Moving houses can be a stressful, exhausting affair. But half of the effort is in finding the right place. There are so many options available in the UAE, so how do you choose a flat or house?

This is our guide to the questions you should ask as a tenant. We go over everything from location to lay-out to help you pick the best accommodation for your needs.

How practical and convenient is the location?

This is an obvious question that people ask when choosing a home. But, in addition to amenities, proximity to where you work and your kids’ school, ask yourself if the neighbourhood is easily accessible. Several prime locations in Dubai have become challenging to access due to construction and traffic, which could make them less attractive to many. When viewing an apartment, ask the building management about the access points, any road works and traffic congestion.
Another important point to note is that areas with construction could be noisy, so make sure you know if there is such activity in the neighbourhood or you could spend many sleepless nights after moving in.

Room with a view?

In an apartment building, there is a reason why units on higher floors are considered more expensive to rent. It is because you pay more for a better view right? Well, partly yes.

Apartments on higher floors tend to also get more sunlight especially if there aren’t any other structures in the way. So even if you are indifferent about sea view versus road view, make sure that the property you are considering gets enough natural light. And ensure the air conditioning is sufficient to cool your home in the hot summer months. The same principal applies to houses and villas.

Are you having a hard time paying for your new apartment? Click here to compare between the home loans in the UAE.

Size and lay-out: what do they mean for you?

When viewing a property, it is very important to study the size and lay-out very carefully. For example, is there a huge balcony, terrace or garden taking up a sizeable portion of the built-up space? Are there several curves or odd corners around the apartment or house? If so, distributing your sofa sets, dining table and other upholstery may be challenging. You need to be able to visualise how your furniture would fit into the place. Consider carrying a measuring tape with you when viewing potential homes to measure the dimensions. You can also take pictures of the property and review them to remind yourself of the lay-out type.

[Related: Rent disputes in Dubai: How to file a case]

Finishing and fittings: is quality falling through the cracks?

Finishing and fittings quality is a very important factor to consider when viewing a new property. Because an apartment or house with poor finishing could cost you a lot of money in maintenance fees later on. Check for cracks on walls or ceilings, bathroom and kitchen sinks as well as wall closets. Broken hinges, pipes and locks in various parts of the apartments could raise flags about quality of the finishing. Also, if there are appliances in the house, make sure they are not damaged or broken.

In case of an accidental damage, compare the different home insurance policies and choose the best for you to cover your contents and personal belongings.

You should also inspect the state of the common areas in the building or community. This should give you good clues about the quality of the development. If the building or community management are concerned about the maintenance and upkeep of the property, it should reflect in the pool, gym, reception and other communal areas. Check for worn out equipment in the gym, any broken tiles or furniture in the pool area and reception. Sanitation is also paramount. If you spot pests in the common areas coupled with foul odours, it could be a sign that the entire community is not properly cleaned.

Finally, trust your gut instinct. If you do not feel comfortable in a particular house or apartment, do not be reluctant to consider other options, even if they may be a bit pricier. Note down your top must-haves in a new home and make sure to narrow your search based on them.