kids have yet to experience this. After our initial search, we have many things to get used to in our hunt for the temporary, yet comfortable home for our family. Stay tuned as we seek our first Dubai home…

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