Thinking of moving home? Here's a step-by-step guide to the costs involved
26 August 2019| Last updated on 19 January 2020
Moving your home sounds like a great idea if you can save on rent, but have you considered how much it really costs to move house in Dubai?
With a property market that's becoming increasingly competitive, expats moving to and living in some of Dubai's best communities are now faced with more options when it comes to saving on rent.
As a result, renters may feel obliged to move their home in order to save a buck or two. However, before rushing to find a new favourite area to live in, have you taken into consideration just how much it costs to move home in Dubai?
Sure, moving might save you 10 to 20 thousand Dirhams on rent (and for a bigger space in most cases), but when you add-up that initial deposit, agency fees, cost of movers and maintenance... The money you'll have saved will be spent elsewhere.
If you're currently considering to move place in Dubai, here's our complete guide on how much it costs to move your house in the emirate.
1. Before you move
- Painting/redecorating: approx. Dhs 100 - 200
- Maintenance tasks like electricals/plumbing: approx. Dhs 100 - 200
- Cleaning/deep-cleaning of current unit: maximum Dhs 600
Despite changes in the law that no longer require tenants to ensure a unit is returned to the state it was when moving in, renters may feel obliged to fix any wear-and-tear that has occurred whilst living in the property.
Initial costs to consider before moving home in Dubai includes any painting/decorating that may be required, like a fresh coat of paint on most if not all walls. Most maintenance companies offer this service at an hourly rate, between Dhs 100 - 200.
Any broken bulbs, loose wires, broken toilet seats, flushing issues... These can also be rectified before leaving a property and can be done so in the weeks leading up to moving out. Again, maintenance companies offer these services at an hourly rate.
Lastly, at this stage, you may want to hire a cleaning company to help with a deeper-cleaning than usual to prepare your unit for your leaving. Depending on which company, this may cost around Dhs 40 an hour, with prices as high as Dhs 600 for a full service.
Total cost so far, approximately (no more than) Dhs 1,000.
2. One or two weeks before moving
- 5% agency fee (if applicable)
- 5% deposit for the new unit
- First rent cheque
- Moving boxes: around Dhs 150
At this point, you've no doubt found your perfect new home and you're ready to sign your tenancy contract with your new landlord. Expect to spend 5% of your overall rent as an agency fee (if you choose to go with a property agent), as well as 5% deposit to secure your new unit.
For example, if you're renting a two-bedroom townhouse/villa for AED 120,000 per annum, your agency fee and the deposit would both be Dhs 6,000, so Dhs 12,000 in total.
You'll also need to make sure you have your cheques prepared and signed for handing over to the agent/landlord. In Dubai's property market, one or two cheques used to be popular however nowadays, renters can find multiple cheque rentals which helps lower the initial cost of moving tremendously.
For example, if you've agreed to pay your rent in 4 cheques, your first cheque will be AED 30,000. This money should be ready and in your account for when your landlord deposits the cheque on the agreed starting date.
Additionally - you may want to start thinking about packing. While a lot of moving companies in Dubai offer packing as part of a moving deal, it's not unusual to want to begin packing your belongings yourself. This can help to ensure any valuables or loved items are packed, secure and ready for moving day. Boxes can be bought at shops like ACE Hardware, and cost around Dhs 150 for 10 boxes.
Total cost so far, approximately AED 43,150.
This approximate sum includes the first rent cheque for your new property, but you may wish to exclude this from your calculations as you'd be paying rent if you remained where you were anyway. So true cost of moving at this stage would total AED 13, 150.
3. The actual move
- Moving company: on average, Dhs 2,000
- Deep cleaning: Dhs 600
- A/C cleaning: on average, Dhs 1,500
- DEWA deposit: Dhs 2,000 (apartment) / Dhs 4,000 (townhouse/villa)
- Ejari: Dhs 365
- du/Etisalat transfer: Dhs 100
- Vehicle access permits: Dhs 200
Moving day has arrived and you need help no doubt! Hiring a moving company is a common thing to do here, as obviously a company has the provisions to move heavy furniture and box/package belongings quickly and easily. Most, if not all companies, have package options that include add-ons like unpacking, re-decorating, cleaning, etc. On average, you're looking at between Dhs 2,000 - 3,000 for a full day package from start to finish with most, popular companies. Alternatively, if you'd like to save on cost, you may hire a 'man with a van' for less - approximately Dhs 1,000 - 2,000 instead.
Before moving into your new unit, you may feel comfortable with having it deep cleaned. After all, no matter if you know the unit has been cleaned by the landlord, but if you're like us - you'll probably want to make sure it's done properly yourself. Put aside around Dhs 600 maximum for this.
The above also applies to air conditioning units inside the property. You may not need to foot this cost if you're moving into a new build, however with older units, having A/C cleaned regularly is a must - and you can't always guarantee the previous tenants and/or landlord has cleaned the A/C properly. Depending on the company chosen, prices can range from Dhs 1,200 to as high as Dhs 3,000 depending on the size of your unit.
Another thing to take into consideration is your DEWA deposit. If you're upgrading from an apartment to a townhouse/villa, your DEWA deposit will increase from Dhs 2,000 to Dhs 4,000 - so you'll need to pay the Dhs 2,000 difference. If you're moving from villa to villa, there shouldn't be an extra deposit.
Registering your Ejari is a must-do for renters in Dubai; this can be easily done online and costs a total of Dhs 365. If you ask your agent to help, you'll probably need to pay them around Dhs 500 for their service.
Transferring your du/Etisalat connection is also a must-do. Tenants are charged a moving fee of Dhs 100, which is charged onto your next bill.
When moving into certain communities, like Emirates Living by Emaar, tenants are required to gain a move-in permit. These are free to obtain, however, residents are also encouraged to purchase community access cards for their vehicles. These are Dhs 200 each.
Additional costs you may not have thought about...
The following aren't necessary expenses, however, you may want to consider the following when moving.
A token of thank you for help when moving
If you've hired a moving company who is helping you on the day, a nice gesture of appreciation is to purchase some sandwiches, snacks, and beverages. Bear in mind that these guys probably have another house to help move after yours (it happens!) so fuelling them with food and beverages will no doubt be hugely appreciated... And is an easy way to say thanks, too! This shouldn't cost any more than Dhs 150 if you choose to.
What about children?
When moving on a weekday, you may not be faced with this issue. However, if you need to move on a weekend and have young children, you may want to look at booking a hotel stay for them and your partner and/or home help. Moving can be stressful, and with lots of heavy items, electricals, and tools easily accessible, it's probably wise to keep little hands and curiosities out of the way. Take a look at a nearby hotel and allocate no more than Dhs 300 for the night if you opt to do this.
Additionally, if you're moving between places, sometimes there's a delay in getting your DEWA connected. Which can be a nightmare if you're moving when the weather is hot, hot, hot! Probably best to make sure little ones are kept cool elsewhere.
Lastly, what about your four-legged companions?
Lastly, if you have pets you may also consider boarding them to also keep them safe and sound. We've heard too many horror stories of furry family members that have been let loose during moves here, and the last thing you need after moving into your new home is to be desperately searching for your pet. Consider booking them in for the night at your nearest boarding facility so you know they're being looked after. This should cost between Dhs 100 to Dhs 170 depending on the company you decide on.
Total cost so far, approximately AED 49,915.
With additional costs, you're looking at more than AED 50,000 at this stage (including that first rent cheque, remember!).
4. After moving in
Until this point, we've listed the necessary cost of moving home in Dubai. From DEWA to that first rent cheque, to cleaning and maintenance - there's a lot to take into consideration before you're even into your new Dubai home.
Now, here comes the best (and our most favourite) part - shopping! If you've upgraded your unit size, your mind will be whirring with ideas for furniture and soft furnishings to complete your new home.
If you're moving from place to place, you'll no doubt already have your big-cost items already; a sofa, bed, dining table, white goods like a washer/dryer, an oven, and fridge. Saying that, you may want to upgrade/replace an item or you may actually need one for your new home so to help you calculate costs, here's an estimate of how much you should roughly budget for everything needed:
- Bedroom suite (includes a bed, mattress, dresser, wardrobe for example): between Dhs 3,000 - 7,000
- Fridge/freezer: average is Dhs 2,000
- Gas oven: approx. Dhs 1,000
- Electric oven: approx. Dhs 3,000
- Microwave: Dhs 150
- Lounge sofa: between Dhs 4,000 - 10,000
- Dining table and chairs: between Dhs 2,000 - 7,000
- Washer/dryer: average is Dhs 3,000
Of course, the above all depends on where you shop and what brands you choose. You can find furniture and homeware stores in Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall that suit a range of budgets.
On top of this list, you'll, of course, want to allocate some budget for soft furnishings - but this part can be an ongoing, and very fun, project as you settle into your new home.
The total cost of moving in Dubai
Following our extensive guide above, it's easy to feel a little overwhelmed with the cost of moving here. As noted, the final total that reaches almost AED 50,000 includes your first rent cheque for your new unit. Extract that and you're looking at a more comfortable number.
Again, our above guide is supposed to provide an average cost to help you estimate how much you need to budget and is not at all in stone; prices will vary depending on what vendors or companies you decide to use when moving, which can help considerably when saving money.
Additionally, the final cost may also vary based on what size of the unit and what rental price you've chosen as the 5% fees will vary.
Ultimately, is moving the right decision for you right now?
With thousands of new units becoming available on the rental market this year and next in the lead-up to Expo2020, it's no wonder that tenants have found themselves questioning whether a move will be the best and right choice for them right now. But when saving money on rent is your biggest reason, looking at the cost of moving can help clarify just how much you'll be saving overall.