Information - Steps - Costs

Guide to buying a property in the United Arab Emirates

Buying a property in the United Arab Emirates by foreigners

All foreigners can buy a property in the United Arab Emirates even when they do not reside there.

Free purchase is only possible in certain areas designated by the authorities.

However, you must prove that you have a fixed salary.

The profession of real estate agent in the United Arab Emirates

The first step to become a real estate agent in the United Arab Emirates, if you are not an Emirate citizen, is to obtain a residence permit.

In order to obtain a license as a real estate agent you must pass the written exam prepared by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA).

An additional requirement to obtain a real estate agent licence is a certificate of good conduct.

Once these requirements have been met, the Economic Department will issue your real estate agent licence.

Sales contract

Unlike in Switzerland and other European countries, in the United Arab Emirates the sales contract is not signed in the presence of a notary public.

It is the responsibility of the real estate agent to prepare the sales contract once all agreements and purchase terms have been agreed by both parties.

If the property is purchased directly from a real estate developer, it will be his task to draw up the contract.

This contract is legally binding and at the time of signing you must bring with you an identification document, such as a passport.

At the time of signing the contract, an advance payment, that may vary from 10% to 20% of the cost of the property, will be made to the seller’s account.

The terms and payment schedule must be included in the contract of sale.

When purchasing an unbuilt property from a property developer, the deposit and subsequent payments must be made to a secure account authorised by RERA registered under the project name and not in the name of the developer himself.

From this account, money will be gradually transferred to the property promoter at the end of certain construction phases agreed during the signing of the contract.

Costs of the real estate purchase/sale

There are basically two costs involved in buying and selling real estate; the real estate agency commission and the transfer costs.

The costs related to the agency commission are completely borne by the seller and amount to 2%.

The costs related to the transfer of a property can vary between 1% and 4% of the value of the property purchased and also include stamp duty for the transfer.

Once the purchase has been made, the sale must be registered with the Dubai Land Department.

The property registration fee is 4,5% of the purchase price.

Annual costs

There are no property taxes in the United Arab Emirates.

The only expenses that will be incurred during the year will be condominium expenses.