Not just brick and mortar - Emirates24|7

Not just brick and mortar

The real estate market in Dubai is a highly successful and competitive industry that is a major contributer to the growing economy.

However, it is not all bricks and mortar as some people would think.

Managing the expectations of the customers is a driving force on the development of any project.

Today's customer is truly an educated individual, whether they are looking for a residential unit, an office space, a retail location or leisure related unit. They have equipped themselves with all the necessary information required prior to making the final decision. This is quite an achievement for many, considering that not all our customers are real estate specialists. Whether it is the location, the price, the legal jurisdiction or simply a size and design issue, today's customer needs little instruction from the developer with regards to a suitable product and developers have to pay closer attention to the customers' needs. A simple statement some may say, but it can lead to the success or failure of any project if not taken very seriously.

So what are the expectations of the customer and how can developers translate this into a successful project? I believe that entirely depends on what sector of the market the developer is aiming for. The first consideration and probably one of the most important is to know the target audience or what purpose the development is aimed for. Whether it needs to be a luxury residential location, a smart office building or a retail and entertainment extravaganza, you must identify your target and know your customer.

Once you have this focus in place then the design process should be a smooth transition for your ideal concept and getting your architects to understand that vision would be your challenge.

At the end of the day, success should be the priority of any project otherwise it is not worth doing in the first place.

Getting the right mix of concept, design and feasibility may take time and effort, but if it is done well then the reward is a successful, fully occupied development, which is a main objective of any property developer.

Choosing to live, work and play in Dubai is not only a business decision for our customers, it's a lifestyle choice that must be taken into consideration with any conceptual design. Take residential developments for instance, will the design be for a family? If so, based on the cultural diversity in Dubai, different families will have different needs and to the best of your ability you must consider what it is they want.

The same applies for the business district. Location plays a great part of the decision many companies make on where they wish to be, after all, an "address" has always been a driving force in any real estate decision. The property does not necessarily have to be the "biggest", "latest" or even the "most prestigious".

However, it does have to have the right facilities, be in a suitable location and offer easy access to main roads, and of course value for money.

Our very educated customer will always look at value for money.

Leading back to my original statement, the developer has an obligation to the customer to offer the right product for the right price, at the same time offering our very educated market the standards that they have come to expect from the real estate market in Dubai. It is a challenging position for the customer and developer.

- The author is the Chief Property Officer of Union Properties