Upgrading to a villa? Consider these hidden costs

By Obed Suhail

DUBAI 26 January 2017: When considering to move from an apartment to a villa, many people just think about the increase in their monthly rent or mortgage payment. However, there are many additional costs that you will incur when living in a villa for general upkeep and maintenance, which you need to take into account.

To make it easy for you to budget correctly for your move, experts at ServiceMarket, one of UAE’s leading marketplace for home services, and Delight Investment Group, a full services provider specializing in moving, cleaning, pest control and maintenance, have teamed up to prepare this handy cost guide.

1. Monthly Rent: Since villas are almost always more expensive than apartments in the same area, you are likely to see a significant increase in your monthly rent. For example, a quick comparison of average rent prices using the Rera Index shows that villas can cost over 100% more to rent than apartments in the same area. The difference in the average prices of renting an apartment or villa differs by area, and it is possible to find villas in some areas that are cheaper to rent than apartments in more expensive areas of Dubai.


2. Utility Bills: Another significant cost you should consider are your utility bills. People typically have higher utility bills when they move to a villa because they have more space, more rooms and a garden to care for. However, there are some energy saving tips you can implement to control your monthly bills. Simple things like turning off lights when the room is not in use, restricting use of your AC or keeping it on a higher temperature, and taking shorter showers, can actually save you a lot of money each month. Another expense that many people often overlook is the amount of water used every month for irrigating a villa’s garden, which depends on the size of the garden and the types of plants you have. If you have a large garden with a lawn, make sure to water it at night to reduce evaporation and save on your water bill. You could also consider adding a paved patio, or using artificial grass, to cut watering costs. Just make sure you have permission to do so from your landlord beforehand.

3. Home Maintenance Costs: From changing light bulbs to fixing leaky faucets, you’ll probably have to hire a handyman to fix something in your house almost every month. Annual maintenance contracts are usually more affordable than opting to pay for handyman services by the hour. Annual maintenance contracts for villas start at around Dh4,000. It’s worth investing in an annual maintenance contract because it also includes things like AC cleaning and maintenance and locksmith services, which will typically save you money in the long run However, the bigger your villa, the more you’ll have to pay for your annual maintenance contract.

4. Gardening Costs: Having a garden is a common reason why people want to move to a villa in Dubai, but it will also cost you extra bucks. If you’re planning on customizing your garden through landscaping and other customizations such as installing lights or building a patio, then you will have to set aside money for this. Also, unless you’re a gardening enthusiast you’re likely to have to set aside a budget to hire a gardener in Dubai. Basic garden maintenance starts from Dh250 a month but can go up to Dh1,000 a month for bigger villas. The cost of basic garden design and landscaping starts at Dh3,000 but can be as high as Dh50,000 if you want a pool. If you plan to get a villa with a swimming pool or build one, then you should also include Dh3,600 as its maintenance cost in your annual budget.

5. Pest control Costs: All villas need regular pest control treatment, and your budget for it will increase with the size of your property. If you have a garden in your villa, then you should definitely consider pest control treatment for ants and termites. Did you know that in some scary cases Dubai residents even had to call pest control services to handle snakes? Bigger homes also mean more storage space which can be infested by rats and cockroaches. On average, it usually costs around Dh400 to book a pest control service for a 3BR villa. You can also sign up for an annual pest control contract for Dh1,500.

6. Cleaning Costs: The larger the property you live in, the more time it will take to clean. For this reason, your monthly cleaning services cost will probably be higher when you move to a villa. On top of that, you’ll also have to face new types of cleaning costs that you don’t have when you live in an apartment. For example, you’ll have to get your water tank cleaned at least once a year for Dh500. More AC units means a higher cost to get them cleaned and serviced. It costs Dh800 to get an AC unit cleaned and you should consider doing so every 6 months. If you have 4 AC units in your 3BR villa, then the annual cost will be Dh6,400. You can expect to pay around Dh14,500 annually for 8 hours of regular cleaning per week. It’s recommended that you get your home deep cleaned once a year, which typically costs around Dh1,200.. If you have a swimming pool in your villa, then you will also have to get it cleaned regularly.

7. Home Insurance: The good news is the cost of your home contents insurance is unlikely to increase just because you move to a villa in the UAE. The cost of home contents insurance is dependent on the value of your belongings, and therefore, unless the value of your furniture, electronics and other insurable belongings increases, your home insurance cost should stay the same. If you already have home insurance, you will need to inform the insurance company of your new address. If not, you should definitely consider protecting your belongings! Remember, you can get home insurance for as little as Dh200. However, if you’re deciding whether to purchase an apartment or villa, then the cost of building insurance, which covers the building structure, is typically more expensive for a villa.

8. Moving: One of the first expenses you’ll have to meet is for the Dubai moving services. By choosing a reputable and experienced moving company, you can make the experience of moving to a new home more comfortable for your family. The cost of moving will depend on the volume of belongings and the size of the property, but the cost of moving from a 3BR apartment to a 3BR villa in Dubai will usually range from Dh3,500 to Dh4,000. You should make sure also understand exactly what the moving quote includes. If you need someone to help you put up your curtains and photos, make sure that you explicitly discuss this with the moving company, as they typically charge extra if a handyman is required – usual charge is an additional Dh250 for 3 hours.”

9. Other One-Off Costs: You should also budget for new things such as furniture and curtains you’ll have to buy for the bigger space. Other one off costs include paying 1% to the real estate agent who helped you find the villa and the costs associated with customizing your home such as painting services.

Upgrading from an apartment to a villa - Infographic - ServiceMarket (1)

Note: The author is from ServiceMarket.com