Diary of a distressed property investor, Part II
Posted by 7starsdubai on January 9, 2009
original published: Kippreport.com
We know property investors are struggling, and for the most part, we know why. But what most us don’t know are the everyday struggles they’re going through. One investor agreed to write a journal of her experiences for Kipp for the next month. We asked her to be ruthless: she obliged.
We’ve withheld her name for legal reasons.
I went to Rera last week. And when I finally got someone to talk to me about my concerns, I was confronted with a Dubai truth: some government employees’ brains go on vacation well before the public holidays begin. I was advised to return after the New Year’s celebrations.
“Why?” I asked.
“It’s a holiday,” said a young attendant.
“What holiday? It’s the 29th (of December)?” I asked, a little hysterically.
I didn’t get a response from him. And that taught me another Dubai truth: any sign of hysteria, anger, disapproval or discontent on your part will result in an immediate breakdown of communication on theirs.
But rather than wait until 2009 to sort my property situation out, I decided to keep looking for answers and solutions to my problem. Here’s what I discovered:
My developer has no idea what it’s doing. I found out that the head salesman has been lying about the fact that they’ve broken ground (he said they broke ground in August, but the ground breaking ceremony is in the first week of January 2009), and he denies ever saying that they will be offering financing through Badr Al Islami. He even asked me to “stop causing trouble.” I almost choked on my own saliva when I heard that.
I then visited the developer in person to get some more documents that I thought Rera may want when I visit them in January 2009, and managed to get into a heated discussion with two employees about the developer’s plans to help its investors. According to the two men I spoke to, the developer had no plans to revise the payment schedule, in spite of the credit crunch, the delays in construction and the lack of financing, unless if the directors decide otherwise.
I went quiet. I calmed myself down, and asked to speak to one of the directors.
They looked at me as though I had lost my mind. “Is there a problem?” I asked.
Apparently there was. According to them, I was a troublemaker who has asked for too much. The director is a busy man, and he doesn’t have time to deal with this sort of thing.
“Would he prefer to speak to my lawyer then?” I asked. It turns out the director is not that busy. I was taken to his office, and asked to sit down in front of his mahogany table.
“How can I help you?” he began. “I hear you have a problem.”
And so I explained the whole story. I started from the day I bought the property from Remax Associates (now Remax Wataniya), and how the head salesman has been lying to me for seven months about the financing and how far along the construction has come. I also told him that I can no longer pay for the installments, and that I was unprepared to lose the money.
“No, no, no,” he replied. “No one will lose their money.”
“Why, do you have a plan?” I asked.
It seems that they’re thinking of having a plan. According to the director, the bank has informed the developer that a final answer will come through at the beginning of the second week of January. If developer does not get an approval, then they will revise their payment plan to suit the investors. “We are very flexible,” he mumbled. “And we care about our investors. Take my word for it.”
I told him that his word is very nice, and thank you for offering it. But I want it in writing.
He said I’ll get in writing in January. I don’t know if I ever will.
I left the developer’s office knowing that the likelihood of a bank approving a project in January is slim.
I decided to take a step back and approach the people who sold the property to me. I wanted them to find the advertisement they put up on their website that claimed that the property comes with financing, and to email it to me. They told me that they removed the ad a while ago because they realized that the developer was unable to honor its commitment. I said that was precisely why I wanted to show the ad to Rera and to explain that I bought the property based on the conditions stated in the ad. They said they’d look for it.
To be fair, the man at Remax has been nothing but patient with me. He has even taken it upon himself to speak to the developer himself to see what the developer’s plan will be if the financing doesn’t come through. He didn’t get anywhere, but I appreciate the effort.
I’m not sure if I’m in a better position than I was a week ago. I have no choice but to wait for the bank’s answer, and to visit Rera when it’s ready to receive people like me
Click here to read Part I.
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