wolfofrealestate

الابتكار…. النجاح حيث يفشل الاخرون

ظهرت في الآونة الأخيرة مقالات منشورة تتناول الضغوط التي تعانيها بعض الوكالات العقارية، نتيجة للتصحيح الذي يشهده السوق العقاري في دبي، وقد وصل الحال ببعض شركات الوساطة العقارية إلى تسريح أعداد كبيرة من العاملين لديها أو إغلاق أبوابها بالكامل.

رأى البعض أن القدرة على البقاء كانت مجرد نزهة قصيرة في أعقاب الأزمة المالية العالمية، وبالنظر إلى عدد الشركات التي تصارع من أجل البقاء نجد السؤال التالي يطرح نفسه بنفسه: ما محددات النجاح في السوق؟
تندرج الإجابات عن هذا السؤال ضمن ما يسمى السهل الممتنع، وتعد هذه المحددات صعبة المنال بالنسبة للكثير من الشركات؛ أما الشركات التي تتمكن من فهم المحددات ورصدها وتطويرها وممارستها فإنها تحظى بفرصة كبيرة للتمتع بنجاح غير محدود.
لاشك في أن هذه العبارة طرقت أسماعكم كثيراً: الشغف مكون أساسي من مكونات النجاح، لا يمكنك تحقيق النجاح في هذا الميدان إن لم تكن شغوفاً بعملك، يجب أن تعمل أي شركة عقارية على استقطاب مجموعة من الموظفين الشغوفين بهذا المجال وتطويرهم وتحفيزهم والإبقاء عليهم، وأي عميل ذي نظرة ثاقبة يستطيع معرفة ذلك على الفور، فهذا الميدان يحتاج إلى مهارات التعامل مع الناس، ولا يمكن استمرارية العمل من دون وجود فريق من المهنيين ممن يتمتعون بالشغف تجاه عملهم.
الخبرة مهمة للغاية، ويتميز الحقل العقاري بارتفاع متطلبات رأس المال ووجود نطاق واسع من المخاطر ومقدار كبير من الانخراط العاطفي، لا يمكن أن يكون للفشل أي سبيل، لقد حالفني الحظ بكوني عضواً في فريق تنفيذي تتجاوز خبرته 20 عاماً في القطاع العقاري بدبي، وكما نعلم جميعاً فقد شهد القطاع تطوراً سريعاً وهو لايزال يعد من أكثر الساحات العقارية نشاطاً في العالم، ولقد علمتنا الأزمة المالية العالمية أن القطاع العقاري لا يشرع أبوابه لمن لا يدركون ما يفعلونه، وأن اكتساب خبرة عميقة في هذا المجال شيء لا يقدر بثمن.
تعد المرونة وتطوير القدرة على التكيف من المتطلبات المسبقة للنجاح، لاسيما في سوق يتغير بسرعة هائلة، انطوت الأزمة المالية العالمية على مجموعة من الظروف سريعة التغير، والتي حملت تحديات غير مسبوقة تطلبت حلولاً فورية ومبتكرة لمعالجتها، كانت الأزمة مرحلة صعبة لكنها شكلت فرصة مميزة للتعلم.
كان الأكثر مرونة وقدرة على التكيف هم الأكثر قدرة على الاستفادة من الفرص التي ظهرت في النهاية مع بداية الانتعاش.
قد لا تكون هذه المهمة سهلة، وهي تتطلب تقييماً صادقاً للغاية حول القدرات الفردية إضافة إلى قدرة الشركة على الاستمرار في تقديم الخدمات التي يطلبها العملاء ضمن سياق بيئي جديد تماماً منبثق عن حالة من الاضطراب في الاقتصاد.
وثقافة الابتكار هي ما يميز «المزدهرين» عن «الناجين»، لاشك في أن الممارسات المجربة والتي ثبتت نجاعتها في الماضي، كانت تتطلب عملية تصحيح للتعامل مع الحقائق الجديدة وإيجاد مكانة مناسبة في سوق يتسم بالتنافسية العالية، وهذا هو ما يميز الشركات التي ازدهرت خلال فترة ما بعد الكساد العالمي عن تلك التي اكتفت بمجرد البقاء في حالة واهنة نتيجة للتصحيح الراهن في السوق، من أهم الدروس المستفادة من الكساد العالمي أن الابتكار المرتبط بالظروف سوف ينتصر دائماً، بغض النظر عن الظروف، وسواء كان السوق نشطاً أو كاسداً فإن الابتكار هو الذي يضمن الميزة التنافسية دائماً.
إذا نظرت إلى القطاع العقاري وقارنته بما كان عليه في 2008 فستجد اختلافاً كبيراً. شهد الإطار القانوني للقطاع قفزات كبيرة إلى الأمام، وكذلك البنية التحتية التنظيمية والحوكمة الشاملة، وهذا يتناسب مع حركة السوق الدائبة باتجاه النضج الكامل والنمو المستدام الذي يسعى إليه جميع المعنيين بهذا القطاع، وبصفتنا من المهنيين المهتمين بهذا القطاع، علينا أن نستمر في دعم ومساندة أي تغيير يمكن أن يؤدي إلى تحسين أوضاع القطاع العقاري.

وينبغي أن يكون تحسين أوضاع القطاع في صميم غاياتنا، ومن بين المهنيين الذين عايشوا تجربة الأزمة المالية العالمية، سوف تجد من يتذكر أن الهدف الأساسي كان بسيطاً للغاية، ويتمثل في البقاء على قيد الحياة في بيئة لم يشهدها أحد في هذا القطاع من قبل، ومن أجل البقاء كنا بحاجة إلى التكيف والابتكار والتطور كأفراد وشركات، أمّا أولئك الذين امتنعوا عن ذلك فقد تساقطوا على جانبي الطريق، وفي النهاية، فإن الكساد يؤدي بالضرورة إلى بقاء الأصلح، بحيث يتمكن الأصلح من تحقيق الازدهار.

*المدير الإداري لشركة هاربور العقارية، ومستشار ومحاضر في معهد دبي العقاري التابع ل «دائرة الأراضي والأملاك».

mohanad_professional

Gulf News Freehold – Ask the Agent

I bought a studio in 2008 financed by a lending firm. Since it is not furnished yet, my lawyer told me to cancel the SPA but the lending firm did not agree.

Visit RERA first to sort out the registration issue in Oqood as this is a prerequisite to any further action. Once the property is registered, meet with the lending company. Explain to them that you would like to terminate the finance agreement due to project delay. They will share with you the status of your liability. You then need to obtain compensation from the developer for the delay. Appoint a lawyer to determine if your contract has the proper compensation clause to support your case. If so, plot a course of action to receive what is rightfully yours under the contract. From the information you have provided, it appears that once the course of action is determined, you need to engage all parties and alert them of your intentions. It is then a case of you and your lawyer taking the necessary legal steps to resolve it.

I have an apartment that I have let through an agent. Despite numerous reminders, the agent has refused to pay me. What actions can I take?

The issue here is that you allowed the checks to be issued under the agent’s name. There is no reason to have allowed this and, unfortunately, the decision to do so has placed you in a vulnerable position.

I am not sure of the details of the contract that you have with your agent, but unless you have a proper property management agreement in place with a licensed property management firm, you should never allow the checks to be issued under the agent’s name.

Even if you have a property management agreement, you should stipulate that all cheques be issued in your favour and the property management firm is authorised to receive, issue receipts and bank the cheques into your account.

I am afraid your only option is to hire a legal consultant and go to court and file a legal case against the agent.

My husband and I bought an unfinished penthouse from a non-Emirati guy. Does he have to register it first so he can sell it?

Whatever happens, the penthouse must be registered first. Nothing can happen to affect the legal transfer of ownership of a property unless it is registered first. With regard to MOUs, they come in different formats with different content to suit the particular transaction at hand and each party’s wishes. If you want to ensure that it is legally binding, l suggest you hire a lawyer to draft it for you. Once the property is registered, you should visit the Dubai Land Department office or any of the trustee transfer offices and conduct the transfer of the property there. It appears to me that you have limited experience in concluding a property transaction such as this. My best advice for you is to hire a professional property consultant to take you through this journey in a professional and smooth manner.

I want to modify and extend my villa. What are the documents required and the procedures to be followed when it comes to making alterations?

You need to establish that the amendments do not threaten the structural integrity or safe habitation of your villa by you or by future owners should you decide to sell it one day. Therefore, you should prepare the architectural and MEP drawings for the proposed concept. These need to be viewed in conjunction with the architectural and MEP “as—built drawings” by different authorities and regulatory bodies  to ensure the proposed designs are structurally sound and meet the building codes. You need to obtain NOCs from the owners association, zoning authorities, Civil Defence and even the project developer and DEWA. If the renovation is extensive, you may be required to have the work inspected by the Civil Defence and the Building Department. Your architect or contractor can arrange for all  approvals on your behalf. Engage professionals who can achieve this for you.

 

I know that the market has slowed but is the slowdown being experienced across the board, or do some areas still look promising?

There is no doubt that the affordable segment in Dubai still shows a lot of promise. The properties In this segment will be in high demand as the emirate’s strong population continues to grow on the back of a strong recovery.

Properties located in non-prime areas continue to do very well. With the recovery in real estate going from strength to strength, we have witnessed the more affordable or secondary areas of the market continue to do well.

The demand for this type of affordable accommodation has been growing steadily as Dubai’s population swells in the run-up to the Expo and the demand for affordable housing increases.

Examples of affordable projects that are providing good rental returns and expected capital appreciation are the Skycourts and Queue Point located in Dubailand.

Other affordable residential destinations are the International Media Production Zone, International City and Discovery Gardens. These established communities offer a wide range of housing options for families and singles alike.

There is also the new project Town Square offering “value” apartments to newcomers in the city and families.

Mohanad Alwadiya

Gulf News Freehold – Ask the Agent

With the Dubai property market undergoing a correction, does it make sense to invest or wait until the market is showing signs of picking up?

While the market is cooling a little, there are advantages to be gained from purchasing now. The market will pick up again as the next five years are expected to see strong economic growth, but picking the exact timing is difficult. Start your property search immediately as a property investment requires the same approach regardless of the state of the market. Know what you can afford. If you have the cash, pay for it outright, but don’t be afraid to take a mortgage. Think about location, infrastructure, construction quality, developer reputation and building amenities. Consider the effectivity of the owners association, service charges and quality of maintenance services. Be purposeful, persistent, patient and pragmatic in your approach to make a sound investment decision.

There seems to be a lot of press and activity regarding the Expo 2020. How can I, as a landlord of four apartments, capitalise on any new opportunities?

Seek professional advice on to how to manage your portfolio. Many landlords across Dubai are bound to miss out on the revenue generating opportunities that the Expo will bring because of poor or non-existent planning.

A competent property manager will provide you with the best opportunity to maximise your financial gains. Do not make the mistake of leaving your planning too late. Know the current and likely future market conditions and events, risk factors that may enable or inhibit revenue growth, inflation and cost increases and a complete comprehension of financial modeling and the ever-developing area of industry policy and regulation. Depending on the size and complexity of your portfolio, make a five-year plan which covers pricing, cost management and maintenance schedules and several other considerations.

I have 14 apartments which are becoming too large to manage. I am considering hiring a property manager. What type of fees can I expect to pay?

It will vary by provider. It may be between 3% and 6% of the rental receipts; some will have an administrative fee. Understand what you expect from your property manager as the depth and breadth of their services vary greatly. You can negotiate a fee structure based on your actual requirements. Ask for referrals and make sure you follow up with some existing clients to check their efficiency and professionalism. A competent property manager will provide an assessment, strategy and activity plan designed to harness the financial potential of your property. You should have a rolling five-year activity plan which covers pricing, marketing and tenant management among others. A competent property manager will also provide you with review schedules regular financial reporting and many more.

With many new projects and off-plan opportunities, I am nervous about the quality of end products. Can we expect an improvement in quality?

During the global financial crisis, many developers realised that properties of poor quality were dealt the harshest of value declines. As a result, many developers did not survive. Having said that, the old caveat of “buyer beware” still applies. Deal with a reputable developer. Ask around or seek professional guidance. Ask what proactive measures are taken to ensure the end product has been built to an acceptable standard. Warranties and any quality assurance policies should be discussed in detail and have the sales and purchase agreement reviewed by a professional. Engage an expert to inspect (snag) your property and report any legitimate issues to the developer for rectification. Remember, once you have taken ownership of the apartment, the developer is still obliged to fix any issues that may arise during the full 12 months following the transfer of ownership.

Now that the market has corrected, there are many good opportunities in completed assets. Given the rising value of finished properties, are there advantages of buying off-plan now?

Purchasing an off-plan property. can provide you with superior capital gains by the time of completion, provided you are buying at a discount to today’s finished inventory and the market is expected to strengthen up to the completion date for the particular property that you are considering. This, of course, will depend on an estimation of economic growth, population expansion, the number of competing projects in the pipeline and the eventual industry inventory position.

Be smart about the product that you buy and try to avail yourself of a payment plan.

Look for certain property types complete with amenities and facilities in locations you believe will be keenly sought in the future. Do not assume that all property types in all locations will improve their values homogeneously. No market works this way. Also check the latest Metro route planning.

Deal with reputable developers only and check the status of the escrow account of the development. Escrow accounts were introduced under Law No.  8 whereby all property developers in Dubai must be registered with RERA and hold an escrow account which protects the funds of the buyers and ensures safety of the purchase.

mohanad_propertyweekly

Property Weekly

July 2015: Where are we?

For the past six months, headlines have been making many and varied references to a real estate correction in Dubai. This is not surprising as indeed Dubai’s real estate industry is in the midst of one. Many view the term correction with suspicion and trepidation, particularly those with a more tactical and less strategic short-term point of view.

Those who take a long-term perspective look at a correction with anticipation as it refers to the elimination of systemic issues and making the necessary adjustments to deal with impacts of external issues on the efficient operation of the real estate market.

There is no doubt that a correction was overdue. The year 2013 will be remembered as Dubai’s comeback year as the total value of real estate transactions reached Dh234 billion, a 52 per cent increase on 2012, which was clearly unsustainable as witnessed when the correction began last year when Dh218 billion worth of real estate assets were sold, a reduction of over Dh16 billion on the previous year. At the time of writing, just over Dh63 billion worth of transactions has taken place this year, indicating that the market is well and truly entered its correctional phase.

Changing cash flows

The market definitely benefited from high levels of liquidity during 2012 and 2013. Capital inflows seeking safe haven from regional conflicts were strong. However, they were sure to weaken and have. Geopolitical events such as the Ukraine conflict and subsequent economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the West sent the rouble rapidly declining in value, making investing in Dubai an increasingly expensive proposition for Russians, who historically have been prevalent in the investing community.

In addition, changes to mortgage laws also dampened the availability of capital for investors wishing to use leverage to capitalise on attractive property valuations and the promise of high and sustainable rental yields.

Vying for investment

A slew of new projects being launched as a result of renewed developer optimism also placed pressure on liquidity levels and, eventually, prices market wide. Initially, launches were made with prices for off plan units consistent and supportive to prices for completed units.

However, with each additional launch, competition for the investor money intensified, leading to a gradual reduction in prices for off plan units and 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.

The number of new launches has been impressive, leaving many to question whether over – exuberance on behalf of developers will result in a significant oversupply. Calculating optimal supply levels, especially when emerging from a recessionary period, is particularly challenging. It depends on an accurate estimation of demand for real estate assets that will emanate from Dubai’s population growth, which will be largely driven by overall economic growth. In addition, supply needs to factor in a lag effect from the time that conditions conducive to development are identified by developers and when properties are completed and are released on to the market.

We at Harbor take a minimum five year view when looking at equilibrium or imbalances in the market. When taking into account the nature of its resurgence, the strong growth in fundamental economic drivers such as tourism and trade, the levels of investment into infrastructure and initiatives and stakeholder commitment to sustainable growth, we believe that while inventory levels may spike in the interim, they will not be excessive at the end of our five year forecast period.

Steady supply

There will be about 11,000 villas, 7,500 town houses and 35,000 apartments delivered between now and 2020. While this may seem a lot, remember that we are entering a period where demand for property – particularly those that are affordable is expected to rise significantly and given average occupation rates are currently about 80-85 per cent, there is not much margin for error in terms of satisfying expected demand.

Put simply, Dubai needs people to support an economy that is expected to grow at an estimated 5 per cent annually for the remainder of the decade and to deliver initiatives such as the World Expo 2020. The expo alone is expected to generate an additional 270,000 jobs and drive demand for housing and commercial facilities that don’t exist.

Much of the city’s planning estimates the number of people living in the emir ate to grow to 3.4 million by 2020 – a 7 per cent annual increase from today’s population of 2.25 million.

Expo led growth

There is no doubt that a stabilised 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 five to seven years. The structural shift towards more affordable housing will not only accommodate the expected rapid population growth associated with the Expo 2020, but is also an important factor in the development of Dubai’s economy. Every emerging market needs to develop a strong middle class, whose 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 in the region and globally, 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 alternative locations for their operations.

When taking this perspective, the correction could not have come at a better time.

mohanad_professional

Gulf News Freehold – Ask The Agent

I own an apartment in Dubai. I got a new tenant and increased its rent but I cannot raise it further according to the rental index. The market seems to have peaked. Should I sell it?

Yes, there is price correction, but we are far removed from experiencing a long-term trend. Looking over the next five years, we expect the market to achieve an average price growth of around 7%. Bear in mind that we are talking averages here and popular areas have a habit of outperforming the average. It really comes down to alternatives. If you have identified an alternative investment to give you a better income stream and capital return than what you expect to receive in five years from your apartment, then the right decision may be to sell. However, if you have not, hold on to the property. You will continue to receive at least a 5-7% net rental return and achieve around 7% per annum capital growth in the future.

Why is it that the rents of not so new apartments in some areas remain high? The rates in these areas did not fall as much when recession struck and when rents increased, their rents also increased fast. How come?

The value of a particular location is usually derived from the levels of pleasure, lifestyle convenience, security, harmony, future economic value or even status that can be derived from the property. Whether it is a spectacular view (sea, lake and others) or proximity to public transport, business districts, entertainment, dining, schools or hospitals, the perceived benefits that a location may bring to a prospective tenant can account for up to 90%, Areas close to the beach and entertainment venues as well as properties located close to/within. Downtown Dubai or the business district will command a location premium. Most potential tenants consider a view as a key factor for their house to be enjoyed.

I think that l am paying excessive service charges. Getting access to information that might prove my suspicions is difficult. Is my OA obliged to provide me with information?

Attending owners association (OA) meetings and requesting details on the service charges would be the logical place to start and they are obliged to address your query. Remember, the purpose of the OA is to manage, operate and maintain the common areas, virtually all of the “owner shared” elements of the building. They do this by appointing contractors with the expertise to carry out the required tasks and set a service charge that all owners must pay to cover the cost of the contractor services. The OA is a “not for profit” business entity in its own right with the powers to operate a bank account, sue (or be sued), purchase, own and dispose of assets and enter legally binding agreements. You can request and view the financial statements of the association to ensure the charges you are paying are justified and correct.

Reports are saying that the market has slowed and prices are correcting. Is it a good time to buy?

Picking the exact timing is difficult. Start your property search immediately as this kind of investment requires the same approach regardless of the state of the market. Know what you can afford. If you have the cash, pay for it outright, but you can always take a mortgage. Think carefully about location, surrounding infrastructure, construction quality, developer reputation and building amenities. If you have close access to the Metro, even better. Also consider the effectivity of the OA, service charges and the quality of maintenance services as these affect the long-term value of your investment. Be purposeful, persistent, patient and pragmatic in your approach and you are well on the way to making a very sound investment decision. However, if you decide to rent, there are also great deals. With robust tenant protection legislation and a rental index to limit your exposure to increases, your rights will be recognised.

The property market seems to swing in favour of buyers and investors. Where do you believe the best investment opportunities are likely to appear?

Definitely in, the affordable segment of the market. We are encouraging clients to invest in this segment as it has great opportunities.

Excellent examples, of high performing yet affordable developments are the Skycourts and Queue Point communities in Dubailand. These have seen excellent capital growth.

Demand for this type of affordable housing will continue to grow and we expect other developments that are located close to the two communities to benefit as well, especially as Dubai’s population swells in the run-up to the Expo and the demand for affordable housing increases.

A smart move would be to invest in an apartment and retain ownership for at least five years as I am confident that you will benefit from superior capital growth and enjoy very healthy net annual rental return in the meantime.

In addition, consider looking at the apartments in Sarah Ajmal and Windsor Residence. They are all expected to perform very well as the demand for affordable properties continues to grow.

Of course, there are the established areas such as Remraam, International City, Discovery Gardens and International Media Production Zone, while the Town Square project is one to watch out for.

mohanad_propertyweekly

Property Weekly

Escrow law protection

With the recent flurry of new developments in Dubai, investors and potential owner-occupiers have been asking me how much protection is provided for the funds they are paying developers in advance. The conversation invariably turns to the concept of escrow and how this legally binding arrangement provides substantial protection for investors.

In its simplest form, an escrow can be described as a legally recognised financial instrument held by a third party (typically a bank) on behalf of two other parties (typically a buyer and a seller) who have agreed to conduct a particular transaction in accordance with certain conditions. Funds are provided by the buyer and held by the party (bank) providing the escrow service until it receives formal advice that certain previously agreed obligations of the seller have been fulfilled, upon which time the seller can receive an amount specified in the agreement between the seller and buyer.

The use of escrow accounts by Dubai developers has now been mandated by law for the specific purpose of protecting the prepayments made by buyers for properties that are bought off-plan. This limits developers from gaining access to funds until certain construction milestones are completed, helping ensure developers are not misappropriating funds provided in advance for purposes other than which they are intended for.

Anybody can open an escrow account but a developer must first be registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera), which involves providing an expansive array of documents, ranging from details of its officers and solvency, title deeds proving ownership of the land to be developed, and no-objection certificates (NOCs) from relevant parties such as the master developer, to performance guarantees backed by a financial institution and all planning and details about the project.

Rera requires the land subject to development to be fully paid for and a title deed issued in the name of the owner. Where the owner of the land cannot register as a developer, Rera permits the owner to enter into a property development contract with an existing registered developer to develop the project on behalf of the land owner. The development contract, however, must be approved by the senior legal adviser of the Dubai Land Department to be accepted by Rera. Only when a developer is registered with Rera can it apply to open an escrow account. When selling off-plan, the developer must ensure all proceeds of the sale of the units are deposited into the escrow account and are used solely for the construction of the project. Failure to comply with the escrow law can lead to hefty fines or criminal charges, which may result in prison sentences.

Once a developer has submitted all the required documents to Rera and is granted the authority to sell units off-plan, Rera will issue an NOC to allow the developer to open an escrow account with an authorised UAE bank.

The bank that will be providing the escrow service needs to understand all the details of the underlying agreement to ensure that it acts in accordance with its provisions. In this way, the bank can help protect the buyers’ prepaid funds by referring and strictly adhering to the conditions of the agreement.

But while the introduction of escrow as a legal requirement for developers has helped safeguard the funds of off-plan investors, there are other steps that investors must take to provide additional protection.

Buyers need to make sure they are dealing with a reputable developer, regardless if it is registered with Rera. One positive effect of the global financial crisis was that many suspect developers were exposed and forced out of business. Seek professional guidance, as those in the industry know who the reputable developers are. Ask the opinion of those who have transacted business with the developer.

Ask the developer what measures have been taken to ensure the end product is built to an acceptable standard and inspect buildings already completed by the developer. Warranties and quality assurance policies should be discussed in detail. Have the sales and purchase agreement reviewed by a professional to ensure you have legal recourse should any quality issues arise.

Upon completion you have the right to inspect your apartment and report any legitimate issues to the developer for rectification. Items that can be remedied in the short term should be fixed immediately. Remember: once you have taken possession of the apartment, the developer is obliged to fix any issues that would arise 12 months following the transfer of ownership.