Property for Sale in Dubai – A Short Guide for Expats

April 8, 2016

When other Middle Eastern countries limited foreign ownership of properties, Dubai's crown prince issued the Freehold Decree in 2002, thus opening the emirate's property market to foreign investors. The decree allowed foreigners to buy, sell and lease properties and enabled the emirate to become a key player in the global property market.

The steady pace of recovery among global economies renewed the confidence and vigour of investors. Many who are still reeling from the effects of the past crisis have turned their attention to luxury real estate investments, choosing to invest in one of the more stable platforms.

In turn, many developers in the United Arab Emirates have ventured into the luxury market, driven by the increased demand for UAE investments in property. Although Dubai’s property sector was hit by the financial crisis, the prices for luxury properties continue to grow. It certainly helps that Dubai is recognised as one of the safest places in the region to invest in. 

If you’re keen on investing in a property for sale in Dubai, here are some important things to know.

Know your purpose
Before you begin looking at listed properties, it’s prudent to know what your exact purpose for investing is. Someone looking for a home to live in will have different goals from someone who is intent on making a profit. Having a clear grasp of your purpose will enable you to choose a suitable property that will best meet your goals.

Searching for the right property
When you’re looking to buy property, your safest option would be to purchase directly from a developer or get the help of a qualified real estate agent. It’s also crucial to thoroughly research each property you’re interested in.

In order for a property to be deemed ‘luxury’, it must be located in close proximity to vital facilities – like business districts, airports and other modes of public transportation. It also helps if it’s located away from common problems like traffic congestion and pollution. In short, luxury properties should maintain a balance between accessibility and ambience.

Location, however, won’t count for much if you don’t feel safe in your own home. A high level of security is another critical factor that sets luxury properties apart.

Making the purchase
The property purchasing process begins with you making a verbal offer to the seller. Should the seller agree to this offer, a formal sales contract will then be drafted and signed by both parties. (Most sellers require foreign buyers to be pre-approved for financing before signing the contract.) Then, you’ll make a deposit while the seller makes sure there are no impediments to the sale. Once the final payment has been made, the deed will be transferred to you, the new owner.

It should be noted that there are a few key differences between off-plan properties and properties sold by private sellers.

If you’re planning to buy an off-plan property, you’ll need to submit a reservation form along with your passport. A reservation deposit may also be required before the sales and purchase agreement is drafted. This purchase agreement should inform you of the completion date of the project as well as the compensation you’re entitled to if this deadline is not met.

For resale purchases, both parties will need to sign a memorandum of understanding which sets the terms and condition of the sale. Note that this document is not binding. After coming to an agreement, you will then make a deposit which is non-refundable. Before the transfer of deeds, you should pay for the property in full.