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Buy House in Dubai – Tips and Process

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Owning a property in Dubai is a prestigious, safe, and tax-free investment for residents and foreign investors. Dubai is one of the fastest-growing cities, and according to the new Dubai 2040 Urban Master plan, the city’s population will increase from 3.3 million to 7.8 million. 2022 appears to be the best time to buy a house in Dubai.

Living in Dubai is renowned for its luxury and style, and there are plenty of advantages to buying a property if one wants to enjoy luxury and affordable living.

  • Dubai is a safe and stable property market, making it a great investment destination.
  • The city offers a lavish lifestyle with fantastic leisure and entertainment choices. 
  • Dubai is tax-free, with no capital tax, which makes real estate investment more attractive.
  • High rental yields with no income tax or any capital gain tax. However, it is likely that UAE to introduce more tax reforms in the future.
  • Dubai is also known for its iconic architecture and developments, including Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab, Dubai Ski, and Dubai Opera in Downtown Dubai, which make everyone want to live in Dubai.

Dubai’s Property Laws – Buy House in Dubai


In Dubai, foreigners can own property in areas designated as freehold. Foreigners (who don’t live in the UAE) and expatriate residents may have freehold ownership rights over property without restriction, usufruct rights, or leasehold rights for up to 99 years.

Freehold vs. Leasehold Type of Property

  • Leasehold: the property rights are fixed for up to 99 years, and one does not own the property’s land.
  • Freehold: Ownership rights of the property land and the property can be sold, leased, or occupied as per the owner’s rights.

The Freehold areas of Dubai for the Non-UAE nationals’ property ownership are defined in “Article 3 of Regulation No. (3) of 2006 Determining Areas for Ownership by Non-UAE Nationals of Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai.”

Article (3): Non-UAE Nationals may acquire freehold ownership rights over Real Property without time restriction, usufruct rights, or leasehold rights for up to ninety-nine (99) years concerning the land plot(s) indicated opposite each of the following areas as shown by the maps issued by the Department and attached to this Regulation:

  1. Umm Hurair 2: Plot No. (013);
  2. Al Barsha South 2: Plot No. (002);
  3. Al Barsha South 3: Plot No. (002);
  4. Emirates Hills 1: Plots No. (004) and (814);
  5. Emirates Hills 2: Plots No. (001) and (049);
  6. Emirates Hills 3: Plot No. (001);
  7. Jebel Ali: Plots No. (051), (074), (081), (082), (083), (084), (142), (143), and (391);
  8. Al Jaddaf: Plot No. (003), (007), and (008);
  9. The World Islands: Plot No. (001);
  10. Ras al Khor: Plot No. (165);
  11. Al Rowyah: Plot No. (063) and (065);
  12. Sheikh Zayed Road: Plot No. (118) and (147);
  13. Sofouh 1: Plot No. (069);
  14. Sofouh 2: Plot No. (005);
  15. Al-Qouz 3: Plot No. (005) and (006);
  16. Al-Qouz Industrial Area 2: Plot No. (010) and (030);
  17. Al-Qouz Industrial Area 3: Plot No. (028);
  18. Mirdif: Plot No. (143) and (144);
  19. Dubai Marina: Plot No. (007), (014), (015), and (033);
  20. Palm Jebel Ali: Plot No. (001);
  21. Palm Jumeirah: Plot No. (001);
  22. Nad al-Sheba: Plots No. (209), (215), and (222); and
  23. Warsan 1: Plot No. (002).

Source: https://dubailand.gov.ae/media/zrrd4qw4/en-legislation.pdf

Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Process- Buying Steps

Select the right Property Type – Townhouse, Villa, or an Apartment

There are many options for houses for sale in Dubai, ranging from apartments to luxury villas. One must include an analysis and review of all types of property for sale in Dubai to understand living style differences among off-plan under construction or from the listings of Dubai property for sale in Dubai, like apartments, townhouses, and villas.

Select the right property for your residence based on personal and family lifestyle needs, school, and work commute time.

As an investor, you should consider factors like property rentability, potential rental income, neighborhood development, city commute, consider Dubai Metro access, and, more notably, the potential for investment growth and factors for the future sale of the property.  

Purchasing Off-Plan Property From Real Estate Developers

Off-plan property is an unconstructed property purchased directly from a developer or, in some cases, a first owner. Purchasing off plan apartments for sale through real estate developers is a considerable choice from an investment perspective. Developers offer installment payment plans for the There are many developers selling properties in Dubai, and you can easily find one that suits your budget and needs. When purchasing a property through a developer, you can negotiate the price and get the best deal possible.

Dubai Property for Sale Listings

Many listing sites provide details for homes for sale in Dubai with maps such as Property Finder Dubai, Bayut, and Dubizzle. Reviewing and comparing details on the Dubai for sale villas and houses will help better understand buying opportunities.

There are many popular residential areas near Dubai City that offer a variety of amenities and activities for residents. These areas include Burdubai, Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Residence, and The Palm Jumeirah. Downtown Dubai is a lively area with plenty of shopping and dining options, including Dubai Mall. Jumeirah Beach Residence is a great place to live if you want to be close to the beach. Here are a few popular residential areas.

  • Villas in Dubai: The Villa, Sofouh, Sport City Housing 
  • Single Townhouse Row: Mirdif, Akoya,
  • Freehold Property Areas: Al Jaddaf, Warsan 1,
  • Detached Villas: Arabian Ranches, Al Barsha, Nad al-Sheba

Costs of Purchasing

The buying cost will vary depending on the size, location, and type of property you want to buy in Dubai. Generally, you can expect to pay around 10-15% of the purchase price as a down payment, with the remaining balance due in monthly installments over the years. Additional costs such as stamp duty (2%), registration fees (1%), and other miscellaneous fees may also be payable.

Evaluate Additional Costs of Purchase

  • Dubai Land Department (DLD) Fees 4% of the purchase price
  • Registration Fee: Below AED 500,000 Valuation fee is AED 2,000 +5% VAT, and above AED 500,000 valuation is AED 4,000 + 5% VAT
  • DLD Mortgage Registration Fees 0.25% of the loan amount,
  • DLD Transfer registration fees: Seller and Buyer each pay a 2% fee on the property value
  • Bank fees (property valuation, mortgage fee, life insurance)
  • Real Estate Agent Fees: 2%,
  • Real Estate Agency Conveyance Fee: around AED 6,000 to AED 10,000

Property Carrying Cost

  • Dubai Municipality Fee 
  • Electricity, Water, and air-conditioning costs
  • Maintenance cost (private pool, garden, etc.)
  • Building management fee
  • Home Insurance cost
  • Charges of residential communities

Mortgage Financing and House Loan Options

Regarding mortgage financing, many banks in the UAE offer competitive mortgage rates, and the mortgage application process is well-established and relatively simple. You can also look into alternate finance options from your home country as a non-resident of the UAE or a foreign investor, but the process and financing requirements may vary.

Tips to Buy Properties

  1. Don’t rush your decision, do thorough research and make an appropriate choice.
  2. Learn about UAE’s property ownership laws and regulations.
  3. Engage approved Real Estate Broker who is familiar with the Dubai real estate market.
  4. Plan your transfer to the new house, as sometimes houses for sale are rented and vacant on transfer.
  5. Property seekers should be aware of the Dubai villa communities lifestyle, which have very different environments and vibes. Such as areas near Dubailand, Akoya, Arabian Ranches, Dubai Hills Estate, Jumeirah Golf Estates, or in Jumeirah Village Circle.
  6. There are higher maintenance costs if you plan to buy villas in Dubai. If you plan to buy a villa, you should evaluate and budget these costs if you plan to buy from the ready villas for sale. Luxury villas for sale in Dubai with gated communities or private beach access may require additional monthly fees & charges.
  7. Deal with reputed developers like Emaar Properties from off plan or under-construction real estate projects.

Transfer of Sale in Dubai

The transfer of sale in Dubai is a process that must be completed via the Dubai Land Department if you buy property in Dubai. This Dubai homes sales process includes transferring the title from the seller to the buyer. The transfer of sale must be completed within 21 days of the purchase date. If the transfer of sale is not completed within this period, the contract will be considered void, and the buyer will not be able to take ownership of the property.

Conclusion

Take your time with the decision. Establish clear objectives such as buying for your residence, rental income, or investment purpose. Engage a licensed real estate agent. Familiarise yourself with UAE real estate laws. Evaluate your personal and family lifestyle, and decide on the appropriate house (apartment, townhouse, villa). Consider associated buying and ongoing costs. Keep in view the future saleability of the house (exit strategy). 

Also Read:- Can Foreigners Buy Property in Dubai, UAE?

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About author

I am a Dubai resident for the last 5 years. Lived in Toronto for 15 years and property investor. A visionary entrepreneur with over 17+ years of experience in business consultations, brand & marketing strategist, and technology-based solutions architecture.
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