12 Important things to know before buying property in Dubai

12 Important things to know before buying property in Dubai

Dubai has become one of the most sought-after destinations for real estate investment, with a booming property market and a wide range of investment opportunities. However, as with any investment, it’s important to do your research before buying property in Dubai.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 12 important things you need to know before investing in Dubai’s property market. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced investor, these tips will help you make informed decisions and avoid potential pitfalls in the market.

Dubai’s property market

According to the report, property prices in these prime locations experienced a significant increase of 44 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year. Faisal Durrani, head of Middle East research at Knight Frank, said, “The luxury market in Dubai was the fastest growing in the world but remains cheaper than main big cities.”

Several factors affect the property market in Dubai, including supply and demand, economic growth, interest rates, and government policies. Dubai offers a wide range of properties, from luxury villas and apartments to commercial spaces and land, catering to different needs and budgets.

12 Things To Know Before Buying Property In Dubai

1. Do your research

Experts emphasize the importance of conducting thorough research and market analysis before investing in a property. It is crucial to assess market trends and fluctuations, as well as factors such as property types, locations, and prices to make an informed decision. Doing so can help buyers avoid costly mistakes and make the most out of their investment.

Paul Christodoulou, chief executive of Aqua Properties, says,

“Take all factors into consideration. What are the rental yields you can expect from the property? Is the area in demand and will it be in the future? Is the community well developed and well connected? What are the amenities?”

“Set a budget for yourself and research what kind of units are available, their prices as well as the payment plans being offered,” Mr. Youssef says.

“Finally, choose the property that ticks all or most of your requirements,”  Mr. Christodoulou says.

2. Legal Requirements 

Ownership restrictions

Foreign investors can purchase property in Dubai in designated areas known as freehold areas. However, ownership restrictions may apply to certain nationalities or individuals based on their profession. It’s important to research the ownership restrictions before investing in a property in Dubai.

Visa requirements

Investors may be eligible for a residency visa upon purchasing property in Dubai. The visa requirements may vary based on the property value and type of property purchased. It’s important to consult with a reputable lawyer to understand the visa requirements and process.

Property registration process

In Dubai, The property registration process involves obtaining several documents, including a no-objection certificate from the developer, payment of transfer fees, and registration with the Dubai Land Department. Understanding the registration process and associated fees can help ensure a smooth and successful transaction.

3. Property types and locations

Dubai is known for its luxury properties, and there are various types of properties available for purchase. It’s essential to understand the different types of properties before making a decision.

Property types

  1. Apartments – Dubai has a vast selection of apartments, ranging from studios to large penthouses.
  2. Villas – Dubai has a wide range of villas, including townhouses, detached villas, and mansions.
  3. Commercial properties – Dubai is a hub for businesses, and there are many commercial properties available for purchase.

Popular locations

  1. Downtown Dubai – Home to the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, and a vast selection of luxury apartments and hotels.
  2. Dubai Marina – A waterfront community with a wide range of apartments, restaurants, and leisure facilities.
  3. Palm Jumeirah – A man-made island that is home to some of the most luxurious villas and apartments in Dubai.
  4. Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) – A popular area for beachfront apartments and hotels.
  5. Arabian Ranches – A residential community offering villas and townhouses with a suburban feel.

It’s crucial to choose the right location based on your lifestyle and needs. Some areas may be more suitable for families, while others may be better for single professionals or those looking for a bustling nightlife scene. It’s also important to consider proximity to schools, hospitals, and other amenities.

4. Age Of The Building

Dubai is a relatively new city, with most of its buildings either newly constructed or still under development. The oldest buildings in Dubai are no more than 15 years old, and as the city continues to grow rapidly, new developments are constantly emerging.

Off-plan properties in Dubai have always been in high demand due to the significant interest of local and international investors in purchasing property in Dubai. Off-plan properties are often preferred for their affordability and flexible payment plans.

However, when deciding, it’s important to consider your specific requirements. If you prefer a ready-to-move property in Dubai, then off-plan properties may not be your best choice. In this case, it’s crucial to pay attention to the age of the building when considering your options.

Developer’s Warranty

In Dubai, the developer is responsible for any property malfunctions for up to one year after completion and for damages in the building’s structure up to 10 years after completion. New properties in Dubai are likely covered under this warranty, while owners of buildings older than 10 years are responsible for repairs. 

Newer properties are built to the latest safety standards and investing in them is recommended. However, older properties in Dubai still have high construction and maintenance standards and are not a bad investment choice.

5. Property Condition

In some countries, the seller is required to provide an inspection report to the buyer when selling a property. In Dubai, however, buyers can ask their realtor to arrange a visit to the property so that they can inspect it themselves or hire a private company to do it for them. While most buildings in Dubai are of high quality, it is up to the buyer’s discretion whether to conduct an inspection or not.

6. Property taxes

Dubai is known for its favorable tax system, with no income tax or capital gains tax. However, there are property taxes that buyers should be aware of when purchasing a property.

Overview of property taxes in Dubai

  1. Property owners in Dubai are required to pay an annual property tax called the Dubai Land Department (DLD) fee.
  2. The DLD fee is 4% of the property’s value and is payable in two installments.
  3. There is also a one-time transfer fee of 4% of the property’s value when transferring ownership.

How to calculate property taxes

  1. To calculate the DLD fee, multiply the property’s value by 4%.
  2. For example, if the property is valued at AED 2 million, the DLD fee would be AED 80,000.

It’s essential to budget for property taxes when purchasing a property in Dubai. Buyers should also be aware of any other fees associated with owning a property, such as service charges and maintenance fees.

7. Price Evaluation

After concluding the process of searching for the ideal property based on location, project, and building type, it’s important to understand the pricing evaluation in Dubai’s real estate market. While Dubai may offer more affordable prices compared to other major cities in the world, this shouldn’t be the only criteria for comparison.

To accurately determine the value of a property, it’s essential to seek advice from a knowledgeable professional. This will help investors gain a better understanding of the local market trends and determine the fair value of a property. One effective method of assessing a property’s worth is to examine recent sales records of similar properties within the same building or neighborhood.

8. Financing options

Investing in real estate often requires significant financial resources, and buyers may not always have the funds needed to purchase a property outright. Fortunately, there are various financing options available to assist buyers in Dubai.

Firstly, buyers can consider obtaining a mortgage loan from a local bank or financial institution. Most banks in Dubai offer mortgage products with competitive interest rates, and buyers can choose from a range of repayment plans and options.

Another financing option available in Dubai is to apply for a loan directly from the developer. Many developers offer payment plans that allow buyers to pay for their property in installments, either over a fixed period or until the property is completed.

It’s essential to carefully consider the terms and conditions of any financing options before making a decision. Buyers should assess the interest rates, repayment periods, and additional fees or charges associated with each option to ensure they make an informed decision that aligns with their financial capabilities and investment goals.

9. Hidden costs

When purchasing a property in Dubai, it’s important to be aware of potential hidden costs that may arise during the process. Some common hidden costs to consider include:

  • Agency fees: Buyers may need to pay a fee to the real estate agency they work with to find and purchase the property. This fee is typically a percentage of the property value and is negotiated between the buyer and agency.
  • Transfer fees: Buyers are typically responsible for paying transfer fees, which cover the cost of transferring the property ownership from the seller to the buyer. These fees can vary based on the property value and are usually paid by the buyer.
  • Maintenance fees: Many properties in Dubai are part of a community or building that requires regular maintenance and upkeep. Buyers should be aware of any maintenance fees associated with their property and factor them into their budget.
  • Utility fees: Buyers may also need to pay for utilities such as electricity, water, and gas. These fees can vary based on usage and are typically paid on a monthly basis.
  • Insurance fees: It’s important to insure your property in Dubai, and buyers should be aware of the cost of insurance and factor it into their budget.

By considering these potential hidden costs and factoring them into their budget, buyers can ensure they are fully prepared for the costs associated with purchasing a property in Dubai.

10. Real Estate Features And Amenities

When purchasing a property, it’s important to carefully examine the amenities available in the subdivision or location. While features such as a large, all-inclusive gym or kid-friendly advancements may seem attractive, it’s important to consider whether they align with your long-term interests and goals. 

For instance, if fitness isn’t a long-term passion, investing in a property with an extensive gym may not be worthwhile. Similarly, kid-friendly amenities may not be a priority if you don’t plan to start a family in the near future.

11. Understanding the Sale Process

To ensure a successful property investment in Dubai, it’s important to understand the sales process. This includes obtaining necessary approvals, signing a sales contract, and registering the property with the Dubai Land Department. It’s important to work with a reputable real estate agent and consult a legal advisor to ensure a smooth and transparent transaction.

“Ask your broker to talk you through all the steps involved – from how to make an offer, the negotiation process, the paperwork required, obtaining the no-objection certificate, transfer appointments and the handover,” Mr. Allsopp says.

12. Real estate agent

Before buying property in Dubai, it’s important to work with a reputable and experienced real estate agent who can help you navigate the market and find the right property for your needs. Real estate agents in Dubai play a crucial role in the buying process and can provide valuable insights and guidance.

Some of the key roles of a real estate agent in Dubai include:

  1. Providing guidance on the buying process: Real estate agents can help you understand the buying process in Dubai and provide guidance on the steps involved.
  2. Finding suitable properties: Agents can help you find properties that meet your criteria and budget.
  3. Arranging property viewings: Agents can arrange property viewings and accompany you on site visits.
  4. Negotiating deals: Agents can negotiate with sellers on your behalf and help you get the best deal possible.
  5. Handling paperwork: Agents can handle the paperwork involved in the buying process and ensure that all documents are in order.

When choosing a real estate agent in Dubai, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable and experienced agent who has a good track record of helping buyers find the right properties.

Masar Al Ameen Group is a Dubai-based real estate agency that can help investors by providing market insights and identifying investment opportunities. They can also assist investors in navigating the legal and regulatory landscape of real estate investing in Dubai.


Buying a property in Dubai can be a great investment opportunity for both local and international buyers. However, it’s crucial to do thorough research, assess the market, and consider all the important factors before making a decision. By considering these factors, you can make a well-informed decision and ensure a smooth and successful property investment in Dubai.

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