A Buyers' Guide To Dubai

Purchasing property in Dubai is an exciting option for property buyers, but as with all worldwide property, certain issues need to be clarified. This guide is intended to examine various aspects of purchasing a property in Dubai and guide you through the buying process. In March 2006, the long awaited law granting foreigners the right to hold freehold property was brought into force. Foreigners have been granted ownership rights, but are restricted to buying in certain designated areas. These locations are within the spectacular developments which have brought foreign investors flocking to the shores of Dubai.

Appointing a Lawyer

The property purchase process in Dubai is still in its early stages and as yet has not developed a fully formal conveyancing procedure. At this point the only required paperwork is a sales agreement which, once signed, is legally binding. Although the buying process seems straight forward especially on off-plan and new build purchases, there can be potential pitfalls and we strongly advise you to appoint a lawyer who speaks your own language.

Our advisors can recommend a good lawyer who will carry out all necessary checks on the property in Dubai and fulfill the legal requirements of the sale.

The Purchase Process

With so much development going on in Dubai it is essential for property investors to do their research and make sure they have the best property for their needs and budget. Once a buyer has chosen a property, the buying process is fairly straightforward.

To secure the property a holding deposit of anything from 1,000 to 3,000 GBP is paid. In the second stage the purchase contract, stipulating the payment schedule, is drawn up. The usual conditions are between 10% and 20% to be paid every three months until completion and the build time is normally between 12 to 36 months. The property can be sold at any time during this period, but will incur a transfer cost of about 2%.

As the conveyancing system in Dubai is still in its infancy, the central land registry has no records of previous sales to confirm title deed to the property and therefore buying resale properties is a little more complicated. It is essential for your lawyer to investigate and contact the original developer to ensure the title to the property is genuine. Once the title is confirmed, the purchaser will put down a holding deposit until the funds are in place for the sale to go through.

The Dubai property market is fast moving and properties are changing hands at great speed. Therefore it is advisable to have finance arranged prior to to finding a property.


Although escrow funds do not exist in Dubai, the government has formulated a scheme to prevent the developer from overspending on the money invested for off-plan properties. Developers must pay 50% of the purchase price of each unit into a bond that guarantees the completion of the development. Buyers are therefore well protected in the unlikely event that the developer should go bankrupt or doesn't complete on his contract.


A number of financial institutions in Dubai are offering mortgages to non-resident property buyers, and in addition most developers offer purchasers attractive deals with packages that offer amounts of up to 96% of the property value. The mortgage market in Dubai is a fast growing commercial enterprise and many banks are offering mortgages to non-residents, but there are limits in the type of mortgages available - for example self-certification mortgages are only obtainable on very short terms and Dubai banks won't take possible rental income into account when granting a mortgage.

UK based banks offer mortgages of up to 80% of the purchase price of a property so it pays to shop around to get the best deal for your needs. Many buyers decide to release the equity in a property they already own to fund their purchase and in this case, we can introduce you to an independent financial advisor who will help you raise the necessary finance.

Using an Agent

The number and variety of properties on offer in Dubai can be overwhelming and it is helpful to use a reliable agent who will look at your needs and shortlist the most suitable properties for your circumstances. Propertyshowrooms.com always carefully examines your particular requirements and provides you with a selection of appropriate options from our database. In addition, we can recommend all related professional services you will require to make a safe, reliable purchase. Most of our properties for sale in Dubai are within off-plan developments as they offer the best value for money and represent general demand.


Agreat advantage of buying a property in Dubai is that it is a tax free country and, apart from the transfer costs at about 1.5% of the purchase price, there are no further taxes to be considered when buying your property. In addition to transfer costs, the buyer should factor in the costs of raising a mortgage, which are around 1.5% of the amount to be funded.

Other costs to be considered are lawyers fees and s ervice charges. Service charges form a vital part of the costs involved in buying a property and a clause stating what they are must appear in the sales and purchase agreement. The agreement should clearly state what services you are paying for, how the management company will collect payment, how the amount is calculated and how it is divided between owners, in addtiion to whether it is a 'sinking' or reserve fund.

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