We are currently paying service charges of Dh 15 per sq.ft., and wish to reduce this rate over time. Can you advise us on how we may approach this matter ?

First of all, the rate you are paying for the services being provided to your building may be appropriate for the level of service you are receiving. Generally speaking, Dh15/sq.ft, is not exorbitant; however, it depends on your requirements and the level of service you demand.

I believe you need to concentrate on improving the efficiency of your service provider. Your owners association (DA) should work closely with your service provider, and conduct a detailed and comprehensive review of how services may be improved at the current rate or how the current level of service, if acceptable, can be provided at a lower rate. If you do not receive satisfaction with this approach, you may wish to conduct a competitive bid and see how your current service provider stacks up.

Consider this to be a “performance audit.‘ You will be armed with the detailed cost data regarding materials, resources, markups and capabilities to enable the negotiation of a productivity improvement and appointment of a more productive supplier.

Can yon recommend the best place to purchase a villa in Dubai?

You can’t go past new locations such as The Villa Project, and well-established developments like Arabian Ranches, and The Springs. The Meadows and The Lakes.

The Villa Project, located in Dubailand, is a great place to start. One can purchase a large, brand new villa here at lower prices than most of the other similar-sized properties in Dubai. If you are trying to get the best value for money from a size/cost ratio point of view, you will not be disappointed.

This project has demonstrated superior value for money for some time now reflected in very healthy capital gains for owners who have bought over the last 18 months to 2 years.

Villas are available in five styles with different plot sizes. You can choose from four bedrooms to six bedrooms, and prices vary from around Dh 3.5 million to a top of the range property which will cost around Dh 7 million.

But you need to hurry as this development is proving very popular.

I am the owner of 25,000 sq.ft. of office space in DIFC which has recently been completed. Do you have any advice with regard to gaining optimum returns from leasing my property?

There is a relative shortage of Grade A, large floor -plate, single owner office space in Dubai, and this type of space, often favored by larger companies is rare.

In addition being located in the DIFC is a real advantage as the development has fared very well when compared to office space in other developments which has been afflicted with chronic oversupply.

First you will need to a full do financial analysis to determine what your breakeven point is on the property.

The second step is to look at what competitors are offering and what you have to offer that others can/do not. It may be location, a view, better access or parking space, partial fit-out, etc

Any advantage versus your competition will increase your chances of leasing your space more profitably, and help you formulate an idea of what lease rate you should be able to offer.

Third step is to engage a reputable real estate broker to assist you. You will need professional advice on different leasing and marketing strategies based upon sound market analyses and experience.

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