DUBAI EXPAT STORIES. An adventurous backpacker calls the city home

“One of my favorite memories of Australia,” says Nick Grassick, managing partner at ph Real Estate Brokers, a Dubai-based property expert, “was spending six months in Byron Bay, a coastal town near the border of New South Wales and Queensland…that place really is God’s country.” 

“This was a stay much longer than the originally planned seven days,” Nick, born and raised in Birmingham in the United Kingdom (UK) and has worked in real estate for nearly 30 years of his life, said.  

 “My favored mode of travel while backpacking was contacting the camper van rental companies and inquiring about ‘relocations,’” Nick, who calls Dubai home for the past 12 years, during which period he has become a husband and father, added.    

He further explained that recently-rented camper vans, essentially, had travelled from point of origin to their destination, and somehow needed to be returned to their point of origin.

“I became that driver to return it.  The fact it cost roughly AUD1 per day to hire on the return run was eclipsed by the fact I never knew which city I would be returning it to until I was booked.

“The sense of adventure travelling like this was incredible,” Nick said.

Nick knows the real estate world like the back of his hand, having worked selling residential semi-detached homes in the quiet suburbia of Birmingham, to being based in Sydney, Australia where he was engaged in the city’s commercial real estate, and now Dubai.   

“The most enjoyable difference working in Dubai (compared) with other cities is the vast diversity of nationalities and cultures we work with.  Marketing and selling property is largely similar the world over, the opportunity to engage with and work alongside the diverse client base we have in UAE provides an enjoyable challenge, assimilating to nationality and cultural nuances,” said Nick.

He added: “Over the past 12 years, I have seen the Dubai property market mature and become much more robust in terms of both legislation and process management.  Arguably the most important part of the home-buying process has evolved from decentralized, independent broker-created contracts to a system in place today, whereby contracts are created, reviewed and approved by a smartphone-based application.  This level of sophistication is yet to be seen in markets considered much more mature.”

Nick said few people are able to purchase their dream home from a cold start, “so I’d recommend taking incremental steps and buying a home which suits their needs.  

“We’re fortunate to live in a city which is as dynamic as Dubai, both in terms of advancements and the incredible fluidity of property values.  Everyone has an opportunity to reap profit from buying and selling property in such an environment, a process we have managed for many long-standing clients, contributing to their personal wealth and resulting in much broader purchasing power,” he said.

Over the years, Nick has lived in most of the expat communities in Dubai.  

“Initially, I lived in Downtown (at a time when) Burj Khalifa wasn’t quite finished, Dubai Mall hadn’t opened and the only developments were Burj Residences, South Ridge and 8 Boulevard Walk.  

“From Downtown, I moved to Dubai Marina and when I became a father, moved to The Lakes.  Home is now Palm Jumeirah, the more relaxed beach lifestyle perfectly suits what I now look for when not at work,” he said. 


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