TJ Poursfar cannot easily ignore the first home that he and his family lived in when they moved to Emirates Hills - it is right next door to their present house, clearly visible. These two houses tell a story of how Emirates Hills has evolved over the past five years - and how one prescient investor has reaped the benefits. TJ is not, however, one of those investors who buys up a string of properties with the express intention of re-selling them.
"I always buy houses to live in rather than to trade," he says. "And we bought this plot so that we could build a real home for ourselves, just the way we wanted it." And yet, the family is about to move again, having just sold the house. "We didn't plan to sell," TJ laughs. "I just invited the agent over because I was curious what value would be put on it. A number was suggested and I said that if I ever I was going to sell I would ask a number that was slightly higher.
Within days the agent called back and said 'I have someone who wants to look - and they know the price you are asking.' The couple came, walked through the house, asked a few questions and said 'OK, we'll take it; the price is fine and we want to move in as soon as possible.'"
While the demand for houses in an increasingly well-established Emirates Hills has something to do with it, this very fast sale at the asking price is mostly due to the quality of the house itself. Four years in the making, its architecture and spaces are very well thought and tremendous care - not to mention great taste - has been exercised in the choice of materials and quality of finishing.
"The best thing about living right next door is that I could stay on top of the contractors and make sure everything got done properly," says TJ. "And the worst thing was that it was in front of my eyes 24/7. There was no escape." So where next for the family? "It has to be Emirates Hills," says TJ's wife, Dessy. "We love the seclusion, and the feeling of being in a settled neighbourhood and surrounded by like-minded people who also want to live peacefully and not be bothered by anything."
TJ had already found a house, months before that visit from the agent - and it's only two streets away. "I'm always looking at houses when I'm out walking. This one has an amazing view across a lake and right down one of the fairways - and it's just a shell, so we can make changes to get it the way we want it. We need to rent for a year, but it will be worth it." "That's TJ; he can't help himself," says Dessy. "He loves architecture and having a 'project'". "Yes, but this next house will be 'the one' - that's it," says TJ. "For sure - or at least until the next one," laughs Dessy.