Purchase process

Contracts, taxes and registrations

Purchase process

Purchasing property in Dubai is a relatively straightforward process. Property development companies will readily sell you property without an agent. However, you should always find an agent to help you with the purchase process because laws and regulations may change quickly.

Real estate companies that will help you find agents and brokers in Dubai includes Better Homes . These companies assist many international clients, and they speak English. As a buyer, you must pay the agent's fees, which are normally 2% of the purchase price.

Once you have found a suitable property, you or your agent will need to contact the developer or the seller to set up a negotiation. You might also need to exchange your currency, as property payments are made in dirhams (AED).

Purchase contracts

In Dubai, there is no standardized purchase agreement or form for property purchases. When buying a property, you sign a private purchase contract provided by the real estate developer (or drawn up by your agent if you are buying a resale property). Do not sign the contract until all agreements and terms have been settled - the contract is legally binding. You should bring your passport to the contract signing.

Upon signing the contract, you make a deposit of about 10% of the purchase price to the seller. The contract should set payment schedules for the remaining payments.

Most developers are trustworthy, but it does not hurt to be cautious when buying a property. If you are buying off-plan, the deposit and payments should be paid into a Real Estate Regulation Agency (RERA)-approved securities account. In these accounts, the money is gradually released to the developer upon completion of construction stages (rather than payments being released according to fixed periods of time). Additionally, the account should be in the name of the project, not the developer.

Property transfer and registration fees

There is no property purchase tax in Dubai. However, you must pay fees for transferring property and stamp taxes on transferrals. These taxes can be anywhere between 1 and 7% of your property's purchase price.

You must register the sale at Dubai's Land Department. The property registry fee is 1.5% of your property's purchase price. To register your property, you will need the agreement, your passport and a residence permit. If you have a mortgage on your property, you will be charged an extra 0.25% of the purchase price.

Resale properties

The resale market is relatively small, but if you buy a resale property, you should use an agent.

Before you make an offer, you should check that the seller actually owns the property in question. You should also ask for the “original price” of the property to make sure that you are not being overcharged.


As a property owner, you may rent your property. You are responsible for maintenance on the structure (e.g. plumbling). Dubai levies no taxes on rental income.

Further reading

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