If you’re looking at your house as an investment, then concentrate on sprucing up the kitchen and bathrooms first. Remodelling these rooms can give you a 98-100 per cent return on your money. But do try to avoid trends that come and go – nobody wants to be stuck with a bathroom suite you can’t approach without your shades on. If in doubt, white is always best. Stylish bathroom suites that won’t break the bank can be found at Bagno Design (04 338 1375) and Kohler Showroom (04 321 1330). For kitchens, visit Ikea at Dubai Festival City. Look at the city’s interiors magazines for inspiration.
Think about future buyers
When you start to think about remodelling, it’s wise to get an idea of what your neighbours are doing. You may love your fishpond and menagerie, but you don’t want your house to look out of place or clash with the villa next door. On the other hand, if you’re the only house on the block without a deck or a swimming pool, you may want to add these features to make your home more attractive to future buyers.
Choose your contractor
When it comes down to hiring a contractor, there are a few rules you’ll want to keep in mind. First of all, you’ll probably be happier if you go with a contractor who was recommended to you. Make sure you get at least three bids to gauge the going rate, but don’t always jump at the lowest. Have a quick look on websites like www.searchme.ae, or check the classifieds on www.gulfnews.com for ideas, but the best way to find a good builder is word of mouth – so start asking around.
Buying to let instead?
So moving into your new purchase is the last thing on your mind? With rents always on the rise, it makes sense to get involved and make money off your new property that way. However, be prepared if you’re planning on joining the ever-growing number of buy-to-let investors here – the competition is tough.
Think like a developer
There’s a big difference between buying a house to live in and buying to sell on or let. Remember to buy where the opportunities are, not where you would like to live yourself.
How good is the local transport?
This is a big problem in Dubai especially, and will continue to be, possibly until the arrival of the long-awaited metro. Think about road links and parking – you can guarantee your would-be tenants/buyers will be.
What about schools?
Are there good primary or secondary schools? (These make areas desirable, but expensive). Are there good leisure facilities nearby, such as sports and arts centres, parks and open spaces, restaurants and shops?
Could you do it?
Think of your new role as that of a ‘project manager’. You need to take your responsibilities seriously if you’re going to succeed as a developer or landlord.