How to Buy Property in Dubai – Attracting Foreign Investors 

Picture of Written by: Meerab Saleem
Written by: Meerab Saleem
Picture of Reviewed by: Majid Hussain
Reviewed by: Majid Hussain

Dubai has become the standard for anyone looking to live a leisurely and carefree life. When it comes to property, there is no doubt you will find luxury at affordable rates. Many foreign investors have started searching how to buy a property in Dubai, given the UAE’s lack of property taxes and surging population. This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to buy property in Dubai as a foreigner. Look at our other guide, too, on how to buy property in UK!

How to Buy Property in Dubai

How to Buy Property in Dubai as a Foreigner

Buying a property always begins with searching for the location and the type of investment. This step is even more crucial when investing in a property overseas. This guide will cover how to buy property in Dubai from Pakistan, UK, USA, Canada, and more, as quite a number of investors have been coming from these countries. 

Finding the Property

When you are out there finding your dream property, follow these steps to get what you want! 

Determining What Type of Property You Want

Foreigners often go for apartments, villas, or townhouses in secure surroundings with communal leisure facilities. Since 2002, when the royal decree allowed foreigners to own a property, Dubai faced a construction boom. If you plan to buy a property in Dubai, ensure it is in a designated freehold area permissible for foreign investors. Some of the most popular places for foreign investors include Jumeriah Gardens, Emaar Towers, Al Hamra Village, and International City. 

Start Searching Online

The best way to start searching is online. Dubai has numerous agencies with an online presence, from which you can buy directly by yourself.  

Estate agents sell resale properties built and owned by previous owners. However, developers sell off-plan properties which are still under construction.  

Contact Agents or Developers

It is best to hire an estate agent with specialised knowledge about the local real estate market.  These estate agents can help you locate the best properties and explain your options. Large real estate companies are accustomed to working with foreign buyers and can communicate in English. 

Laws and regulations governing real estate in Dubai can change rapidly, so hiring an agent can help you avoid any potential issues. Generally, if you hire an estate agent, you can expect to pay a fee of between 2% and 5% of the property’s value. 

Always verify the credentials of anyone you employ. The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) is the regulatory body for real estate in Dubai.

Attend Property Fairs

The Dubai property market is growing rapidly but still relatively young. This means that many foreigners who buy property in Dubai purchase from developers who have not yet started on the project. Developers often participate in worldwide property fairs to showcase their work and meet potential buyers. If you are set on making overseas investments, keep an eye out for any property fair happening in nearby cities. 

Again, the developer must be registered and licensed by RERA. To check if a developer is licensed, you can browse the list in the Dubai Land Department website. 

Visit Dubai

If you are serious about purchasing a property in Dubai, spending time in the city beforehand is advisable. For a resale property, it is recommended that you view multiple properties and probe about them further. 

For off-plan purchases or properties under construction, ensure that you visit completed properties by the same developer to get an idea of what you can expect.  

How to buy property in Dubai as a foreigner

Meeting Eligibility

Before getting into the steps of buying property, you should consider your eligibility, whether or not you come on merit to buy property in Dubai.

Have the Required ID and Visa Documents

Since a change in the law in 2002, it has become much easier for foreigners to purchase and rent property in Dubai. You will only need to present a valid passport to prove your identity. Having a residency permit is not required, except if you plan to stay in Dubai. 

The UAE government offers a six-month visa, the “Property Holders Visa,” for property buyers. This visa allows foreign investors to stay in Dubai for six months while they explore investments. To be eligible for this visa, your purchase property must be worth more than 1 million dirhams, roughly equivalent to $272,000. You must purchase the property as an individual, not as a company. 

Determine the Full Costs

It is important to ensure you can afford the property and all associated costs before purchasing. To determine the overall cost of the property, you need to include the purchase price, deposit, transfer fees, estate agent fees, and the potential fluctuations of currency exchange rates.  

Although it is not legally required, it is recommended that you hire a lawyer to help you navigate through the paperwork. Be sure to include the lawyer’s costs in your calculations.  

If the property is a new build, you may need to pay a land registration fee of approximately 2%. 

Get a Mortgage in Dubai

Acquiring a mortgage in Dubai can be a tricky process. Non-status/self-certification mortgages are unavailable, and the amount of paperwork and red tape can be overwhelming for those used to a less rigorous system. Some buyers may have to pay between 20% and 50% of the mortgage value in cash.  

Mortgage payments in Dubai are made through monthly instalments, with 15-year mortgages being the most offered. Indian residents are not allowed to mortgage their property in Dubai or guarantee a loan from a non-resident.  

The maximum duration of a mortgage plan in Dubai is 25 years, and total mortgage repayments, along with other monthly expenses, should not exceed 35% of one’s net monthly income.  

Since exchange control is a complex topic, seeking appropriate professional guidance is advisable before deciding to take out a mortgage in a foreign currency. As Dubai’s mortgage laws change frequently, it is recommended that you stay up to date by checking local news and consulting the Central Bank of the UEA. 

Buying “Off-Plan” Property

To buy off plan property, following steps should be observed. 

Submit a Reservation Form

Once you have identified the property you want and secured your financing, the first step for purchasing a property off-plan is to complete and submit a reservation form. This form will summarise the key terms and conditions of the sales agreement. It will also have details about the payment plan and personal information from all parties involved. 

When submitting the reservation form, you must also provide a copy of your passport. It is important to remember that some developers may be selling leasehold titles rather than freehold titles. If this is the case, the title will be valid only for the period specified in the lease agreement. 

You must fully understand all the contract details and have it checked by a qualified lawyer. If the property is incomplete, it is also important to know the developer’s responsibilities in case of any delay. 

Pay the Reservation Deposit

After agreeing to the reservation document, you must pay a reservation deposit. The amount of the deposit will be mentioned in your reservation form. This is usually between 5% and 15% of the total purchase price. The developers may not prepare the official sales and purchase agreement until you pay this deposit. Sometimes, they may even charge more than 20%.  

Ensure that your deposits and payments are deposited into a RERA-approved securities account, as it is the most secure payment method. The payment will be transferred to the developer as the construction work progresses. 

Complete a Formal Sales and Purchase Agreement

The most important document that outlines the terms and conditions of a property purchase is the sales and purchase agreement. This agreement must state the date by which the property should be completed. Furthermore, it outlines the penalties the developer will incur if they fail to meet this deadline.  

To ensure that you fully understand the agreement, it is highly recommended that you have a lawyer review it with you. Carefully check all the details, terms, and conditions.  

If the property is meant to be furnished, ensure the agreement includes a specific date for when the furnishings will be completed. This will help avoid any confusion or misunderstandings down the line. 

Transfer the Deeds

You must transfer the deeds and pay the full purchase price to finalise the property purchase, as the transfer cannot take place until you have paid in full.  

The transfer will occur at the Land Department Offices if the property is completed. However, if the property is unfinished, the transfer will happen at the developer’s office.  

How to buy property in Dubai from UK

Buying “Resale” Property

When buying resale property, make sure you go through the listed steps before signing any agreements.

Make a Memorandum of Understanding

For a resale property in Dubai, you must agree with the seller and record the terms in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This document outlines the basic terms and conditions of the purchase, including the date of the final purchase. Although not legally binding, it is an important initial step in buying a resale property. 

Pay the Initial Deposit

After signing the MOU, the buyer must deposit around 10% of the purchase price. It is important to note that this deposit is typically non-refundable unless the seller cannot proceed with the transaction for a specific reason.  

How to buy property in Dubai from Pakistan

Obtain the Deeds

You can complete the purchase once you agree with the seller and arrange financing. As an expat, you will need to pay the entire purchase amount upfront before the property deeds can be transferred to you, similar to the process for buying off-plan developments. To do this, you may need to attend a meeting at the Land Department and present all the necessary paperwork. 

The buyer, the real estate agent, and a representative from the bank financing the purchase may all be required to attend the meeting at the Land Department. 

Frequently Asked Questions

There is the list price, the price asked for the property; the sale price, the price at which the owner settles; and the appraisal price, the price the real estate agent gives after comparing market properties. 

Like almost every other country in Dubai, anyone can buy property in instalments with an agreed down payment and instalment schedule.  

Yes, foreigners can buy property in Dubai, but they follow certain conditions, which the Emirates law has legislated since 2002 and allows foreigners to buy property in Dubai. 

Final Verdict

How to buy property in Dubai is not as difficult as it may sound, but it is fraught with hassles. By closely following the legislation and different steps when buying property in Dubai, anyone can buy a fair and square property, avoiding any dispute.  

So, if you or anyone you know is interested in buying a property in Dubai, follow the steps above or let us know the process on your behalf. As an emerging real estate agency in Pakistan and Dubai, we at Legend Properties will help you find the best options. Contact us today to get a hold of your dream property now! 

Reviewed by:

Experience hones, but constantly embracing learning and versatility is what brings you to the top.  I have had several years of experience behind me regarding sales and team management in a handful of prestigious companies in the country, and even so, I yearn for further professional and personal growth; hence, the various trainings and courses I attended. Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat
Need Help ?
Can we help you?