Buying a home is supposed to be an easy and blissful process, but if you rush into it without proper research, it can turn into quite a hassle. Invest time and effort in researching everything, exploring your options, speaking to professionals, and hearing from trusted sources before making a decision. Armed with this knowledge, you can make an informed choice and enjoy the buying process.

The speed and ease of the experience depend on many factors, including the type of property, whether it is paid in cash or mortgaged, whether it is off-plan or ready, whether you’re a UAE national or a foreigner, and many more. Read on for insight into the home-buying process in Dubai because understanding what to expect will enable you to advance confidently with your purchase.

Dubai real estate market

Dubai is one of the most modern, progressive, and accommodating cities - making it ideal for both living in and making investments. In addition to UAE and GCC nationals, in 2002 the Dubai Government passed laws allowing foreigners to own freehold properties in Dubai, drastically changing the face of Dubai's real estate market and ushering in a new era of property investment and ownership.

Because Dubai has become more foreigner-friendly, the laws and changes it introduces tend to favor foreign nationals and attract foreign investment. As far as living and investing in Dubai is concerned, it will be even more beneficial for foreigners in the future. The population of Dubai is almost 90% foreigners and expats at present, and foreign investors dominate the real estate market, with 75% of all buyers coming from abroad.

There are many advantages to buying a home in Dubai in addition to the booming real estate market (market sales volume increased by 61.69 percent in Q3 2022 compared to Q3 2021):
  • the economy and population are constantly growing
  • low acquisition cost
  • high ROI, the value of property constantly increases, and high demand for property
  • many options (villas, apartments, penthouses, townhouses in different neighborhoods)
  • the tax system is investment friendly (e.g. no property tax and no tax on rental income)
  • high-level of safety and security
  • obtaining a residency by investment - Dubai Golden Visa.

First steps

As part of your journey to owning a home in Dubai, you must first consider the purpose, location, property type, price range, and financing options. 

When it comes to purpose, you should decide whether you’re buying a property for investment purposes or personal use (primary home, second home). Location is another very important aspect in the decision-making process, and the location you choose for your future home should suit your needs; for example, proximity to your workplace, a landmark, school, hospital, restaurants, malls, amenities, or the type of environment and community (nature-friendly, family-friendly, business hub), transportation, and infrastructure. 

Traditionally, some of the most popular locations in Dubai are:
  • Arabian Ranches
  • Business Bay
  • City Walk Dubai
  • DAMAC Hills
  • Downtown Dubai
  • Dubai Marina / JBR
  • Dubai Sports City
  • Emirates Hills
  • Jumeirah Islands
  • Jumeirah Lakes Towers
  • Jumeirah Park
  • Jumeirah Village Circle
  • Motor City
  • Palm Jumeirah
New emerging areas include:
  • Al Barari
  • Damac Hills 2
  • Dubai Creek Harbour
  • Dubai Hills Estate
  • Dubai Maritime City
  • Dubai South
  • Jaddaf
  • Mohammed Bin Rashid City
Note. Foreigners can only buy property in areas designated as freehold.

The type of property you choose should be based on your needs and preferences. The most common property types are apartments (usually ranging from studios to 3-bedroom units), villas, townhouses, and penthouses either in a building or in a closed, gated community

You can either buy a ready property, which means it’s 100% completed, or you can buy an off-plan property, which means that it is being planned or under construction (directly from developers or from another party). 

Be smart with your finances, never invest all your money (especially considering there are always some additional and unplanned costs), so carefully plan and determine the best price range for you (from AED 160,000 to AED 2.1 million). And the last thing to decide is whether you wish to buy the home in cash or through a mortgage

The initial steps should be backed up by thorough research, such as finding out the current price trends, the best financing options and the most reliable real estate developers in the Dubai real estate market.  

Finding a property

When you’ve thought through the basics, you’ll want to know how and where to look for your perfect home. You can do this by visiting a good listing site and browsing the offering while filtering for your desired location, type, price, amenities, or other features. 
A man looking at a laptop screen and browsing through a property search page.
Contact an agent for more information when a specific property catches your attention, and then go to view it (if already built), or research the project, developers, plans and licenses (for off-plan). It’s not a good idea to choose a property without properly thinking it over or inspecting it carefully. 

Financing and payment methods

When it comes to financing options, you can buy a property with cash or with a loan. Developers are increasingly accepting cryptocurrency as payment as well. 

Almost 25% of all real estate transactions in 2021 were mortgage transactions, so if you’re interested in buying your home with a loan, here’s what we can do for you:
  • we find the best mortgage offer for you (sign up to get a personalized bank offer within 24 hours)
  • use our mortgage calculator to calculate your total loan amount and monthly payments based on the property’s price
  • our experts help you with everything you need and prepare you for the buying process (contact via WhatsApp)
No matter where you come from, we have a solution for you: 

The process

The property buying process is straightforward (purchasing from a developer directly or from another homeowner). Once you select your property, you can follow these steps:
  1. Get pre-approval (from a bank or through Kredium)*
  2. Formulate and sign a contract with the seller (developer) and pay the initial deposit amount
  3. Get an NOC, No Objection Certificate from the developer (certifying that transfer of ownership is possible and that there are no outstanding payments due)
  4. Pay the amount as per the payment plan (schedule) or the full amount (directly or through the mortgage arranged by the bank)
  5. Register the sales contract and mortgage with the DLD - Dubai Land Department (for more information on DLD and its role in the buying process, click here)
  6. Wait for the mortgage approval and financing*
  7. Get the title deed or Oqood for off-plan properties (the title deed is held by the bank and transferred to the buyer only when the mortgage is paid off*; Oqood is converted to a title deed when the project is completed)
  8. Get the keys, move in or rent it out
*only for mortgage transactions
A buyer receiving house keys from an agent after a home purchase.

Costs and fees

In addition to the down payment (20%) and purchasing price of the property (paid according to specific payment plans - post handover or payment in installments until handover 10/90, 20/80, 40/60, 50/50, 60/40, 70/30, 25/75), the table below outlines all the costs and fees you’ll need to cover to finalize the home purchase from start to finish. 
Category Fee
Dubai Land Department transfer fees 4% of property value + AED 540 administrative fees
Registration fees for properties up to AED 500,000 in value AED 2,000
Registration fees for properties above AED 500,000 in value AED 4,000
Mortgage registration 0.25% of loan amount + AED 10 fee
Mortgage processing Up to 1% of loan amount
Real Estate agency fee Around 2% of property value
Valuation fees AED 2,500 to AED 3,500
Oqood Contract Fee (if purchasing from a developer) 4% of property value
Conveyance Fees AED 6,000 to AED 10,000
Insurance (not mandatory) depends on the coverage, starting at AED 200 a year
To legally confirm you’re the owner of the property, you need to obtain the title deed in your name. The fees associated with the title deed certificate issuance in Dubai are: 
  • AED 250 per Title Deed
  • AED 100 Land Map Fees for lands that are not subject to the authority of Dubai Municipality
  • AED 325 Land Map Fees for the unified map with Dubai Municipality
  • AED 250 apartment map or villa map
  • AED 10 Knowledge Fees for each fee
  • AED 10 Innovation Fees for each fee
You also need to pay a service charge, which is a recurring maintenance fee for residential communities and buildings. These charges vary from community to community and are charged per square foot (from AED 3 to AED 30 per month, or more in some exclusive properties).

Another additional expense includes the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) monthly bill, ranging from AED 1,000 for a flat to AED 4,000 for a villa.

Moving forward

As you've seen, the procedure is far more complex than you might have first assumed, but with the correct information, it becomes much simpler. It ultimately comes down to making an informed decision, selecting a property, deciding on financing, applying for and receiving approval, handling administration, and then enjoying living in your home or reaping the rewards of your wise investment

We’re here to guide you through the process and make it easier in any way possible.  Capitalizing on our close relationships with all of the major real estate developers and banks in Dubai, we can help you with finding and financing the right property that matches your needs. Browse through our growing selection of residential properties: 
You can also get in touch with our professionals in Dubai for any additional support, they’ll be more than happy to assist you in finding and securing your dream home. 
Photo credits:
  1. Abid Bin Nazar | Pexels 
  2. Bench Accounting | Unsplash 
  3. Pavel Danilyuk | Pexels 

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