How can an expat buy an apartment in Dubai?

8 mins read

First of all, the buyer needs to select and buy Dubai property in 2024. This can be done independently or with the help of real estate agencies. There are many closed sales (off-market) in Dubai – these objects are not publicly available. Real estate agencies have data on such sales and can offer the client more options.

Once the choice has been made, you can begin collecting documents. The package of papers depends on what kind of property the expat is buying.

Purchase of finished apartments

To purchase a finished property, the buyer will only need a few documents:

  1. International passport.
  2. Visa if the transaction takes place in person. All purchase procedures may take more than a month.
  3. A power of attorney for a third party (usually a realtor) if a remote transaction is planned before the expat enters the country. A power of attorney must be drawn up and certified by a notary in the country of signing, legalized at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UAE Embassy, and translated into Arabic.

Next, you need to conclude a contract F (memorandum of understanding) – a document that establishes the terms of the transaction and acts as a preliminary agreement. After signing it, the buyer and seller make a deposit, guaranteeing the seriousness of the intentions of both parties. You will also need a NOC (No objection certificate) – a document that confirms that the seller has no debts on the apartment.

The memorandum is valid for only 30 days. During this time, you must deposit and enter into a deal. The validity period of the NOC is even shorter – only five days, so it is the last to be issued.

Buying housing under construction

To purchase housing at the construction stage, you need the same documents as finished housing. In this case, the developer will fill out a particular document – a reservation form – essentially the same contract F, only from the developer. In addition to information about the apartments, their cost, and information about the buyer, the form will indicate the completion date of construction and the developer’s responsibility in case of a delay in project delivery.

The form must be signed and a deposit paid – usually 10% of the cost. It is issued as a personal check, which the realtor will keep until the transaction is completed. After this, the buyer is given an Oqood pre-registration certificate, which will subsequently be replaced with a Title Deed after completion of construction work.

Purchase in installments from the developer

Developers attract investment in their projects in different ways. One of them is interest-free installments for housing under construction. It works like this:

  • The buyer makes a down payment of 20% of the cost, depending on the stage of completion of the building.
  • Pays a fee to the Dubai Land Department – 4% of the property value.
  • You must pay another 30% of the cost during active construction.
  • The balance of 50% is divided over 1–3 years, depending on the developer’s conditions.

The apartment can be sold about a year after making the first payment. Investors often use this purchase method, selling properties at a premium even at the construction stage.

The final stage of the transaction

After signing the documents, the transaction is registered, and ownership rights are transferred. This happens in the Dubai Land Department, the supervisory authority for real estate transactions. They will check the purchase and sale agreement and issue a payment receipt there. After payment, the new owner receives a Title Deed – a document confirming apartment ownership.

Buying real estate by an expat with a mortgage

In the UAE, expats can buy apartments with a mortgage. But to have your application approved, you must meet age requirements (from 21 to 65 years old) and fulfill several conditions:

  • Please apply for a resident visa: without it, getting approval is much more complex, and mortgage conditions will worsen.
  • Please provide proof of income and its source.
  • Make a down payment of 25%.

If the apartments have already been selected, you should make sure in advance that the bank is working with the right developer.

Filing an application

Banks in the UAE carefully approach the initial assessment of the borrower. They check the reliability and solvency: whether there are assets, what income level, and whether there are still loans. The latter is significant: banks carefully calculate the level of credit burden – it should be at most 50% of income.

Documents you will need to apply to the bank:

  • International passport and resident visa.
  • Bank statement about the account status and movement of funds for the last six months.
  • Confirmation of place of work and salary certificate if the borrower is employed.
  • Tax return – in case of other sources of income.
  • Documents about the company if the borrower has his own business.

Each bank has its requirements for documents, but these are the main ones.

Receiving an offer from the bank

If the application is approved, the bank will send the mortgage terms by email. The offer will contain all the information: interest rate, term, and monthly payment amount.

Mortgage deal

From 30 to 90 days – the period the bank gives to search for a property if a choice is still not made. The bank will evaluate the selected apartments. The procedure is paid.

After registering the transaction with the Land Department, the expat will receive a copy of the Title Deed – the original will remain with the bank until the loan is fully repaid.

Registration fees for purchasing real estate

Purchasing an apartment incurs additional costs:

  • The NOC service costs between AED 1,000 and AED 5,000.
  • The fee to the Land Department is 4% of the property’s value.
  • The payment for processing a mortgage application is less than 1% of the cost of housing.
  • Real estate insurance for the mortgage period – 0.5–1%.
  • Realtor commission – 2% of the property price.

One of the best real estate agencies is AX CAPITAL. Here you will find different kinds of properties and the specialists will help you to do it. 

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