The value of a property manager

Many people misunderstand the role of a property manager, thinking that the role does not extend beyond the collection and remittance of rental receipts, and acting as a buffer between the landlord and the tenant. Little do they realize that a good property manager will generate greater returns from their property portfolio and enable their long-term portfolio strategy to be realized.

So what should you look for in selecting a professional to manage your property?

Well, first of all, you need a professional who is experienced in the market. Not just in any market though, in this instance, the Dubai market. Typically, if you find somebody with at least 7 years of experience, you will have found somebody who has witnessed and survived the global recession, and that should provide a reasonable indication that they are in the business for the long term, and that they had the skills needed to navigate and survive Dubai’s last property slump. Many didn’t.

A competent property manager will provide a whole host of services for you but the most important is the development of a Property Portfolio Strategy. Your chosen professional must be able to articulate and present his thoughts after conducting a thorough assessment of your personal situation and property portfolio. He must be able to provide you with a credible strategy and activity plan designed to harness the true potential of your property and provide you with the maximum rate of total returns It is essential to have a well-thought out strategy for your property portfolio if you are to maximize your returns.

Not just anybody can formulate a credible and implementable strategy. It requires years of expertise and a fundamental understanding of what makes real estate such a worthwhile and superior investment. A true professional will have a strong knowledge base on topics including industry history, current market factors and trends, risk factors, and the likelihood of relevant future events that will affect the performance of your property investment. This knowledge should span global, regional and local landscapes, and will require a good understanding of economic factors, industry knowledge extending to government policies and regulations, finance and market dynamics.

Forming a strategy is one thing, but being able to bring the strategy to life is quite another. You will require an activity plan which will include details of pricing and marketing, customer relationship management and tenant management and policies for the entire portfolio. Essentially, this area of expertise is related to the “topline” or revenue generation and management of the property.

Equally important is the cost management and  maintenance supervision of the property. Many times, I have seen excellent “topline” performance being eroded due to poor operational and maintenance cost controls.

Managing your property portfolio will also require proper performance measurement,  communications and review schedules, and status reporting and financial statements. You should always seek examples of these elements as transparency and candid performance appraisals are essential to managing your portfolio correctly by addressing shortfalls to objectives, issues requiring redress, and opportunities for performance improvement, in addition to your peace of mind.

You also need to choose a property manager whom you can work with and who, you believe, has your best interests at heart. Your property manager must be customer-centered and, unfortunately, in this business, this is not always the case.

There is no point entering a business relationship that is lacking in mutual trust and respect. You must have confidence in his ability to manage a business… your business… which just so happens to be a property portfolio. As with all investments, but especially investments in property, there will be good times and challenging times. There is no such scenario as “set and forget”. It doesn’t exist. If you do not respect the manager you have appointed, the relationship will not survive the more challenging times and you will need to go through the whole process of finding a replacement.

So take your time but invest your time to your benefit. Be sure to ask for referrals and call some existing clients. Seek out success stories. Ask to see examples of client reports so you have an idea of their work’s completeness, continuity and timeliness. Ask your property manager carefully thought out questions to enable you to gauge the depth and breadth of knowledge that he possesses.

Ensure that the organization you are dealing with has the resources to support the manager of your portfolio. In these times of eliminating overheads, individual performance can be inhibited because of a lack of organizational support. You should ask to meet the team.

Finally, remember, it’s your investment, and you need to ensure it’s in good hands providing you with the returns you expect with as little hassle as possible. Once you appoint a property manager, your ultimate return on your investment is largely in his hands.

Choose wisely.


The year 2015 would be remembered as a year of uncertainty and doubt; when progress towards long term objectives was overshadowed by the sheer enormity of what remains to be done, when new initiatives were devalued by doubt and a year when an avalanche of issues went unresolved because of uncertainty.

2015 was an important year on the humanitarian calendar. For the past 15 years, the United Nations has used its 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the core development framework for the world. Its 2015 report revealed significant progress had been made towards all the MDGs. Millions of lives have been saved and improved living conditions provided for many more but the progress is overshadowed somewhat of what remains to be done, particularly in the areas of child mortality where, despite great achievements, 6 million children under 5 years of age died during 2015. As a father, I will definitely remember this shocking statistic.

It will also be remembered as the year that the global economic recovery started to slow amidst doubts surrounding its true health.  Commodity prices collapsed ending a decade long boom and confusion reigned as central banks of various nations sent mixed messages on divergent monetary policies, quantitative easing and interest rates. Coupled with shock currency devaluations and overblown estimates of contagion, markets around the world were sent into a maelstrom of volatility. For many, 2015 will be remembered as a time of market irrationality, investor uncertainty and, in some cases, real fear of a return to a global recession.

The year will also be remembered as one of continued and widespread geo-political tension. Whether it be in the former Soviet bloc, Middle East, Eastern Europe, South China Sea, Asia or between the worlds super-powers, geopolitical turmoil has been ubiquitous. And while some may fear a new Cold War, the escalation of violence against innocents by ISIS and the export of its brand of terror to the world brings the stark realisation that humanity has rarely been so divided and so distant from any form of meaningful peace.

However, from a personal perspective, there have been some highlights. Despite all the mayhem and turmoil globally and regionally, and the decline in investor confidence that inevitably results, the industry of which I am a proud participant has displayed a resilience and maturity that simply did not exist in years past. The uncertainty, doubt and even fear, that has fallen like a fog on many in the midst of an overdue correction to the Real Estate market did not result in panic, overreaction nor despair, but a recognition that the market is responding as it should as it seeks equilibrium and sustainability.

While 2015 may be remembered as the year of unresolved issues, of doubt, uncertainty and sometimes fear, the opportunity exists for all of us to make 2016 the year of resolve, progress and renewed confidence. That’s why I prefer to look forward.

Time to hold on, or let go?

By Mohanad Alwadiya

The year 2016 has certainly made its entrance with a bang.

By mid-January, the Royal Bank of Scotland’s dire warning to “sell everything except high quality bonds” had everyone’s tongues wagging, with some analysts saying that yes, 2016 could lead the US and European markets down a substantial plunge. On the other hand, a few critics of RBS’s dismal pronouncement have advised investors to stay calm but keep a close watch on events as they unfold.

Reflecting the property market slowdown which became more marked in 2015, some distress sales had already begun creeping into the market which left me a little intrigued. It reminded me of a meeting I had with one of our most loyal clients.

As the owner of a portfolio of apartments purchased in early 2011, the past few years had been an extremely lucrative time for this client, and his success has been a result of his astuteness, objectivity, and well-developed analytical and decision-making skills refined by years of experience in an exciting albeit sometimes-risky market.

The topic of our conversation was whether or not to sell his property assets as the market has certainly slowed. I was surprised by the question as he had always held the view that owning property was an important part of his overall investment portfolio, and the assets he is holding are of excellent quality located in some of Dubai’s well-established or iconic areas. Rather than make a hasty decision that might be regrettable, I conducted a thorough review and constructed a recommendation for his consideration and eventual decision.

When reviewing the portfolio, it became apparent to me that now, more than ever, property portfolios require very careful management. While on the face of it, an easy decision would be to sell our client’s entire portfolio – not for a substantial profit, but simply for a “return of investment,” to quote RBS. But the question remained, if he were to sell part of his property portfolio, where should the money be invested? There was no answer as there was no plan.

As part of our analysis, we found that by retaining his portfolio, our client would continue to receive an average of 6.8 percent net rental returns per annum on the adjusted value of his properties over the next 5 years. In addition, notwithstanding the recent cooling of the market, we estimated that he could expect, on average, a capital growth of at least 6 percent per annum over the next five years for an estimated net total return of 12 percent per annum, a return we considered conservative.

The review included careful analysis of current maintenance requirements, future capital works, market factors, regulatory developments, industry forecasts and trends, alternative opportunities, risk factors, and the likelihood of relevant future events, whether they be economic, political, regulatory or financial in nature.

When I asked our client what alternative investment could provide the same return without taking on greater or excessive levels of risk or incurring new investment transaction costs, none could be identified.

The example of our loyal client clearly illustrates that now, more than ever, property portfolios require very careful management. We all know the market has cooled, but this is hardly a reason to make rash decisions without looking forward and doing some proper analysis.

Wherever you look around the globe, yield and total returns are getting harder to find, and the value of established property portfolios with good occupancy levels and good projected tenant retention are increasing in comparative value all the time.

Those investors who hold and nurture their existing property asset portfolios will do very well over the next 5 years, particularly those who have diversified their holdings to include some of the more affordable asset types as well. Conversely, rather than selling existing assets, the opportunity to use existing equity to take advantage of the current market slowdown and finance new acquisitions and expand portfolios is one strategy that we are working on with several clients now.

Not everybody has the time or is comfortable with managing a property portfolio, especially in times of change. However, there is expertise available to help you, and you should consider engaging a good property manager who will ensure that you maximize returns from your property portfolio and enable your long-term portfolio strategy to be realized.

Think of your investment as your business, a business that will be affected by many different factors and events. Proper management is essential, and you need to ensure your business is in capable hands – providing you with the returns you expect with as little hassle as possible.

And even as other prominent financial institutions like Standard Chartered and JP Morgan have expressed somewhat similar sentiments in terms of oil prices and stocks respectively, those investors with sufficient liquidity, and who already enjoy ownership of a varied stock of high quality performing real estate assets may want to consider acquiring more property after proper due diligence.

All knowledgeable investors know that, when all else fails, real estate is one type of asset that increases in value over time (capital appreciation)… even after being subjected to market highs and lows.

In sum, if you have what it takes to hold on to a good quality real estate portfolio, do not even consider selling at this stage. If market prices give you good reason to acquire more, why not? Remember the market cycle – right now, if you can still afford to purchase property, go right ahead and buy – but, as always, with eyes wide open.

مطورون وملاك يمتنعون عن تخفيض أسعار الوحدات بالمشروعات المكتملة

يوسف العربي (دبي) امتنع مطورو وملاك الوحدات السكنية في دبي عن تخفيض أسعار البيع بمشروعاتهم العقارية المكتملة، رغم هدوء التداولات، مستفيدين من ارتفاع العوائد الاستثمارية واستقرار نسبة الإشغال، بالإضافة إلى توقعاتهم بحدوث طفرة مستقبلية في الطلب في غضون الاثني عشر شهراً المقبلة. وقالوا: إن العائد على الاستثمار العقاري في دبي واصل ارتفاعه ليسجل 7% بقطاع المكاتب و8% للسكني، وصولاً إلى 12% وإلى 15% للمستودعات ومساكن العمال مطلع العام الحالي، مقارنة بالفترة ذاتها من العام الماضي. وأشاروا إلى أن شريحة كبيرة من ملاك العقارات في دبي يرفضون تخفيض أسعار البيع، ويفضلون الاحتفاظ بوحداتهم العقارية في الوقت الراهن، للاستفادة من هذه العوائد الإيجارية المرتفعة. واستمرت كبريات شركات تطوير عقاري في دبي، منها دبي إعمار ونخيل ودبي للعقارات وداماك، في طرح مشروعات جديدة وفق معدلات الأسعار المعتمدة في المشروعات السابقة دون تغيير. وقال إسماعيل الحمادي، المؤسس والمدير العام لمؤسسة «الرواد» لاستشارات تطوير المشاريع، إن شريحة من المشتريين تحاول ممارسة بعض الضغوط على الملاك ومطوري العقارات لتخفيض أسعار الوحدات العقارية بدعوى استقرار الطلب، مستندين في ذلك لبعض التقارير العقارية. وأضاف أن المطورين والملاك لم يخضعوا من جانبهم إلى مثل هذه الضغوط لعدة أسباب، والتي يأتي في مقدمتها احتفاظ السوق العقاري بدبي بمقومات النمو المستدام التي تضمن له تجديد الطلب على نحو مستمر، بالإضافة إلى تمتعهم بعوائد استثمارية قياسية تراوح بين 7 % إلى 15% حسب نوع المشروع، وهي عوائد لا يمكن تحقيقها في أي سوق عالمي آخر في الوقت الراهن. وأشار الحمادي إلى أن المستثمرين في قطاع المستودعات، على سبيل المثال، يحققون حالياً عوائد إيجارية تصل إلى 15% سنوياً، فيما تحقق الاستمارات في القطاعين المكتبي والسكني 7% و8% على التوالي. وأضاف أنه في ظل استمرار تدفق الإيرادات الإيجارية وتمتع شركات التطوير العقاري والملاك باحتياطات نقدية كبيرة تم تكوينها على مدار السنوات الماضية، فإنهم يفضلون الاحتفاظ بهذه العقارات وتأجيرها لحين تحقيق قفزات سعرية متوقعة مع اقتراب استضافة الإمارة للحدث العالمي إكسبو 2020. ووفق تقرير «دائرة الأراضي والأملاك في دبي»، بلغ إجمالي قيمة التصرفات العقارية في دبي 267 مليار درهم، خلال عام 2015، فيما بلغت قيمة المبايعات العقارية نحو 130 مليار درهم. وتفوقت منطقة «الخليج التجاري» على باقي المناطق من حيث تصرفات الوحدات العقارية بعدد 3212 صفقة قيمتها 4.95 مليار درهم، تلتها منطقة «الحبيه الرابعة» بعدد صفقات قدره 3080 (2.57 مليار درهم)، في حين جاءت منطقة مرسى دبي (مارينا) ثالثاً مع صفقات بلغ عددها 3056، وقيمتها 6,24 مليار درهم. واعتبرت دائرة الأراضي والأملاك أن محافظة سوق العقارات في دبي على هذا الزخم لأعوام طويلة حتى الآن يدل على الجاذبية التي يتمتع بها، وقدرته المتواصلة على استقطاب المستثمرين من شتى أنحاء العالم، ما يعني أنه لا يزال من المرجح المحافظة على النمو المستدام لأعوام أخرى مقبلة. ومن جانبه، قال محمد تركي، مدير العقارات بشركة الوليد للعقارات ،التي تنشط في مجال بيع تطوير العقارات وبيعها وتأجيرها، إن الانخفاض في أسعار بيع العقارات لا يزال «ورقياً»، أي أنه لم يترجم على أرض الواقع في ظل صمود الملاك والمطورين وامتناعهم عن البيع بأسعار منخفضة. وقال تركي: إن الملاك لا يجدون أنفسهم مضطرين لبيع الوحدات السكنية أو التجارية المكتملة في الوقت الراهن بأسعار منخفضة، لاسيما في ظل استقرار العوائد الإيجارية عند مستويات مرتفعة ووصول نسبة الإشغال إلى معدلات قياسية تتراوح بين 92% و98%. وأوضح أن ملاك العقارات يستفيدون حالياً من عوائد سنوية على استثماراتهم في دبي تتراوح بين 6 و8% للقطاعين السكني والتجاري، لذلك فإن الاحتفاظ بهذه الوحدات والاستفادة من هذه العوائد التي لا تتوافر في أسواق عالمية أخرى، مثل لندن ونيويورك وسنغافورة، هو الأقرب إلى مصلحة الملاك. وارتفع العائد السنوي على الاستثمار العقاري بالدولة بشكل تدريجي خلال عامين، ليتراوح بين 8 و12% خلال النصف الأول من الحالي، مقابل 3% و6% خلال الفترة المماثلة من العام 2011. ويعتبر تحديد العائد على الاستثمار العقاري من الأمور الرئيسية لأي مستثمر، ويتم احتسابه من خلال احتساب نسبة إجمالي الحصيلة الصافية من الإيجارات، مقارنة بتكلفة البناء أو شراء العقار. وأضاف أنه في مقابل ذلك فإن مطوري العقارات يتمتعون بمستويات مقبولة من الطلب على مشروعاتهم، كما أن لديهم احتياطات نقدية كبيرة تم تكوينها على مدار سنوات، والأهم من ذلك أن شركات التطوير تؤمن بأن أسعار العقارات ستمضي إلى ارتفاع مطرد على مدار السنوات المقبلة، ما يدفعهم مجتمعين- ودون اتفاق- إلى تثبيت الأسعار وعدم تخفيضها. وتوقع تركي أن يحافظ السوق العقاري في دبي خلال لمرحلة المقبلة على مقومات النمو وقدرته على توليد الطلب، من دون حدوث انخفاضات كبيرة في أسعار البيع والإيجار، لاسيما في ظل الأداء القوي للقطاعات الاقتصادية في الدولة ومواصلة الشركات عمليات التوسع والتوظيف. العوائد المرتفعة تقوي موقف الملاك دبي (الاتحاد) أكد مهند الوادية، المدير الإداري لشركة «هاربو» العقارية والمحاضر بكلية دبي العقارية التابعة لدائرة الأراضي والأملاك، إن العوائد الإيجارية المرتفعة على الاستثمار العقاري في دبي تقوي موقف الملاك وتدفعهم للاحتفاظ بالوحدات المكتملة. وقال إن المستثمر العقاري في دبي بات أكثر نضجا وإدراكا بأهمية الاستثمار بالقطاع بطريقة الاستثمار طويل الأجل لذلك يلجا للاحتفاظ بالوحدة العقارية والاستفادة من عوائدها الإيجارية لحين ارتفاع الأسعار. وأوضح أن بعض التقارير العقارية التي تتحدث عن انخفاضات في معدلات الأسعار تستند في ذلك إلى مقارنات غير مقبولة لا تراعي نوع المشروع وموقعة، حيث اتجهت معظم الشركات العقارية في الدولة خلال الفترة الأخيرة إلى تطوير مشروعات جديدة في مناطق عمرانية جديدة بهدف توجيه هذه المشروعات لمتوسطي الدخل. وأضاف «دخول هذا النوع من المشروعات انخفض المعدل العام لأسعار العقارات وهو ما يعد أمرا طبيعيا ومتوقعا ولا يعني حدوث انخفاض حقيقي في المشروعات التي تتمتع بمعايير جيدة». لا تخفيضات في أسعار العقارات القائمة دبي (الاتحاد) أكد خالد بن كلبان، رئيس مجلس إدارة شركة الاتحاد العقارية، أن المطورين العقاريين في الدولة يتمتعون بسجلات حافلة مليئة بالإنجازات، مشيرا إلى أن الخبرات العريضة التي تكونت مع هذه النجاحات منحتهم الثقة في قدرة السوق المحلية استعادة النمو والانتعاش خلال دورات اقتصادية قصيرة. وأشار بن كلبان إلى أن تخفيض أسعار العقارات المطروحة للبيع يعد أسهل وسيلة وسيلة للمنافسة ورفع الحصة السوقية للشركة العقارية، إلا أن تداعيات هذه الممارسات وتأثيراتها على السوق تكون سلبية للغاية. وأضاف: إن المراقب للسوق العقارية في الدولة يجد أن المطورين العقاريين لم يخفضوا أسعار العقارات المكتملة فيما تنحصر انخفاضات المشروعات قيد التنفيذ في حدو 5% في إطار صفقات قوية للبيع تشمل عدد معين من الوحدات. وقال: إن الظروف المالية تختلف من مطور إلى آخر إلا أن الاكتفاء بمستويات الطلب الراهنة دون إجراء أية تخفيضات لاتزال الصفة الأعم، وذلك انطلاقا من إيمانهم بقدرة السوق على معاودة الانتعاش قريباً

2015 a year to remember!

The year 2015 will be remembered as the most important periods in Dubai’s real estate history. It demonstrated to the world that the real estate industry in the emirate has achieved a level of maturity that enabled it to successfully manage the significant challenges associated with being the hottest real estate market in the world without succumbing to what would have been an inevitable and resounding crash.

But crash it didn’t. The market in 2015 saw a slowdown which was managed and welcomed by all those who wished to see a market which enjoys healthy and sustainable growth rates.

So, what will 2015 be remembered for?

Well, the headlines that made continual references to the fact that there was a Real Estate correction will not be forgotten. Those who possess a more tactical, less strategic and shorter term point of view will view the year through a negative yet narrow lens while those who are taking the long term perspective, will view the year as one that saw the elimination of many systemic issues, addressing fundamental market imbalances and the implementation of necessary adjustments to deal with impacts of external issues on the efficient operation of the real estate market itself.

2015 will be remembered as the year that the mortgage rules implemented by the Central Bank and the increase in registration fees by the DLD really had full effect in helping to cool the market. It will also be remembered as the year that developers went to the “ideas bin” to create a myriad of different easy payment plans that, not only offered potential customers with an immediate and easier way to pay for off-plan properties, but also assisted in establishing new values for finished properties as well.

2015 saw a slew of new projects being launched, each one adding to the rapidly increasing on liquidity levels and, eventually, prices market-wide. Each additional launch added to the competition for the investor dirham intensified leading to a gradual reduction in prices for off plan units making the risk reward equation more palatable for off-plan units versus completed units.  In addition, the shift of developer focus in response to the call for more affordable housing also meant that investors gravitated towards this, perhaps the most important structural correction in the market to date.

Which means that 2015 will also be remembered as the year when the market got serious about building affordable properties, mainly because of the rapid growth in Real Estate prices in preceding years, a dirham that was rapidly appreciating versus most major currencies due to geo-political issues in Russia, tanking of commodity (including oil of course) prices, unprecedented quantitative easing in Europe, surprise downward revaluations of the Chinese Yen along with the imposition of capital controls and the imminent and the most talked about interest rate rise in US history. With global growth slowing and the strength economic recovery being questioned everywhere except for the US, Dubai faced the reality of simply being too expensive for its residents and too costly for its businesses. The cost of acquiring, owning and managing Real Estate plays a large role in determining the fiscal viability of both individuals and businesses in the emirate.

But 2015 will also be remembered as the year that was critical to the growth expected to be experienced in 2016. The price correction that was so much a part of 2015 in Dubai will bottom out in the early part of the year before the market starts to recalibrate. Population growth will drive demand going forward as, put simply, Dubai needs people to support an economy that is expected to grow at an estimated 4-5% annually for the remainder of the decade and to deliver initiatives such as the 2020 World Expo. The Expo alone is expected to generate an additional 270,000 jobs and drive demand for housing and commercial facilities that, by and large, don’t currently exist. Much of the city’s planning comprehends the number of people living in the emirate to grow to 3.4million people by 2020, a 7% annual increase from today’s population of 2.25million.

There is no doubt that the market gyrations of 2015 will result in more stable real estate market will provide a much better launch pad for what will be a period of significant economic and commercial activity over the next 5 to 7 years. The structural shift towards more affordable housing will not only serve to accommodate the expected rapid population growth associated with the 2020 expo, but also serve as an important factor in the development of the Dubai economy overall. Every emerging economy needs to develop a strong middle class as its expansion is critical to growing a sustainable economy and developing resilience in the face of external financial and economic shocks. In addition, for Dubai to compete effectively on a regional and global basis, it needs to ensure that the cost of doing business in the emirate does not position it as an outlier when entrepreneurs or corporations are considering alternatives for their operations.

When taking this perspective, 2015 will be seen as being at the forefront of the next period of growth for Dubai and will not be recalled as a year of stagnation, but rather as a year of laying the foundations for what may well be the most prosperous decade in the emirates history to date.

Ask the agent

Question: Which would be a better investment, buying a townhouse or an apartment?

This is a common dilemma faced by investors in the residential market. In the UAE where there is a great deal of variation in the properties on offer, making a choice becomes all the more difficult for those who are new to property investment.

Just remember that the market rarely moves uniformly. There is always a difference in the investment returns to be expected from different asset types, in different areas, at different stages of completion, over different periods of time, being completed by different developers.

So in today’s market, knowing what we know about Dubai’s economy going forward, I usually recommend to my clients to invest in affordable apartments or construct a portfolio of affordable apartments and townhouses, and even villas, as the case may be.

But do take note of the keyword here which is “affordable.”

Projects in Dubailand like Queue Point in Liwan and Skycourts are filling the affordable housing void and, if you wish to diversify asset types, I suggest you consider Shamal Terraces in JVC as this recently launched project offers very high quality but reasonably priced and extremely spacious modern townhouses.

Properties in the above communities offer good quality affordable solutions with little compromise and have the potential to provide excellent rental and capital appreciation returns as affordable housing will continue to be in high demand going forward due to the demand for such options among the middle and lower middle income segments in Dubai.

Question: I am interested in working for a real estate broker as I have extensive property experience in North America, but I don’t know which company to join. Can you please advise me on how I can find the best company to work for?

It appears that you are confident in your industry experience, and feel you can be a real asset to the company you will join. However, since the UAE market is also unique while sharing some general characteristics with global real estate hubs, I suggest you join a company that will enable you to fast track your learning and mastery of the UAE property market. Make no mistake, you still have a lot to learn; but having a good solid foundation of real estate principles should help you progress with greater speed.

Try to go for a full service company so that you can gain a greater understanding of what the local real estate business is all about, who the key players are, and the procedures you need to be familiar with.

The company you choose should value you as an individual and remunerate you appropriately. But they should also be prepared to invest in you by providing the types of learning experiences that come with formal training (mandatory to become a licensed agent in Dubai) and also in-house training. This may involve being assigned to a mentor, being placed on an internal rotation scheme to enable a broader knowledge of the business to be developed, or being given special projects that will facilitate your learning by encouraging you to seek answers and solutions yourself to enable you to complete the task at hand. Those companies that invest in high potential people are the ones that typically succeed.

Finally, it is very difficult to be passionate about your chosen profession if it is not part of the culture of the company that you work in. Try to surround yourself with people who are passionate about the industry because passion is contagious and it is what sets champions apart.

Question: I want to give my tenant one-year notice to vacate the flat. Is there a format and any other formalities? I sent him a notice through a courier company but he said it is not valid. Do I have to give it through the court?

You need a valid reason for requesting the tenant to vacate the premises. Is the tenant in breach of the tenancy agreement? Has the tenant broken the law by utilizing the premises for an unlawful purpose? Do you want to sell the property or occupy it yourself?

If your tenant is in breach of the tenancy agreement or has broken the law in some way, you must serve a 30-day notary public notice to the tenant. The notice must clearly state why the tenant is being given 30 days’ notice to fix the matter, and the details of the matter itself.  If the tenant does not respond in accordance to the request, then you can the landlord go to the Rental Dispute Settlement Center and request an eviction order.

If you want to sell the property or use it yourself, you will need to provide 12-months’ notice to the tenant through the notary public stating your intentions.  You may then refuse to renew any lease for a period that extends more than 12 months past the date of notification.

The notice should be delivered by courier, and it is important to keep record of the delivery report as evidence of receipt by the tenant as you may need this if the tenant refutes receiving your notice.

Question: Are we headed for another recession?

Even as there is an ongoing market-wide slowdown in real estate activity, my answer is NO, I do not believe that we are going to witness a crash any time soon. However, real estate price correction has been taking place which is not necessarily a bad thing.

The market has cooled for a number of reasons. For starters, the capital inflow that was extremely strong during the initial part of the recovery has started to slow down after reaching peak gains late in 2013. Capital is not an infinite resource, and will ebb and flow in accordance with supply and alternative investment.

Also, a number of structural changes have also started to crimp demand. The implementation of the 4% transfer fee, the implementation of new mortgage laws and new laws regarding rental price increases have also had an effect.

Although some people share a negative outlook on the way things are especially with the slower GDP growth compared to last year, for a country to be considered technically “in recession,” it has to experience two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth reflected in its GDP – which is definitely not the case with the UAE.

And given the history of the Dubai real estate market in the run up to the Global Financial Crisis and the dramatic, now infamous, sudden rise and then sharp decrease in asset values that occurred during the crisis, it is not surprising that some industry stakeholders have become nervous about the current state of affairs. While this point of view is understandable, Dubai 2015 is definitely not in the same position as it was in Dubai 2008.

Additionally, the UAE government, acting with strategic foresight, has Vision 2021, UAE’s long-term economic plan launched in 2010, which prioritizes the diversification of the country’s economy thereby reducing UAE’s dependence on hydrocarbon assets.

Question: I have a mortgage on an apartment that I live in and I happen to have some cash currently. Should I settle my loan or invest the cash elsewhere?

It all depends on what interest rate you are paying on your mortgage, and what return you could expect if you invested elsewhere. If you can achieve a return greater than your mortgage interest rate, then you should invest the cash elsewhere and take advantage of the low mortgage rate you will be getting.

There are some very attractive mortgage products in the marketplace with a few mortgage providers offering rates as low as 3.99% or even 3.49%. If you have a mortgage with such a low interest rate, it would not be too difficult to find an investment that will yield in excess of your mortgage rate.

For example, you may consider investing in an apartment  which will yield you a net annual cash flow of 5% and, over a period of 5 years, an annual capital appreciation of anywhere between 5% and 7%. This would be a more lucrative allocation of your cash.

If, however, you are not confident in achieving a return on your cash that exceeds your mortgage rate, then I suggest you pay down your mortgage outright as you will save on interest costs.