My Dubai Salary: ‘I earned Dh600,000 as a real estate broker in 12 months’ – The National

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Blake Runciman works as a commercial real estate broker with Dubai property agency Allsopp & Allsopp.

Buy/sell, rent/lease residential &
commercials real estate properties.

He deals in sales and rentals of offices, warehouses, buildings and land plots.

The 24-year-old Briton, who is originally from Birmingham in the UK, lives in Jumeirah Village Circle in Dubai.

He moved to the UAE alone last year and does not have any financial dependents.

Mr Runciman’s parents divorced when he was young and he has six siblings.

He did his BTech in business from Birmingham Metropolitan College.

When did you join the real estate company? How did you get the job?

I joined Allsopp & Allsopp in October 2022. I attended a recruitment event organised by the agency in Birmingham. They hold these events all around the UK.

After the event, the recruiters reached out to me and held one more interview discussing more about the job, what it includes and the training. They fully onboard successful candidates and arrange for accommodation, a car and other stuff, including the visa, in Dubai.

What are the qualifications or skill sets required to become a real estate agent?

You need to have a lot of drive and be hard working. You need to be the most hard-working person in the room. But you don’t need to be academically smart.

It’s good if you’re a people person, confident and want to do something with your life.

Once you reach Dubai, you have to be trained by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency, which my agency arranged for me.

I did a week of training with Rera and then took an exam.

What was your first job and salary?

I’ve always been in the sales industry. In my first job when I moved away from home to Norwich, I sold photocopiers to businesses.

I earned £18,000 ($22,750), which translates to about Dh83,500 a year.

Then I moved back to Birmingham to do the same sort of thing but with a higher basic salary and commission.

What is your salary now? Is this variable income or a steady income?

In this industry, we effectively work on a commission-only basis. I earned about Dh600,000 ($163,376) last year.

Steady is not the word to use, it’s variable income. You earn depending on how hard you work.

If you are a hard-working individual, go out and clinch deals, then you can earn 10 times that amount. But not everyone’s in the same boat.

When I first started, we were a group of about 30 people and there’s only a handful left now. It shows you what type of person and perseverance is needed to last in this industry.

How was it to work in a market where you had no previous experience?

In the UAE, there is a huge undersupply of commercial properties in comparison with residential. That helped me.

Also, it takes perseverance and to be very committed to the job to be able to achieve the kind of numbers that I did in the past year.

How did you cope financially when you first moved to Dubai?

During the recruitment event, the recruiters tell you that you need at least £10,000 to £15,000 (Dh45,000 to Dh70,000) before moving to the UAE, so you have a financial cushion.

Everyone’s got their own journey out here. You could come out here and do a deal in the first week of your job or clinch a deal after day 60.

So, they just make sure you’ve got enough to last for some time. This allows you to come here and concentrate on work without stressing too much over finances.

Do you manage to save?

I’ve probably saved 50 per cent of what I’ve earned this year.

I do try to budget but since my income is commission-only, it’s variable, so some months may be bigger than others.

And in this job, it’s not plain sailing. You might sometimes hit a bit of a dry patch.

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But, with the real estate market being what it is currently in the UAE, there’s a lot going on.

I keep my savings as a reserve to keep me going, especially for a rainy day.

What asset classes do you invest in?

In terms of investments, I haven’t made any yet since I’ve only been here for a year.

I haven’t really had that much disposable income to put into investments, such as property, but that’s what I aim to do.

I plan to get into the industry over the next 12 to 24 months and build a real estate investment portfolio for myself.

Have you bought property here or in your home country?

Unfortunately, not yet. I used to live with my mom and dad in the UK.

Later down the line, if all goes well, I’d like to own properties in many different countries.

Do you have any debt?

I have a car loan, whose monthly instalments are deducted from my bank account. I drive a Volkswagen Tiguan R-line.

Have you ever inherited money?

Nothing as yet.

Growing up, were you taught how to handle your finances?

Not directly, but my father had a successful printers and photocopiers business and when we were growing up, he always told us not to spend more than our means and avoid getting into credit-card debt.

He’s always drilled into us the importance of budgeting, saving and investing.

How do you budget your salary every month?

I wouldn’t say I manage to budget, but I just aim not to spend more than 50 per cent to 60 per cent of my salary.

I currently spend up to 40 per cent of what I earn and that’s mainly on my house rent, car loan, phone bill, petrol and on disposable income, which includes going out and doing other things I like to do.

What do you spend your disposable income on?

Going out to nice restaurants and socialising. I’m an avid golfer as well and play the sport a lot.

Have you started saving for retirement?

If I could retire now, I probably would. In the UK, they take a certain amount every month towards your pension.

In the next 15 to 20 years, I hope to be able to save enough to retire or invest in properties that would give me passive income.

It really takes perseverance and to be very committed to the job to be able to achieve the kind of numbers that I did in the past year

Blake Runciman, commercial real estate broker, Allsopp & Allsopp

Do you have an emergency fund?

My emergency fund is basically my savings.

Have you ever faced any financial hardship?

When I moved to Norwich with my first sales job, I was on a very low wage.

I had to pay for rent and a car and wasn’t earning much commission in the role. So, I was always really budgeting tight just to get by every month.

Similarly, when I came here, although I had enough to last me for some time, I did not have the best start.

The company gives you the tools to do what you need to do, but then it’s down to you as an individual.

I just had a lot of bad luck, to be fair, so I was sort of getting a bit on edge. Everyone has their own time to shine.

That was my only real financial hardship.

What are your financial goals?

I don’t really have any goals. I just want to earn as much as I possibly can.

I’m still young. I don’t have any family, wife or kids. So, I’m just trying to concentrate on building my own self worth before anything else.

I’m just trying to do the best I can.

Do you worry about money?

In the position I am in now, I don’t need to worry about money because I’ve worked hard this year and excelled at work.

I’m on course to hit my yearly target in my first year. Because of that and since I have only myself to look after, I don’t have any money worries now.

What is your idea of financial freedom?

My idea of financial freedom is to able to do what I want, when I want.

I just want to look after my family, I’d like to retire my mom, if possible. She works in accounts for a lights manufacturing company.

I’d also like to have more passive income.

Do you want to be featured in My Salary, a weekly column that explores how people around the world manage their earnings? Write to [email protected] to share your story

Updated: December 26, 2023, 8:11 AM

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