As a new expat in Dubai, finding somewhere to live, aside from your visa processes, is probably one of the most important parts of your move to Dubai. Luckily the boyfriend had already arrived a few months prior to me and had found, rented and set up our apartment well before I landed in Dubai.
The process to find somewhere to live, started as soon as we made the decision to move. We narrowed down the areas we wanted and could afford to live in and then researched each one for its amenities, transportation links and dog friendliness. Our search came down to a couple of areas; Dubai Marina, The Greens and Al Barsha.
In the end, Dubai Marina won because of the accessibility it offered me; I don't drive so proximity to a metro station and the availability of taxis meant Dubai Marina was our prime location. And it is relatively dog friendly, close to hotels and as such bars (all bars in Dubai are located within hotels due to licensing regulations) and restaurants and was within our price-range.
There are a ton of expat friendly areas across Dubai, which range from the family friendly and dog friendly to luxury and young professional friendly. The price range of residential property in Dubai does vary and it isn't cheap when compared to the rest of Europe, but if you compare our spot, on the marina walk to say, living in a one bedroom apartment on the River Thames in London, then you would say we have a pretty good deal price-wise.
But expats beware, rent is usually required in two or three post dated cheques and sometimes a whole years worth of rent is payable up-front. Then you have to factor in costs including estate agents fees, security deposit, Ejari fees, Internet set-up and DEWA set-up.
It all sounds a little scary and luckily I skipped this bit, arriving just in time for the fun, IKEA shopping and decoration bit. But if you need to know more about the serious stuff, my article in association with Expatsblog.com, Finding Somewhere to Live in Dubai, has just been published.