After moving their search from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, one family finds an affordable flat in Shoreline Apartments.
Property insider: Shoreline Palm Jumeriah
A two-bedroom apartment, plus maid's room in the Shoreline Apartments on Palm Jumeirah, through Marks Falcon Real Estate.
Dh85,000 plus five per cent commission and a five per cent deposit.
We'd been living in Al Raha Gardens in Abu Dhabi for a year. It was relatively expensive but, at the time we moved in, it represented the best value we could find. However, the changing rental market in recent months made it seem prudent to move, so I started the search in Khalifa City A, armed with a budget of Dh90,000. In three weeks I saw more than 30 properties. In fact, I'd arranged to view even more than that but, frustratingly, many landlords and agents failed to show up for appointments. The search proved pretty demoralising - only two places were even close to being habitable.
Eventually, I found an apartment that ticked enough boxes for us (my wife and I have a three-year-old and a baby) even if it was slightly over budget. When we agreed to the deal, the place was still a long way from being ready to live in - it needed some interior walls finished and the bathrooms had not been installed - but the agent told us all would be fine by the time we needed to move, so I paid a deposit to secure it.
However, with just a week to go before our lease ended in Al Raha, it became clear that our new place was nowhere near ready and I made the difficult decision to pull out of the deal. Depressingly, we were back to square one with time running out.
Given that our earlier search had been disappointing and we now had even less time, we decided to search further afield - so we began to look in Dubai, knowing we'd find more choice and better value for money there.
We revised our budget to Dh85,000, as Dh5,000 would now be swallowed up in petrol and car costs for my commute to Abu Dhabi.
We wanted to live on Palm Jumeirah but most properties were advertised between Dh95,000 and Dh110,000. A few agents laughed when I said that my budget was Dh85,000. However, there was one place in my price range and I asked a friend who lived nearby to have a look at it. Based on the price and our friend's description, we made an offer and four days later had the keys to our new home in our hands.
We now have a great first-floor apartment on Palm Jumeirah. It has large bedrooms, a nice kitchen, some storage space and a lovely open-plan lounge-diner. Plus, the balcony is big enough for us to sit out and enjoy some fresh air.
We have lots of amenities within walking distance, including swimming pools, a nice beach, bars, restaurants, cafes, a crèche, gym and parks. Palm Jumeirah also has a great feel about it and we are making lots of new friends.
The other good news is that we haven't had to buy a load of new furniture. We've managed to furnish the apartment with our existing things; the only item we need is a new dining table.
We love the sense of community as well as the fun of exploring Dubai and living in a new city. We also like the fact that we are renting a property that suits our budget. The range of activities for us and the children makes a real difference to our lives, too.
Unfortunately, I now have to tackle the long commute to Abu Dhabi every day, which can get tiring by the end of the week. However, once I have managed to brave the often horrific Thursday evening dash back to Dubai, it almost feels like I'm on holiday for two days a week. We miss our friends in Abu Dhabi, but we really do love our new location.
The compromises that we've made are easily outweighed by the benefits that we enjoy. I believe we've got great value for money for a lovely modern and spacious apartment on a world-famous development.
* Craig Bidder was talking to Sarah Nicholas