Fairytales can teach us a lot of things: lying is bad, inner beauty matters most, and woodland creatures will always hum along with you if you start singing in the forest. However, an oft-forgotten, but equally important lesson we can learn from fairytales is particularly useful if you’re a prospective renter or buyer in Dubai: sometimes you cannot and should not expect less than a perfect fit. Much like Cinderella’s shoe or Goldilocks’ chair, as a prospective renter/buyer, you need to make sure your real estate agent is someone you trust entirely and that you can work well with. A real estate agent takes care of all the details of the renting process, from showing you the space to negotiating prices to providing you with the lease agreement. Dubai has no shortage of real estate agents, so finding the perfect one might seem scary, but we’re here to help guide you with 3 easy tips on how to find the best, most reliable broker for you.

Put your stalking skills to work

You’ll need to start your search for a real estate agent by doing some research. We know, we know, you’re already a master at looking people up: it’s how you found out your colleague has a collection of creepy stuffed animals. This’ll be a little different though—instead of Facebook or Instagram, you might want to begin by using a property listing website, since they usually compile listings from different agents. When you find an agent you think you like, look through the website of the agency they work with, and check for reviews and coverage about them in the media and by other renters. Review sites like Trust Pilot or Feefo can help with this. Most importantly, verify that the agent has the proper license and credentials. Double-check that they are RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) certified by asking for a copy of their RERA ID, or logging onto dubailand.gov.ae to check the list of government-approved brokers. Once you’re sure they’re RERA-approved, consider what is most important to your needs. Are you set on a certain location for your future home? Do you have work commitments that will require flexible showing times? Check if the agent you have settled on fits those needs. Once you’re done with all that, set up a meeting to confirm the strength of your stalking skills: just like that show Catfished, you won’t really know if it’s the perfect fit until you see them in person!

There’s no such thing as too many questions

Your first meeting with your agent should remind you of a first date: you should be asking them a ton of questions. They need to be ready to maximize your profits, and they’ll be representing your interests and profile to the landlord, so you need to feel totally comfortable working with them. Before you see them, compile a list of questions so you can get a sense of their professional history, expertise, and procedure. Your frequently-used date questions (“how long was your last relationship?” and “do you want kids?”) might not be the most appropriate in this situation. It is essentially a job interview, after all! Instead, consider asking questions like, “what areas in Dubai do you cover?”, “what are some factors you consider when you value a property?”, “how quickly do you typically rent/sell the homes you list”, and “do you offer weekend and/or after hour showings?”. These should help give you a sense of whether or not your working relationship will be lucrative and productive for both parties. Remember when asking questions that your agent should be engaging, knowledgeable, honest, and experienced. Consider the interview practice for your future talk show…by the time you’ve chosen an agent, Oprah will have nothing on you.

Evaluate their work in practice

Now that you’re convinced in your agent’s credentials and experience, and comfortable with their personality, you’ll need to assess their work in practice. Like a picky eater, you’ll never know if you really like them until you try. There are two key aspects of your agent’s responsibilities you should look out for: their responsiveness, and their negotiation skills. First, it’s critical that your real estate agent is responsive, and has a fast turn-around time. Not only will this get your search done quicker, but it’ll also demonstrate their commitment and dedication. Secondly, your agent should be trusted to look out for your interests through the sale/rental process: this means they must demonstrate strong negotiation skills. If they shoot your haggling down immediately, that’s probably a sign that they’re not prioritizing your comfort, convenience, and needs. You deserve someone who’s willing to try and get you the best price possible, so make sure they’re doing that! We all know we shouldn’t rush into relationships: this applies to a real estate agent just as much as a romantic partner. Don’t settle on the first realtor you meet, but assess their performance in action, compare it with others’, and then decide accordingly. Keep in mind what Phil Collins said first—you can’t hurry love.

Feeling more comfortable about searching for an agent? We’re glad. Did you know you could save yourself that trouble by finding your next home with Urban? With us, you can discover inspected homes and visit them on your own time. Explore Urban homes and put the renting process in your own hands, where it belongs.