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A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying Property in Dubai


The Middle East property market is thriving, no more so than in the UAE, where the luxury residential market has seen ongoing growth. The Dubai property market is very different to other countries in the world; making sure you have a Dubai real estate agent you trust to guide you through the process is crucial. Search for your professional property agent in the UAE now!

Legal framework

Any person of any nationality, whether based overseas or a resident of Dubai, can purchase in Dubai's freehold property market in designated areas as authorised by His Highness the Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. You are not required to hold any type of residency or similar permit in order to purchase property.

Leasehold and Freehold property in Dubai

The majority of developments in Dubai are freehold, though there is a mixture of leaseholds ranging from 30-99 years.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying Property in Dubai

Sobha Creek Vistas 2-bedroom apartment for sale. Near Downtown Dubai. AED 1,305,000.

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An average property transaction in Dubai takes 30 days to complete from the date on which the Agreement for Sale is signed.


The procedures for purchasing real estate in Dubai are straightforward, for the most part.

  • Buyer and seller agree terms
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is signed and a deposit (usually 10%) is paid.
  • The parties meet at the offices of the developer to apply for a No Objection Certificate (‘NOC’) to sell the property.
  • The developer will usually issue the NOC against a payment of a fee once the developer is satisfied that any amount due to the developer in the form of service charges have been settled in full.
  • Once the NOC is issued, the partied are able to go to the office of the Dubai Land Department to officially transfer ownership. The Dubai Land Department will insist on payment of the purchase price being made in the form of a manager’s cheque made payable to the seller on the date of transfer. Once formalities are completed, a new title deed will be issued in the name of the buyer.
  • If the buyer is purchasing with a mortgage then the bank’s involvement will be required. If the seller has a mortgage on the property the buyer is required to settle the seller’s mortgage in full prior to the NOC application. This increases the risk for the buyer and means the transaction is more complicated.

Documents Required

Individual Buyer:

  • Original Passport


The following fees will generally apply to the sale and purchase of real estate in Dubai:

  • NOC fees - these can range between AED 500 and AED 5,000 and are payable to the developer, usually by the seller. Certain developers also levy a refundable deposit upon the buyer which is only refunded when the buyer presents the new title deed at the developer’s office and their records are updated.
  • Real Estate Agent’s commission is 2% of the purchase price
  • Transfer fees – these are calculated at 4% of the purchase price with an additional amount paid towards admin fees which currently is not in excess of AED 5,000 and is paid to the Dubai Land Department.
  • Mortgage registration fees (if applicable) are calculated at a rate of 0.25% of the registered loan amount and paid to the Dubai Land Department.
  • Developers ask for their annual service charges to be paid in advance and buyers should therefore account for their pro rata share upfront.


Source: Knight Frank

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