A step-by-step guide to buying a house in Dubai

If you are unable to pay for the property in cash, you will need to apply for a mortgage

So you have finally decided to buy a house in Dubai after finding out how beneficial owning a property in Dubai can be.

Buying a property as an expat might sound like a complicated procedure, filled with obstacles that could cripple small-time players. But you don’t have to look at it that way; the Dubai Land Department, along with the legislating bodies in charge, have made sure the process of purchasing a property in Dubai is smooth and fast.

Should I dare and buy an off-plan property?

Although it takes more time than any other method you could consider, this is the  easiest way to buy a property in Dubai.

  • The buyer needs to submit an application form to the developer.
  • Once the application has been approved, the buyer needs to go to the developer’s sales centre on a pre-scheduled day to select the unit and pay the initial deposit.
  • Depending on the level of completion, the buyer might have to wait for 2-3 years before receiving the property. The completion date will be given by the developer.

Is it a good idea to buy a property on the secondary market instead?

This is a much quicker way to acquire a property in Dubai, however, it is a slightly more complicated process which involves more financial expenses.

  • An investor who wishes to buy a property where the seller has a mortgage needs to be in a position to discharge the seller’s mortgage before collecting their title deed from the Land Department.
  • The buyer needs to use a RERA-registered broker.
  • Upon viewing the property, the buyer presents an offer to the seller, and once the buyer’s offer has been accepted, the seller’s agent will produce the memorandum of understanding (contract) which states all the costs and responsibilities of both parties.
  • The buyer then pays a 10 per cent deposit in the name of the seller to secure the property.
  • Depending on whether the buyer is paying cash or via a mortgage, the next step is for the buyer’s bank to carry out a valuation procedure to inspect the property and ensure that it is secure enough.
  • Once the buyer receives the final approval, the seller will apply for the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the developer.
  • An appointment needs to be booked at the Land Department in order to complete the transfer.
  • When all processes have been registered, the buyer needs to pay 2% and AED315 to the DLD, along with the purchase price to the seller and the commission to the agent.
  • The buyer will then be given the title deed which will be in his name, along with the keys and the access cards to the new house.

How can I secure mortgage pre-approval?

In case you are unable to pay for the property in cash, you will need to apply for a mortgage. In order to secure a mortgage approval, you need to prepare the following:

  • Salary letter from your employer
  • Any salary slips you might have received
  • Bank statements of the last six months
  • Passport copy with both a photo and visa page
  • Copy of your Emirates ID
  • Copy of current credit card statements
  • Proof of address

The mortgage pre-approval stage might take up to seven days for salaried borrowers, and even longer for self-employed individuals.

Can you define the different kinds of prices of a property?

List Price: The list price is the asking price of the property and is negotiable.

Sale Price: The sale price is what the owner will settle at.

Appraised Value: The value provided by the real estate agent by comparing the property’s value with other properties in the market.

What other costs should I consider?

When it comes to selling:

  • Clearance of mortgage (cancellation fees)
  • Clearance of service charges/maintenance fees
  • Settlement of DEWA/District cooling
  • Developer’s NOC if required
  • Transfer fees paid to the Land Department
  • Commission

When it comes to buying:

  • Deposits as per Agreement of sale between Buyer & Seller
  • Transfer fees with the Land Department
  • Connection fees for electricity and water authorities
  • Community service fees
  • Mortgage application fees if required
  • Misc admin fees to the Land Department
  • Commission

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