A couple traveling around the world paid 325,000 dirhams to buy an independent house in the Lakes District
Mai Dubai for rent He takes you inside a reader’s home to take a look at what they get for their money, how much rent they pay and asks them what they like and don’t like.
Former teacher Sandra Hyde and her husband Carlos moved to Dubai from Switzerland over the summer and are now renting a townhouse in The Lakes District.
The Brit, 59, who has lived in a number of countries since leaving the UK at 18, wanted a community where she felt safe and a home big enough to accommodate guests.
Ms Hyde and her Argentinian husband, 58, chose a newly renovated three-bedroom house with space to host their adult children when they travel from Italy and the UK.
I took the National She took a tour of her first home in Dubai and showed us why the emirate is a haven for expats.
What can you reveal about the country house?
There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms – one en-suite and one not.
In the basement, we have a lounge, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, large study and maid’s room – plus another bathroom full of boxes and a small laundry room.
We also have a small garden with patio areas where we have a sofa and coffee table.
The house suits us because it’s just me and my husband, so we didn’t want anything huge and sprawling. Although it is about 250 square metres, it has a cozy atmosphere.
We pay 325,000 dirhams ($88,480) a year, which we thought was very expensive, but the transportation company told us that the prices have risen dramatically.
Also, since it has been completely renovated, it makes a big difference.
Where did you live before?
We moved to Dubai for my husband’s job. He works as a center manager for Hitachi.
I was teaching English as a second language in Italy, but then I became a late husband. Now I just enjoy the good life – like going to the water gym.
We were in Zurich for 11 years, I lived in Italy for 24 years, then Switzerland (again), then Germany. Then we went to Egypt, then back to Switzerland, and now we are here.
We came and prepared the house in June of this year.
I’ve never been to Dubai before, although I traveled through the airport once.
I’ve come to appreciate the modern architecture and charm here more than I ever thought I would.
Why did you choose the Lake District?
The reason I live happily in Dubai is because I live in The Lakes District.
It’s a complex, it’s green, it’s quiet, it’s full of dogs and children. I came here and left the madness behind me.
Carlos travels a lot, so my choice of home had to be in a community where I felt safe when I was alone.
Where else did you think of it?
We started looking at La Mer because I wanted to live near the sea, but after my visit I didn’t feel the sense of community in the area.
The carrier from my husband’s company showed me different areas.
I first chose a home in Jumeirah Golf Estates and really liked it, but the mover thought I would be happier in a community like The Lakes, where there is a more community feel and closer to all the amenities.
We looked for an apartment in La Mer, but decided on a house and wanted three bedrooms in case the kids were coming together.
We didn’t want a big garden, but some outdoor area was necessary, as we like to sit outside if the weather is cooler.
What facilities do you have access to?
There is a communal swimming pool opposite the house, and since I swim every morning, this is a big plus.
We have repairs (social and barbecues) here, a supermarket and hairdressers.
I can walk around and bike to the supermarket, which takes me five minutes.
Now that the evening is cool, we eat dinner and go for a walk. It is green and well maintained.
This is normal for me and what I need (in society).
Is it a social neighborhood?
Feeling safe has always been a big thing for me, and The Lakes delivers on that.
You always tend to bump into someone, and they’ll stop and talk. I got to meet quite a few people who live around me. Each area has a pool and playground, so you tend to meet your neighbors.
He’s very social. Everyone is really friendly.
I love having life around me. I love to hear the kids playing and see the dogs walking.
How did you customize the house?
The hall wall was covered with the same tiles as the floor, dark brown. For our tastes, it was too dark, so we packed it. The appearance of the house has completely changed.
We also expanded the patio area so we could put the table and chairs there.
That’s all we had to do because everything else was brand new.
The only thing I would do (during the renovation) is put in a new air conditioner.
We ended up purchasing air deflectors online, which are the biggest game changer because they disperse the air and keep it from blowing on you.
Was the property furnished?
No, we bought everything new because we still have a place in Zurich.
In Dubai, I discovered West Elm, Pottery Barn and The One, and we furnished the entire house from those three shops – a lot of solid oak.
We blew the budget, but we’ll eventually be shipping these things to Spain, where we bought a property. So, it was investing in something for the future.
For garden furniture we went to Grass it up. It’s also not a cheap store, but I believe in quality, not quantity.
Does living here offer value for money?
I think so. And we get out of it what we want.
It was within our (allocated) budget and, coming from Switzerland, we were already used to high rents.
The house has been completely renovated, which made a huge difference (compared to) the other houses we looked at.
Our landlord is really good at anything he needs done.
Are you planning to stay there?
It comes down to function. We should be here for another three years. I’m very good at settling down…where I lay my hat, that’s my home.
I’m very good at adapting to places, and Dubai is very easy compared to some places, even in Europe, because it’s an expat haven.
Is there any complaining?
There is a gym and a swimming pool in Reform, but for some reason they are closed, so no one takes advantage of them.
There is an organization for residents, a WhatsApp group, in case anything goes wrong. For example, some people were complaining that there were not enough street lights.
Updated: November 05, 2023, 4:00 AM