Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Experiment Part One-The Villa

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know the planet is in a recession. Dubai has not yet admitted it yet, but hey, times are bad. Life sucks and we are unemployed. I am freelancing right now, so making ends meet, but it is still a bloody farce. This is a topic I have been meaning to write about for some time. First and foremost, no one wants your shitty villas and your shitty job! Get over it! I was just cruising the Dubizzle site and there are some shocking gigs there for fuck-all pay. These people need to wake up. Reality is here and your dreams are over (people looking to make a buck and landlords looking to extort). The problem lies here:

1. no renters
2. no jobs

Get off your high horse and lower your rents, mofo's! You are dreaming. A quick scan of Dubizzle as well as Gulf News ads shows a 100k difference in the SAME place! Put down your glue sisha and wake up to reality! There are no renters, just like there are no buyers. Get real. I rent a place for 135,00 AED. It is a decent villa in Arabian Ranches. Decent yard, decent neighbours. All is good. I have an offer to move out of here and my wife and I take up a villa in Mirdif for 93,000AED, split 3 ways. Quite the savings.

When I lost my job back in September, I got to thinking what the best course of action is. I had a freelance job, so I picked up and kept working. October came around and things were looking rough for everyone, not just me, but I had rent to pay in November and was concerned about pissing away all that money if I was leaving. SO I ran an experiment. I placed an ad in Dubizzle for my villa as a one year sublet for 240,000AED thinking I would end up with a tidy profit, enough to fly back here from "points unknown" to collect deposits back and hand the place back to the landlord. I got 22 responses in 24 hours. I was amazed. People were willing to pay that kind of money for a place to live, and lots of people at that.

The weeks and months went on and I did not sweat the "escape clause"...I thought I had it figured. 6 weeks ago I placed the same ad....no responses, yet there were other places listed at the same money. 4 weeks later, dropped the rent to 210,000AED. No responses. 2 weeks ago I dropped the rate to 190,000 AED. No responses, yet there are still identical villas as mine advertised for 240,000AED. Are they nuts? So forget the guessing and speculation. Rents are falling, I have had this experiment going for months now.

As a sidebar, when I dropped the rent to 190,000AED, I re-wrote the ad and changed it to just "for rent". No sublet, no dodgy deals. Just straight up FOR RENT. Nada!

Now we want the fuck out. Cut and run as they say. This place is too expensive for unemployed people to live in. The funny thing is we can't give it away. Seeing as I am close to the situation, I am a realist. This experiment started as a method of making money on my way out the door. At this point I would be happy to just hand the villa back to the landlord if he will take it. I think I owe it to him to get the highest price possible so his greed streak will let me out of the contract. (This is the same asshole that wanted me to pay 20,000AED upon renewal so he felt "better" about his investment. A threat of rent committee and some heated words, the last I heard from him was "merry Christmas" and "happy New Year".

I am afraid to run another ad with a lower price. I am afraid I am single-handedly lowering the rental values in Dubai! If I can't get interest for my place 50,000 less than the others that are identical, you KNOW the others aren't renting theirs. Just before hitting "post" I decided to check. Some desperado has listed their place for 155,000AED. Hold on to your hats!

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