FACT chats exclusively to the cast at the premiere of the show.
As STARZPLAY and Image Nation Abu Dhabi launch the new reality TV show, Million Dollar Listing UAE, we talked directly to the stars. The Emmy-nominated franchise started in the United States in 2006. Now, it is releasing the first international version, and it is already the talk of the town.
Canadian Ben Bandari joined the stellar cast and is the most experienced in the group. “I’m a veteran in the market. I started working in real estate when there were not many properties in the city,” he declares. He has been in the business for more than 21 years, and is the CEO and founder of Ben & Core Real Estate.
Why did you come to the UAE?
I came to Dubai by chance through a family friend. Nothing was happening for me in Vancouver, Canada, which is where I was from. So, I wanted to get away, start a new life and a new opportunity. I never looked back, and it’s the best thing that happened to me. I’ve been here since 2002. It has been a long and great journey, and I love what I do.
What was the most expensive place you’ve sold?
I had one transaction that was above AED 500 million. So, I sold 15 floors in the D1 tower in Culture Village, and adjacent to it is Palazzo Versace Dubai. I sold 32 units there to one person. I resold those units for them, too.
What trends are you seeing in the property market?
Everybody is coming to Dubai. Since the first day I moved here, I would tell people I lived in Dubai and they would say “where?” Now, people are becoming more familiar with the city. The entire world, especially post-COVID, saw how the leadership handled it – this is the place to be.
What top tips do you have for buyers?
Find a good real estate broker. Someone who is empathetic and takes good care of you.
What was the best part of filming?
Everything. Obviously, there are highs and lows. The experience itself is one of the best things that happened to me.
What did you learn about yourself while filming?
I learnt so much about myself, especially after seeing myself on camera. I looked at everything from a different perspective.
What’s the most millionaire thing you’ve done?
Every day, you see millionaire things in Dubai. When you go back to Canada or the United States, you go back to the real world. Here, every second car is a Lamborghini. The skyscrapers, hotels and service is beautiful – Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the backyards for millionaires and billionaires.
Why should people watch the show?
Millionaire Dollar Listing in Los Angeles and New York are obviously very popular and successful globally. I believe that Millionaire Dollar Listing UAE is going to give them a run for their money. I think it’s on par with LA, if not better.
GO: Visit https://starzplay.com for more information.