Gravity is a highly successful company in the Abu Dhabi real estate industry. Can you tell me a bit more about yourself and the company, when you arrived in Abu Dhabi and how you started the business?
I was born in Abu Dhabi and have spent 10 years in real estate – although I started off more on the computer/IT side of things. The company is five years old and concentrates on the Abu Dhabi market only at the moment, with the hope to work with Dubai properties soon. We deal with re-sales and rentals with the major developers such as Aldar, Surouh and Manazel Agency on a secondary market.
How long have you been in the market?
Five with Gravity, but ten years overall.
Why did you choose Abu Dhabi for real estate?
I started the business in Abu Dhabi because I already live here. I began my career in IT, but found myself in real estate when I personally started investing and ended up paying a lot to agencies – so figured I should do this for myself. I suffered a lot of unprofessionalism with the agencies, so thought I could add some good values and new ideas to the industry.
What one deal will you always remember?
My very first deal, which was not the biggest but was special as I felt it was my first success in the industry. I always thought it would be easy but it was so hard.
Where do you live and what do you like about the area?
I live in Downtown Abu Dhabi which is very close to my office. Abu Dhabi is very cosy and has a sense of family environment to it. Dubai is much more modern and multinational and I don’t feel the sense of community there.
What type of services do you propose on top of the typical real estate services e.g. relocation services, interior design etc?
We have plans to have a maintenance department within our company which we feel will help both ourselves and make it easier for the landlords to have someone to turn to. This will also incorporate landscaping and appraisals.
2008 saw a massive downturn in the real estate market, but you made it! How did you make it through the financial turmoil?
One reason – loyal clients. It never stopped, things went bad but transactions didn’t stop and it’s all down to the loyalty of our clients.
What key areas have you seen significant changes in since you began working in real estate in Abu Dhabi?
Al Reem Island, Raha Beach and Al Reef Project have all changed a lot.
Where in Abu Dhabi do you think prices are going to rise?
Al Reef – as it is the only reasonably priced project where multinationals can own villas. There is high demand for this area because it is right behind the airport, there are many projects around it and there are extensive plans to expand the airport and surrounding area. The full project is not yet complete, once there are shops then it will really encourage the area to grow even further.
Where in Abu Dhabi do you think prices are going to decrease?
Raha beach will slightly decrease due to supply and demand. There are around 3800 units planned for 2013 which I do not see happening. There are hundreds of other developers who have properties available currently.
Which community do you think will provide the best value for money for investors this year?
Al Reef Project.
What are the most important factors to your clients when selling a property?
- Specific property characteristics such as facilities and finishings
What is your favourite restaurant in Abu Dhabi?
Fuddruckers as it is cosy and has great food.
Where do you spend your weekends?
In Dubai enjoying family time.
Where do you first take your guests when they visit Abu Dhabi?
I always take them to The Grand Mosque and also to Dubai, as it feels as though we are leaving the country, and there are many things to do there.
What is your favourite project in Abu Dhabi?
Al Reef and Al Raha Beach
If money were no object, where would you live in Abu Dhabi?
Nurai. They are a group of islands in Abu Dhabi with exclusive villas. It is so beautiful there and I would love for my home to be surrounded by water.
Which of the unfinished or proposed projects would you most like to see completed in Abu Dhabi?
Al Saadiyat Island where I also feel prices will drop once completed.
When you leave Abu Dhabi, where will you go?
Back home in Jordan – Amman.
Who is your business icon?
Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal.
If you could do anything to improve the real estate market in Abu Dhabi, what would it be?
Automate the whole process, maximise security and involve a third governmental regulatory authority to protect both clients and agencies.
What achievement are you most proud of in your life?
I have designed and implemented the automated process in marketing our listed properties and clients transactions within our company.
What is the most relevant piece of advice that you have picked up along the way?
Be honest and transparent with clients, you will do more business.
What are your projections for the year ahead?
I can see better changes in Abu Dhabi and UAE overall in the coming year thanks to the UAE’s wise rulers and executives. Things are definitely moving in the right direction – banks and mortgagers are offering reasonable rates and facilities which will reflect positively on the real estate industry for sure.