Office of the week

Harbor Real Estate Office of the week
Harbor Real Estate Office of the week – Freehold Weekly

Harbor Real Estate

When, what, how and who works where.A sneak peek into other people’s office. words: Muby Asgher; images: Kishore Kumar

When : Initial conception of the design started in October 2008, with staff moving into the new office space in January 2009.

What : Harbor Real Estate offers integrated brokerage services for sales and leasing transactions in the UAE. It works with private and institutional investors and developers to create marketing, research, sales and leasing strategies that are executed through their communications and consultancy arm.

Where : Harbor Real Estate is located on Shaikh Zayed Road, in Number One Tower Suites.

Who : This lively red and white office was designed by CLS Interior Designing and the Harbor communications team.

How : The designers were given a very clear and creative brief – to create an office that reflected the firm’s culture and brand image, which is “innovation, professionalism and fun”. CLS came up with many concepts, but, it was the curved walls and the abundant use of red that reflected its culture very well. With a final look that is both inspiring and contemporary, the Harbor office space is well co-ordinated from the lifts, through to the reception and into the vibrant conference
room and main work areas.

One gets a feel of being a part of this company simply by being in the office. ROGER POCKLEY, managing director.

How Many : Twenty-four employees currently work in the office. They comprise of 18 property consultants and six internal specialists.

Why : Harbor Real Estate chose to use a rich red colour for its company brand identity. This is reflected throughout the office with many feature walls painted in red. From using 450-year-old bonsai trees as highlights, a custommade boardroom table, deep comfortable red and black visitor chairs and large plasma screens, the company has put together an eclectic mix of products to create a unique brand identity.

What Else : With two balconies, one the size of nearly the entire floor, employees have lots of breakout spaces. Harbor’s brand images are scattered throughout the office walls, ensuring its identity remains constant for both employees and visitors.

When we saw the curved walls and ceilings, the bold red and the use of dark hardwood floors, we felt this represented our culture very well. MOHANAD ALWADIYA, director

Ask the experts

Mohanad Alwadiya Property Expert

Property expert Mohanad Alwadiya answers reader questions - Freehold Weekly

Every week, we invite you to have your property questions answered by an expert. This week, Mohanad Alwadiya* tackles the task.

Q.. With banks willing to offer financing for apartments, I’m thinking of buying somewhere like The Residence in Downtown Burj Dubai. Do you think this a good ove? Can I expect a decent appreciation over, say, a five year period?

A.. I would say it’s definitely a good move. The Residence, Downtown Burj Dubai represents fantastic value at this time and with the market approaching the ‘bottom’,
the opportunity to make solid capital gains, particularly with a five-year investment horizon is very strong. In addition, with the Burj Dubai approaching completion, your
capital gain in the short-term will be accelerated. Remember that your future capital gain, regardless of property, will be heavily influenced by the decisions you make today. The fundamentals still apply and considerations such as the view, location, fit and finish, configuration and overall quality will have a big bearing on your ability to command a premium when you decide to resell in the future.

Q.. I’m thinking of buying an apartment in a reasonably priced new development, maybe Discovery Gardens. I’m just wondering if there are any hidden charges should I be aware of?

A.. First of all, you need to consider the charges associated with the transaction itself. If you purchase an apartment through a real estate agent, you will normally need to pay a 2% agency commission at the time of purchase. In addition to this amount, transfer fees of 2% will be payable to the Land Department and registration fees of Dh5,000 will apply. If you are financing your purchase, there are additional charges payable to your finance provider. These will vary between 1% and 1.5% of the total loan amount. Once you have moved into your new Discovery Gardens apartment, you will then need to pay an annual maintenance fee, which is currently about Dh30/ft², and includes your central cooling charges. However, this amount is currently under review and is expected to reduce significantly according to April 2009 press reports. Additionally, a further reduction is expected once the Owners Association is formed in accordance with the new strata title legislation. Alhough they’re not really‘hidden charges’, don’t forget that you will need to budget for property and contents insurance and, unless you want to live in the dark, you will need to account for DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) expenses as well.

Q.. I’ve been told prime investment properties such as villas on Palm Jumeirah have suddenly become difficult to buy, as prices have dropped and sellers are withdrawing their properties from the market. Do you think prices have bottomed out there?

A.. By and large, yes. I think prices for villas have reached a bottom on Palm Jumeirah and it is extremely difficult to breach this floor.

Road to Recovery

Mohanad Alwadiya Interview

Mohanad Alwadiya Interview 20-May-2009 - Freehold Weekly

Mohanad Alwadiya, managing director of Harbor Real Estate, ponders what is needed to hasten the recovery of Dubai’s property market. words: Muby Asgher
Although the return of affordable home finance is likely to kickstart the revival of Dubai’s real estate sector, this is only one of many factors affecting the emirate’s property market, says Mohanad Alwadiya, managing director of Harbor Real Estate. “The recovery process is far more complex than just taking the first step,” he says. “To view the revival of real estate in isolation from the overall economic recovery of Dubai, UAE and the rest of the world, would be incorrect. On the macro-economic
level, a recovery in the world economy is fundamental to any recovery in the real estate sector, as virtually all of Dubai’s industries are exposed and vulnerable to
world economic events. The real estate industry is no different.” Mohanad, however, notes that the problems facing the emirate are not unique. “In virtually every economy in the world, credit has tightened, consumption is down, governments are scrambling to shore up the financial sector and people are losing their jobs due to companies restructuring.” Based on the number of transactions, property sales have dropped from around 60% to 75%, says Mohanad, while stressing that demand varies according to property type. “While the government has taken multiple and significant steps to minimise the symptoms of the recession, its actions can only soften the impact. Make no mistake, Dubai is well placed to weather the storm, but no economy can escape its effects,” he says. As many economies start to rebound, so too will Dubai’s, he predicts. “Just as Dubai’s growth was negatively impacted by the global downturn, so too will it benefit from the global recovery, particularly as world trade, tourism and economic development accelerates.