Some dreams aren’t stolen but given away

<p/People can be so stupid sometimes. I was tuning into one of the hun-dreds of property programmes on the telly recently when I came across some people claiming to have been ripped off by evil property developers.

At first I thought these mainly elderly people who were claiming their dreams had been stolen from them had a point – until they revealed that they had been willing to hand their life savings over to perfect strangers.

The programme focussed on people wanting to buy a place in the sun. With the likes of Marbella and the Costa del Sol being swamped, these people were looking a bit further afield in search of a destination where they’d get more bricks and mortar for their money.

Where better than Dubai? As many of you will know, Dubai is now one of the top destinations for Brits looking for a long weekend in the sun.

And as Dubai has become better known and more accessible – although the likes of Easyjet and Ryan-air have not yet managed to make it into a stag party destination – more people are viewing it as the ideal place to buy a holiday home or retirement pad.

With Arabic music playing in the background, the programme treated us to shots of glamorous apartments soaring into the sky and massive villas with their own private pools, endless shopping malls and golden beaches.

But then it all started to go a bit sour, focussing on people who felt what they were getting for their investment was not living up to their expectations. But you couldn’t help thinking that people should do a bit more research.

One couple who had never set foot in Dubai put down a deposit of 80,000 on an off-plan property set to be worth little more than that. Work on the development ground to a standstill and it looks like they’ve got little chance of getting their money back. The husband told us how his dreams had been stolen, but you would have thought that by his age he might have learned that dreams rarely come true.

The programme concluded that while Dubai could be a worthwhile investment, it’s not without risk. What a surprising finding that was.

It seems people think they can buy what they want without worrying in places where the sun shines. How many of us would go out and spend all our savings on a house or flat in this country without having stepped inside the door – if it’s not off-plan – or without at least having visited the area to see what it’s like?

I’m writing this article as I’m planning my next big move – well around 45 miles from Glasgow to Edinburgh – for my new job.

This might not seem far to you but anyone who knows Scotland will be aware that the psychological distance between the two cities is enormous. For example, I will have to give up vinegar and get used to salt and sauce with my chips, people saying “Ya ken?” a lot and being in a town full of English people.

But it’s a safer bet than Dubai without a visit. And anyway, I’ve never been good in the sun.