It’s no less than an achievement for a foreign national to be able to buy a property in Dubai. The emirate, famous for its skyscrapers and high-quality lifestyle, has a lot for those seeking residential and investment opportunities in the property market. Needless to say, the prices are high as well. So, it certainly is a big thing for an expat to realise their dream of becoming a proud homeowner in Dubai.

Having said that, the entire process comes with its share of challenges and risks as well, particularly for a first-time buyer. To help you make an informed decision, we have come up with a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions for first-time homebuyers in Dubai.

Take a look at them:

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Property in Dubai

General Questions

Where can I buy property in Dubai?

It’s important to ask this question because, being an expat, you cannot buy property everywhere in Dubai. You can lease it but not own it. For those who do not know, when you lease a property, you only get possession of the home for a certain period of time. The buyer remains the actual owner.

It is important to know that foreign nationals can only buy property in Dubai in selected localities. These are known as freehold areas. Some of these are:

  • Business Bay
  • Downtown Dubai
  • Dubai Marina
  • Arabian Ranches
  • Jumeirah Beach Residence
  • Dubailand
  • International City
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis
  • Jumeirah Village Circle
  • Jumeirah Golf Estate
  • MBR City
  • Dubai Investment Park
  • Barsha Heights
  • Discovery Gardens

What is the process to buy a property in Dubai?

The process to buy off-plan and ready property in Dubai may seem simple on paper. However, it can get very tricky. There are different phases of buying a property. If you plan to get a home loan, you will, at first, have to apply for the loan from a bank or any other financial institute. They will evaluate your creditworthiness and check various other details before giving you a pre-approval letter.

Once you have obtained this letter, you can start looking for properties for sale in Dubai that match your requirements. After finalising a property, you will have to sign a pre-sale agreement. And there are numerous other formalities involved in this procedure as well.

Should I buy a freehold or leasehold property?

Before venturing into the Dubai property market, decide whether you want to buy a freehold or leasehold property. Both these options come with certain perks and limitations. For example, when you buy a freehold property, you get full rights and complete control over it. Furthermore, this option comes with visa benefits as well. The flipside here is that you can only buy it in selective areas.

Take into account all of the pros and cons of both these options and make a decision that will be fruitful for you in the long run.

What are other costs associated with buying a property?

Many first time buyers believe that the price of the property listed on the developer’s website or a real estate portal is the final price. This, however, is untrue. The actual cost of the property in Dubai can be a little higher than the one that’s mentioned. It includes but not limited to:

  • DLD fees
  • Title deed issuance fees
  • Admin fees
  • Mortgage registration fees
  • Oqood certificate fees (for off-plan properties)
  • Service/maintenance charges (after moving in)
  • DEWA charges
  • Real estate agent’s commission

What is the estimated moving cost in Dubai?

If you are already living in Dubai, you need to add this to your cost of buying a property as well. Different movers charge differently for their services. Some have per hour rates set, while others charge on a per-day/shift basis. Get in touch with different companies to know about estimated moving costs.

Questions to Ask the Property Seller/Developer

In this section, we have covered some questions you should ask to property seller or developer:

What’s included with the property?

Most residential projects in the emirate come with advanced conveniences and amenities that define the upscale lifestyle residents get here. So, don’t forget to ask what facilities and amenities are included with the property. Be it a ready or off-plan property in Dubai, you should ask this question to the current owner or property developer.

Also, confirm if the property is furnished, semi-furnished or unfurnished. In the case of the first two options, get a list of items that you will get with the purchase.

What is the maintenance cost associated with the property?

This usually applies when you buy a property in an apartment building. The developer or the project manager collects a certain amount every month from every owner to keep the property and its several features, such as parks, swimming pool, elevators, etc., in a well-maintained condition.

It’s important that you ask about maintenance costs prior to buying the property so that your monthly expense stays within your budget.

Are there any building rules?

Almost every apartment building in Dubai comes with a set of rules and regulations the residents have to abide by. For example, some buildings do not allow residents to keep pets. Similarly, there can be other restrictions and limitations as well. So, to avoid any inconvenience in the later stages, ask the developer beforehand about the building rules.

How long will it take for the project to complete? (For off-plan property)

This is a must-ask question if you are buying an off-plan property in Dubai, whether it is for residential or investment purposes. At the same time, it’s vital to know that delays during the construction phase are inevitable in some cases. However, if you have purchased a property developed by a reputed developer, there aren’t many chances of facing such a situation, as they have a reputation to maintain.

What is the escrow account? (For off-plan property)

Do not buy an off-plan property in Dubai if the developer asks you to deposit the upfront payment directly to their account. As per laws in the emirate, every developer has to open a new escrow account for every project they launch. The buyer/investor has to deposit their account in the said account for buying the property.

In case the project gets cancelled, the invested amount will be returned from the escrow account.

Questions to Ask the Lender

If you plan to get a home mortgage loan, here are some questions you should ask the lender:

How to qualify for a home loan in Dubai?

That’s the foremost question you should ask. Be mindful that the qualification criteria differ if you’re applying for a loan from a bank or a private lender. However, it’s vital that you prove your creditworthiness.

You can usually find the information pertaining to the qualification for the home loan on the lender’s website. Or you can visit them in person and get the required details.

What are the types of loans available?

There are different types of home mortgage loans available for buyers in Dubai. Ask the lender about the ones they offer before proceeding further. Moreover, get as much detail as possible before selecting one of them.

What is the total term of the mortgage?

Some home mortgage loans types differ in terms of their total duration. Usually, short-term loans come with a relatively lower interest rate, but the monthly payment is higher, and vice versa.

It’s important to know for how long you will have to pay home loan instalments so that you can plan your finances and budget accordingly.

Questions to Ask the Real Estate Agent

Hiring a real estate agent to sell or buy a property in Dubai can offer numerous benefits. However, before you select one, there are some questions you should ask them:

How long have you been serving as a real estate agent in Dubai?

Experience matters! An incompetent or inexperienced agent wouldn’t be able to provide you with key insights and the best listings for properties in your selected areas. So, ask them about their experience and expertise before getting them on board.

How much commission do you charge?

There are no specific regulations set for how much a real estate agent can charge as a commission in Dubai. However, most brokers ask for 2% plus VAT.

Can I see referrals?

Do not hesitate in asking for referrals. Knowing what their previous clients have to say about them will help you get assurance that you’ve selected the right agent.

Can I see the current property listings you have?

This one’s a must. Ask them to show you the listings they have. If they have a vast portfolio, it means that you can rely on them.

What areas/localities do you specialise in?

The emirate consists of numerous districts, communities and neighbourhoods. You cannot expect a real estate agent to have expertise in all of these areas. So, if you have a couple of areas in mind where you want to buy a property in Dubai, ensure that the selected agent specialises in those localities.

The Takeaway

In a nutshell, getting answers to these questions will make the property buying process comparatively easy for you, as you will have all the required information that’s vital to buy a property in Dubai at your disposal. However, the real struggle is to find the best properties, and for this, Zoom Property has got you covered. Check out the extensive selection of property listings all over the UAE on our portal. You can also download our mobile app (available on Android and iOS devices) for this purpose. 

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