Tuesday, May 17, 2011

House Hunting in Abu Dhabi

Six months ago, ADD and I decided that it was time for us to move into a new home. Although we really do love living in our current home, our 3 bedroom apartment can no longer accommodate our 3 growing children. Besides, the children's school has proposed to increase their fees and since ADD's company has only allocated a certain amount for school fees, the rest would have to come out from our own pockets and a with 3 children, its quite a substantial amount too. We figured we could make up the difference by dipping into our housing allowance but to do so, we will be required to move out of our current company provided accommodation and find one on our own.

3 years ago, it wouldn't be possible to find a decent house with our meager housing allowance. The cost of rentals in Abu Dhabi borders on astronomical. I remember a friend was offered a studio with large kitchen for AED60k a year. We went to check it out only to find that the so called 'studio' was in fact just a large kitchen at the back of the house! The audacity of the agent to try to pass off the kitchen for a studio  is beyond belief and pricing it at AED5k a month is just highway robbery. It didn't even have a proper bathroom and the agent proposed to build a small makeshift one outside the 'studio', which means you'll need to step out of your house every time you need to take a leak. Ridiculous. The agent was haughty and had a take it or leave it attitude. He and a few more other agents I came across was nothing more than scumbags.

Today, since the price of rentals are slowly coming down, our meager housing allowance could actually afford us a nice, suitable 4 or 5 bedroom villa. However, the focus here is to make a little on the side so fully capitalizing the entire amount just for a villa isn't very beneficial. or even practical. During the peak of summer, electricity bills tends to soar up due to A/C usage, so we've got to include that in our budget as well.

So after including other costs and what we needed to cover the school fees, we are down to looking for villas that's either a little over or just under AED100k a year. And where are these villas located? At the end of the earth, in the middle of nowhere. Sigh.

Anyway, a couple of days ago ADD, the kids and I took a little excursion to address nowhere, end of the earth to take a look at one of the villas there. The villa was kind of nice, spacious and practical although the whole wall deco is a bit err retro??? to my taste, nothing a lick of paint won't fix. (Seriously, purple glittery hearts all over the wall? And it wasn't even wall paper but looked hand drawn!) The view was fantastic. Sea view and white beach sands all around. However, when I got up to the roof to get a better view, I noticed every single neighbour around that villa had herds of goats in their compound! Having goats all around me  was something I'm just not too keen on. The price was right, but villa in the middle of nowhere was also halfway to Dubai, might as well I move to Dubai where the costs of rentals are considerably cheaper.

So here we are, still no where near finding a suitable home. However, a little birdie brought good news today. Lets see if that works out. :)

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