Buyers and sellers of property in Dubai should have complete knowledge about the rules regarding land transactions, including issues related to ownership transfer. As a potential buyer or seller, you can assess the market by reviewing the land transactions on a weekly or monthly basis and checking that the broker, agent or developer is accredited and licensed with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), part of Dubai Land Department, which is the sole government entity responsible for registration, organization and promotion of real-estate investment in Dubai.
Expatriates can purchase freehold property in Dubai either off-plan or on the secondary market. You can search the government listed eMart to look for property listings to buy or sell. Most real estate companies also have websites while the daily newspapers also list property to buy and sell.
Most off-plan property requires you to pay an upfront deposit of 10-15% and the balance in instalments. While off-plan is cheaper because the property may be partially built or not yet built, due diligence must be done including ensuring that the developer is RERA registered with a trust account (escrow) for the designated property.
Your second option is to buy ready property on the secondary market. You need to check if the owner has any outstanding mortgages, lives in the country or abroad, has clear title deeds, whether there is an existing tenant, who the broker/agent is and what commissions have to be paid beyond the sale price. Just like anywhere else in the world, you must consult property and legal experts, ask lots of questions and do through due diligence. Also note that as per By-Law No. (85) of 2006, commissions & fees to brokers/real estate is only to be paid after the contract/MoU is signed. Brokers must be licensed by Land Department, adhere to a code of ethics to be recognized as a good agent and carry a Broker's ID card. Most brokers charge between 1 or 2% of property value as their fee, so find out in advance, be prepared to negotiate and if not satisfied, deal with another registered broker. A good real estate agency will normally include the broker fee in the advertised sale price.
Once you have agreed to purchase ready property at a particular price, a contract/MoU is drawn up which outlines all costs and responsibilities for buyer and seller, including deposit to be paid (usually 10% of the property value by cheque in the name of the seller but held by the broker).
Fill up RERA approved online form between seller & buyer (Contract F)Download RERA approved contract template between seller & broker (Contract F) only for demo purposes. Download RERA approved contract template between seller & broker (Contract A) PDF size 1.63 MBDownload RERA approved contract template between buyer & broker (Contract B) PDF size 1.12 MB
If the buyer does not have ready cash, the buyer asks his/her bank for a valuation of the property to get financing. The seller applies for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the developer - usually takes about a week, assuming there are no outstanding mortgages or pending maintenance fees. The NOC is only valid for 2 weeks and rates vary from developer to developer ranging from AED 1,000 to 5,000.
All these documents along with buyer, seller (or their notarized Power of Attorney), their real estate agents (and bank representative where financing is from bank) must be presented to Land Department (online appointment is necessary) to pay balance amount, agreed commission to the real estate, complete the transfer, and create a title deed for the new owner, as well as receive keys and access cards. The buyer pays 4% of the property value to Land Department for secondary property, or 2% if property was bought direct from the developer. In addition, buyers also pay an administrative fee of AED 4,000 to Land Department. Once transfer is complete, the new buyer will need to reconnect utilities which requires deposit payments ranging from AED 1,000 to 5,000.
From December 2013, the UAE Central Bank imposed new regulations regarding property loans for UAE nationals and expatriates. These regulations aim to reduce the level of borrowed money in property investments to reduce speculation and uncontrolled lending.
As per the Central Bank regulations, the following rules apply for UAE Nationals wishing to purchase property in Dubai and UAE and requiring funding from banks:
1. First time buyers must fund at least 20% of property value for property that does not exceed AED 5 million. This means that banks/lending agencies can only lend the remaining 80% of the value of the property. If property value exceeds AED 5 million, then the UAE national must fund at least 30% of the property value from his/her own funds. So banks/lending agencies can only lend the remaining 70% of the property value.
2. For second and subsequent properties, irrespective of cost; UAE nationals must fund at least 35% of the total value and can only expect 65% funding from the bank/lending agency.
3. The maximum financing/loan amount allowed for UAE Nationals is eight times the borrower's annual income.
As per the Central Bank regulations, the following rules apply for expatriates wishing to purchase property in Dubai and UAE and requiring funding from banks:
1. First time expatriate buyers must fund at least 25% of property value for property that does not exceed AED 5 million. This means that banks/lending agencies can only lend the remaining 75% of the value of the property. If property value exceeds AED 5 million, then the expatriate must fund at least 35% of the property value from his/her own funds. So banks/lending agencies can only lend the remaining 65% of the property value.
2. For second and subsequent properties, irrespective of cost; expatriates must fund at least 40% of the total value and can only expect 60% funding from the bank/lending agency.
3. The maximum financing/loan amount allowed for expatriates is seven times the borrower's annual income.
Also common to both UAE Nationals and expatriates, the debt burden ratio (monthly instalment of all debts put together) should not exceed 50% of the borrower's monthly income. Loans are repayable over a maximum 25 years with expatriates being no older than 65 at time of the last repayment and UAE Nationals not older than 70.
Fill up RERA approved online form between seller & buyer (Contract F) - RERA/Land Department/eMartDownload RERA approved contract template between seller & broker (Contract F) only for demo purposes. RERA/Land Department/eMartDownload RERA approved contract template between seller & broker (Contract A) RERA/Land Department/eMart. PDF size 1.63 MBDownload RERA approved contract template between buyer & broker (Contract B) RERA/Land Department/eMart. PDF size 1.12 MBGuide to buying property in Dubai - RERA/Land DepartmentBy-Law No. (85) of 2006 regulating brokers in Dubai - Land DepartmentApproved list of brokers in Dubai - Land DepartmentLaw No. (27) of 2007 regarding jointly owned property in Dubai - Land DepartmentLaw No. (8) of 2007 regarding trust accounts in Dubai - Land DepartmenteMart for listed apartments and villas for sale, rent or off-plan - eMartMake online appointment with Dubai Land Department - Dubai Land DepartmentUAE Central Bank issues mortgage rules - Gulf NewsUAE Central Bank confirms mortgage cap rules - The NationalUAE Central Bank issues mortgage cap regulations - Khaleej TimesProject registration services - Land DepartmentRequest for registering a mortgage - Land DepartmentAuction fees - Land DepartmentList of approved brokers - Land DepartmentProperty projects in Dubai - Property FinderReal time property price index - Arabian Business & Better HomesCompare your mortgage rates with others in your area - Pecunia.me & The NationalProperty registration FAQS- EmaarDubai Real Estate terms explained - Propertyfinder.aeInvesting in UAE property:mistakes to avoid- Propertyfinder.aeDubai tightens up unified realty contracts - Gulf News