A Guide to Buying Property in Dubai

Written by Arpan Ghosh

Buying property in Dubai can seem like a daunting task. There are the local laws, rules and regulations to consider, and there is the ever-present question of what the exact expense might be when various fees are added in.

Buying Property In Dubai – The Fundamentals


Who can buy property in Dubai?

Anyone of any nationality can purchase freehold property in Dubai. The buyer is not required to have UAE citizenship, or even residency status within the country. No special permit or other documentation is required for purchasing property.

Where can I buy property in Dubai?

Property in the UAE can be purchased in any freehold area that has been authorized for property transactions by the governing bodies of the UAE. This applies to most well-known residential neighbourhoods, though it is always recommended to verify your options with a trusted real estate agent or legal representative. All transactions are managed by the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

What documentation I need to buy property in Dubai?

Below are the documents you will be required to present, depending on whether you are buying as an individual or as a corporate entity. The list is subject to change and will also vary between corporations. It is therefore recommended that buyers consult with the Dubai Land Department prior to finalizing any transactions.


Required Documents for an Individual Buyer:

  • Buyer’s passport
  • Legal ID
  • Proof of address
  • Contact Details

Required Document for Corporate Buyers: 

  • Original Certificate of Incorporation or Trade License
  • Original Memorandum and Article of Association
  • Legal translation of the memorandum and articles of association
  • Original certificate of incumbency (not more than 3 months old)
  • Copy of shareholders’ passports
  • Original resolution approving purchase
  • Original POA
  • Original passport of attorney

What are the legal factors to consider before buying a property in Dubai?

Before you make any decisions about buying property, it is highly recommended that you take on a legal advisor familiar with local property laws to oversee the transaction.

If you are being represented by a Power of Attorney, the POA document must be notarized in the country where it is signed, following which it will be legalized by the UAE Embassy in that country. When the document arrives in the UAE, it must be attested at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and translated to Arabic. For buyers residing in the UAE, the signing of the POA must be witnessed by a Notary Public. As per Dubai Land Department regulations, a POA cannot be more than two years old.

All documentation submitted to the DLD must be translated into Arabic by a certified legal translator. Documents not in Arabic or without an Arabic translation will not be considered valid for real estate transactions.


What is the process involved in buying property in Dubai?

There are two options for buying property in the UAE: off-plan and secondary. Off-plan properties are those that are still under construction and are being purchased for use at a future date. These are sold by the developer and via trusted real estate brokerages.

A secondary property is the resale of an existing property by the owner, also usually transacted through trusted brokerages. The buying process for each is similar, but with a few key differences.


  • The buyer and the developer agree on the terms of the sale and the property price
  • A reservation agreement is signed and the buyer pays the reservation fee and/or the first installment of the purchase price, the amount of which is specified by the terms of the agreement
  • A Sales & Purchase Agreement (SPA) is signed, which includes the expected completion date of the property
  • Once the SPA has been signed, an Oqood document is issued, which serves as a temporary registration until the buyer has the title deed in hand. An Oqood fee is also paid at this time, which is typically 4% of the purchase price.
  • The buyer continues to pay timely installments as per the approved payment plan until the balance has been fully paid
  • Once the property is completed, the Oqood becomes a title deed in the name of the new property owner


  • The buyer and the seller agree on the terms of the sale and the property price
  • Both buyer and seller sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) prior to proceeding with the conveyance of the property, outlining the terms of the agreement. The MOU must be registered with the DLD. A 10% deposit is paid at this time.
  • Both parties must apply for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the developer so the property can be transferred. There is a fee for the NOC issuance.
  • The transfer of the property must be officially registered with the DLD, and a transfer fee of 4% must be paid at this time
  • As per DLD regulations, the buyer must make the payment in the form of manager’s cheques payable to the seller on the date of the property transfer. If the buyer is paying with the help of a mortgage, then a bank representative must be involved for the completion of the relevant paperwork and formalities
  • If the seller has any existing mortgage on the property at the time of the sale, it is the buyer’s responsibility to settle the mortgage prior to applying for the NOC
  • Once all of the above formalities have been completed, a new title deed is issued in the name of the buyer and the property is officially transferred from seller to buyer

How does VAT factor into my property purchase in Dubai?

Certain real estate transactions in Dubai are taxable, though this mainly applies to commercial properties. At present, VAT is not levied upon residential property transactions in Dubai.

However, we would recommend checking on the latest regulations with a legal advisor, or with one of our trusted private client advisors, who can provide you with the most up-to-date information.


Can I get a residence permit if I buy property in Dubai?

Property buyers in Dubai are granted a two-year residence permit, which is renewable. The minimum investment for a permit is AED 1 million, and the property must be located in a freehold area. The permit allows for sponsorship of dependents as well, including personal staff and domestic workers. Property owners should not remain outside the UAE for more than 6 consecutive months in order for the permit to remain valid.

The above outlines the property buying process in Dubai in the most basic terms. If you would like a more in-depth understanding of the process or if you are moving to Dubai from UK for work and looking to buy a property in Dubai, please get in touch with one of our private client advisors for a free consultation.