FAILURE RATES AMONG DUBAI’S ESTATE AGENTS ARE WAY TOO HIGH

What does it take to be a successful agent or agency in the Dubai real estate market?

As of 2016, there were 5,933 active agents in Dubai market with a total of 2,285 registered offices as per a Dubai Land Department report from that time. Currently, there are 2,672 active agents and 969 companies in the market, based on September data from a private real estate portal.

That doesn’t mean all the agents or companies in the market are on that portal; so let’s consider another 20 percent agents and companies are operating.

Aakarshan Kathuria
Aakarshan Kathuria – Managing Director (RiseUp Holding)

As per our best guesstimates, there would be about 3,200 active agents and about 1,160 active companies. That means for every 2.75 agents, there is one real estate company. Odd metrics, right?

Well, one of the reasons for this is that anyone and everyone who thinks real estate is an easy business feels obliged to open their own company. The majority do end up failing.

I would go as far as saying that perhaps from this list of active agents or companies, only about 25 percent are aware about the regulations in the real estate industry and performing to their true potential. Let’s not talk about the 75 percentile, let’s talk about the 25 per cent who turn out to be successful.

WEAK ON BASICS

The job of a real estate agent in Dubai or globally is not easy, period. I’m not saying any other job is a walk in the park, but for an agent, like any other sales role, it’s all about the income they are able to generate that dictates their take-home.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO TASTE SUCCESS?

The barrier to entry for this role is low, which results in many aspiring individuals having a misplaced perception of this role as a money-generating machine that requires limited input and knowledge. A majority don’t have a basic knowledge about contracts or legalities.

While the most important aspect of this field is to understand how to deal with clients, which one can only learn on the job or through training, clients appreciate agents who have their basics in place:

● Understand the basic calculations of investment, rental yield, service charges, mortgage payments, gross and net income; so you can guide your clients better.

● Understand how to draft and review contracts that your clients are signing as a lot of bad investments can be credited to weak contracts.

● Understand the legality of transactions, how to best protect your client interests, and what fail-safe procedures to implement in case something goes wrong.

These are some of the basic principles that are so vital, but easily ignored by that 75 percentile of agents.

Source: Gulf News – Written By Aakarshan Kathuria

POST-PANDEMIC: UAE REAL ESTATE WILL OFFER QUITE A FEW CHOICES

There is only one topic on everyone’s mind right now, and no points for guessing what that is. I’m going to talk about what happens next.

I believe the first noticeable change will be in our spending habits once the world goes back to what we used to term normal. Where we used to freely spend our money — hard earned or easy — we might choose to be a bit more frugal. We have realized how critical it is to have savings and more importantly, the right investments.

In addition to savings, we will start to allocate our disposable incomes to forms of investments. Global stocks have seen a decline of 25 per cent; over 50 per cent of businesses globally have come to a standstill based on national directives, which means the ideal investments are hard assets.

There are multiple reasons as to why we should be bullish on real estate. Firstly, #StayAtHome and #WorkFromHome initiatives have taught us that a good portion of our work can actually be done over emails and video conferencing. This change in outlook on work will have a domino effect on our housing choices.

INCENTIVE TO OWN in Dubai

We will choose to upgrade to bigger homes, with more open space and study rooms. This will eventually result in us choosing to own homes as opposed to renting them, as basic human tendency dictates that if we are to spend all that time, money and effort on upgrades, we would rather do it on what we own. Buyers and tenants alike have started to express interest in villas and town houses as opposed to apartment or penthouses in Dubai.

Secondly, the drop in interest rates and a higher borrowing cap of 80 per cent will allow many to enter the market. If for instance we are buying a property at an interest rate of 3.5 per cent and which is generating 8.5 per cent gross income; then we are still taking home on average 5 per cent per annum. That is still far higher than in many international real estate markets.

Similarly, tenants who have 20 per cent deposits saved up could acquire their own property, wherein the mortgage payments will replace their rental payments.

INVENTORY DROP

Thirdly, we might see a reduction in inventory of short-term rentals. I see this trend changing not only because of reduced travel, but based on the comfort level of travellers. We might opt for known hotel chains, based on our expectation of hygiene standards that will be maintained by such property networks. Or else they will be held accountable for it. This will in turn put more units in the long-term rental market, which will create healthy competition for tenants and ensure landlords with the best maintained properties will fare the best.

LIQUIDITY SEARCH

Fourthly, I feel property owners might require liquidity to fund their business or perhaps other commitments, and in the instance they are unable to raise money, they might need to exit from their real estate holdings. They will need to do so in a time-bound manner, which will be prime-time for those investors sitting with funds to enter the market at attractive acquisition values.

While this might come across, as someone taking unfair advantage out of a pandemic, this has been an unsaid rule of business — one man’s loss is another man’s gain.

The UAE government has acted promptly to reduce the negative impact of Coronavirus. RERA confirmed the move to lower the cost burden on homeowners by reducing the service charges, which will give much relief to landlords. Dubai and Abu Dhabi tenants struggling to pay their rent during the pandemic are exempt from eviction as per new directives.

These gestures reflect the leadership’s humanitarian considerations at a time when people are facing never-before-seen challenges. In times like this, the UAE has proven that it looks after the interests of the entire society. This gives its investors the confidence to further bolster their contribution to the country.

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Source: Gulf News – Written By Aakarshan Kathuria

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