Buying House in United Arab Emirates

Living in UAE: How to Buy a House in the United Arab Emirates

All people dream of buying a property. And when it comes to the UAE, the urge to property in the vibrant country intensifies more than ever. But why should you buy a property in the UAE?

Vibrant Life in the UAE

The UAE is attracting people from all over the world. And that is not without solid reasons. With a highly cosmopolitan lifestyle and tax-free advantages, the UAE has become a desirable destination for foreign expatriates, transforming the country into an investment hotspot.

As many expatriates are moving to the United Arab Emirates, demand for properties has risen more than ever. With the availability of top-class infrastructure and affordable property prices, almost every expatriate relocating to the country wants to buy a house in the UAE.

What Are Your Options as a Property Owner?

For property owners in the UAE, there are two fundamental options:


Under Freehold, the property developer will provide the option of ”rent-to-own.” This payment scheme enables the property investor to skip the 25 percent down payment requirement, relieving the investor of significant monetary pressure.

The investor can pay rent for the property instead of the regular installments until he clears all dues. Subsequently, he gets the property transferred to his name. But the downside is that the scheme calls for high premiums, something you should consider before choosing the scheme.


Leaseholds give the property owner 99-year ownership of the property, with the land partially owned by you and the freeholder who has leased the property to you.

Nowadays, there are many online platforms, like TopLatest, that lists properties for sale in all the emirates, such as houses for sale in Dubai, villas for sale in Abu Dhabi, etc., apart from guidance on how to buy property in the UAE. If you are looking for a property for sale in the UAE, your search becomes more manageable with the platforms.

What Documents do You Need?

To buy a property in the country, you will need to produce the following documents, so keep them ready.

  • Passport and visa copy
  • Emirates ID
  • Trade license for business owners and salary certificate for salaried employees
  • Bank statements of three to six months

Initiating the Purchase

The first step in purchasing a property in the UAE is getting pre-approval from a financial institution.

A pre-approval involves your financial details, like the loan amount, interest rate, tenure, processing fee, etc.

It is a good idea to visit two to three financial institutions and request a pre-approval as that will give you a broader vision of the installments you need to pay and figure out whether you can afford those.

A pre-approval comes at a processing fee of at least Dh1,000, which might seem to be an additional cost to you, yet that helps you make more informed decisions.

Once you select a property, the financial institution will inspect the property and its documents. If the institution finds those alright, it will approve the loan against the property.

The Involved Process

Purchasing a property involves a process which is as follows:

Getting the Offer Letter

Ensure that you get the offer letter against the property you finalize. The offer letter contains the relevant details, like the area, the price, number of bedrooms, payment plans, etc.

Making the Down Payment

Make a down payment once your finances are ready. But do not forget to collect the receipts and a copy of the seller’s reservation form signed.

Signing the Sales and Purchase Agreement

Sign the Sales and Purchase agreement (SPA). Subsequently, the seller will send the SPA for registration to the land department of the emirate.

Initial Title Deed (for under-construction properties)

If you have finalized an under-construction property, make sure that you receive the Initial Title Deed. And ensure that the seller registers the property with the land department as soon as possible.

Monitoring Progress

Keep an eye on the progress, and do not fail to make the payments on time. Collect the receipts for record-keeping.

Final Payment and Handover

Once you make the final payment, ask your seller to handover you the property. But, before you make the final payment, go to the site and check the apartment. If you see any deviation from what the seller agreed, ask him to fix those and then make the final amount. Once you make the final payment, the seller will give you the handover letter, mentioning the completion of all charges.

Property Purchasing Rules for Expatriates

If you are an expatriate and looking for purchasing a property in the country, it will help if you acquaint yourself with the existing rules in the respective emirates, such as in:

Abu Dhabi

To buy a property in Abu Dhabi, you need to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the seller. You have to pay two percent of the property’s value as a service fee to the real estate agency and another two percent to Abu Dhabi Municipality. Furthermore, the developer will charge Dh 5,000 as an administrative fee. Subsequently, the developer will give you the ownership certificate.


Buying a house in Dubai for expatriates involves completing a process that falls under the Dubai Land Department (DLD), which charges four percent of the property value as transfer fees. The buyer and seller pay two percent, respectively.

Also, do not forget to brush up with the knowledge of Dubai’s tenant rights before investing in a property in Dubai.

For the property registration, DLD will charge Dh4,000 if the property price equals or exceeds Dh500,000, and if the property price is less than Dh500,000, then the registration fees stand at Dh2,000. Additionally, you need to pay Dh250 as title deed issuance fees on the transfer day.

The real estate agent will also charge two percent of the property value as fees as a service charge.

If you have a mortgage on the property you purchase, you have to pay a mortgage registration fee to the DLD that is 0.25 percent of the loan amount.