How to find Housing in Dubai
Rent a place faster when you move to Dubai
Finding a place to rent in Dubai can be very overwhelming. There are so many different areas, types of flats and price ranges, so making the right decision is not so easy for Expats who are just arriving in the UAE for the first time. However, with the right resources and support, you can enter the renting market with the confidence you need to find the perfect place to live in Dubai.
1 - Calculate your Budget
Before you start your search you should know how much money you can spend on your monthly rent. Dubai is not particularly cheap, and rent will be one of your highest expenses, so knowing exactly how much you can afford will help you plan ahead, and only target properties and areas that fit your criteria.
If you don’t know how much of your salary you should allocate for rent, it’s good to take the benchmark of 30%. This, of course, depends a lot on your salary and if you can make it lower, that will be great for you. But with that in mind, if you earn, let’s say AED 15k a month, it would be wise to set a cap of AED 4.5k when looking at properties. This is also because you may incurr additional Home-related expenses such as utility bills and broadband.
We recommend using this Cost of Living Calculator for Dubai, which should give you an approximate estimation of how much money you will spend per month, living in Dubai.
Try our Cost of living in Dubai Calculator
2 - Research the neighbourhoods in Dubai
Dubai is one of the most populated cities in the Middle East, and therefore the range of different neighbourhoods where you can rent in, is vast. Deciding on the location you want to live in is crucial, as it will determine the cost and quality of housing, as well as your distance to work, shops, and amenities.
Each area has a different “vibe” to it. For example, the Dubai Marina Area is the most famous for Expats, so you will find a lot of different activities, supermarkets, restaurants and even a Shopping Mall. However, because of its popularity and proximity to the beach, the traffic can get quite heavy at certain times of the day, and the prices are higher than other areas.
We have compiled some of the most popular Neighbourhoods below, and included the average cost of renting in each area.
1-Bed: AED 120K / year
3-Bed: AED 170K / year
1-Bed: AED 95K / year
3-Bed: AED 250K / year
Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT)
1-Bed: AED 65K / year
3-Bed: AED 150K / year
1-Bed: AED 55K / year
3-Bed: AED 95K / year
1-Bed: AED 140K / year
3-Bed: AED 280K / year
Jumeriah Beach Residence (JBR)
Jumeriah Village Circle
3 - Start your House Search
There are different ways in which you can “Start you House search”. If you’re already in Dubai, we recommend you to get a local phone number, because calling and whatsapping estate agents and landlords in much easier. They don’t tend to be very responsive via email - trusts us, we’ve put this to the test. If you’re not yet in Dubai, we recommend speaking to one of the advisors on Matutto.com - we will be able to assist you on your search.
To get an idea of what sort of properties are available, use websites as Property Finder and Bayut. You will be able to filter by area and budget, so you get properties that fit your criteria. You can then contact landlords via these websites and start scheduling viewings. A PRO Tip is to speak to estate agents and landlords ahead of your move, and let them know your criteria - this way you can avoid “fighting” for a flat because they can call you directly as soon as your ideal property enters the market. And yes, you guessed it, our advisors can help you out with that.
4 - What Documents you need
Imagine moving to Dubai, having to navigate the housing market by yourself, finally finding a place to rent that you like AND… The landlord now asks you for a bunch of documents you don’t have. We obviously want you to avoid being in this situation, so here’s what you need to know.
You need a number of documents to rent an apartment in Dubai. The very first thing, and perhaps quite obvious, it will be your Passport and UAE VISA. A lot of people get to the country without yet having their VISA stamped, which you need, in order to sign a long term rental agreement. This is very common as finalising the visa process can take a few weeks. If this is your case, we recommend to secure short term accommodation until you have your Visa paperwork completely sorted.
Understand all the steps for completing your Visa in the UAE
If you already have your Visa finalised, you need to know you will also need your Emirates ID. This is the main Identification card you will use in the UAE, and it’s needed for pretty much everything.
The third, and perhaps what catches most Western Expats by surpirse, is the request of upfront payments via bank cheques. It is worth mentioning that things are changing, but as of today, it is still very common for landlords to request a Cheque issued by your bank with 6 to 12 months worth of rent.
Make sure to sign up to Matutto.com to learn more about this, and our tips & tricks to sort out Housing smoothly. If you need support in this area, we recommend seeking support an advisor at Matutto.com, who will help you navigate this process and ensure you get the best possible deal.
Lean everything about how to secure a home in the UAE
5 - Seek support to speed up the process
Never underestimate how challenging moving to a new country can be. Things that should take a week, can take a month without the right level of support. Luckily, there is support available made to you at different stages.
From a paperwork presepective, the company hiring you should support you by securing the right legal decumentation and guiding you through the process of acquiring the right documents, such as your Emirates ID. They are also legally obliged to provide you with Health Insurance, which will end up being important when you need the doctor, as it will prevent you from spending thousands of AED in medical appointments.
If you need to find a house, a school for your kids, open a bank account, understand how to get around the city, and get advice from other Expats, you can always join Matutto.com for FREE, and purchase a Support Package if you feel you need extra support.