Meet the Dubai-based realtor selling flats on Instagram

The man who calls himself “Mr Palm Jumeirah” says he makes around AED 150,000 AED a year though sales on Instagram.

Meryl D'Souza April 27, 2017

Although Yasin Vailmulla only came to Dubai in 2009, he claims that the move was never in doubt. He had the urge to move ever since he first visited in 2006 but needed a little nudge in the right direction.

That nudge came in the form of the 2008 recession. Vailmulla’s UK-based company went under due of the market’s turbulent conditions. At the time, it was a friend – who happened to be a mortgage advisor in Dubai – who convinced the British expat to take the plunge.

“I literally arrived in Dubai with £2000 to work in a commission only job,” he tells EDGAR. “It was very challenging but it worked out for me. It wasn't easy I can tell you that.” 

It's easy to see how Dubai was the right choice. Even when times were hard, the emirate aimed higher and continued to build. A real-estate agent would seem to be the right glove to the proverbial city hand. However, that is not the case according to Vailmulla.

“In the last 7 and a half years, I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. More fail than pull through, especially in real estate,” he says. Why do so many fail when the city is seemingly booming with projects? “Too many people give up too easily.” 

So where does a social media channel like Facebook-owned Instagram come in?

Well, being a social media celebrity at this point in time means you don’t need to harass people with sales pitches. Why say something when you can show them from the ease of their phones. Vailmulla shrewdly saw the trend and used it to his advantage. 

“I designed my own website a number of years ago and then linked it with my social media channels - Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. I am most active on Instagram and Linkedin,” he says. “I use social media to tell a story and bring people along on the journey. It's a model that all the top US brokers are using.”

Vailmulla makes a conscious effort to put up between two or three Instagram posts a week. He spends about 30-45 minutes on each post – that includes the picture, editing and the caption. He doesn’t need a social media influencer or a photographer to set up a shot. Instead, he just points and snaps with his trusty Samsung Galaxy S7.

When he isn’t uploading pictures and videos of plush Palm Jumeirah villas on Instagram, the 36-year-old caters to his 3,500-strong Facebook group called The Palm Jumeirah Newsletter. Vailmulla uses this place to be a lot more direct than he is on Instagram with regular updates on residential properties on the Palm.

In terms of property value, Vailmulla has sold about AED 450 million over the years. “I take a standard 2 per cent commission for each sale,” he says. “Villa deals are where I make the most money. However, a majority of deals are split between a few parties. There are always mouths to feed.” 

For anyone taking note of the dizzying numbers being thrown around, here’s one more to inspire you: Vailmulla claims he makes around AED 150,000 per year through Instagram alone. All that after spending just one hour per day on the app. We bet you wish you had joined the real estate game too, right?