Home General How to buy real estate in Dubai as a non-resident?

How to buy real estate in Dubai as a non-resident?


The Off Plan Properties in Dubai market in Dubai opened to foreigners in 2002. Since then, it has attracted a lot of buyers among expats and foreign investors. Foreigners have the right to purchase property in emphyteutic lease areas , which tend to be close to the city center, or in freehold areas , which are spread throughout the emirate. The number of units available to foreigners has increased dramatically over time with an abundance of apartments, villas and townhouses currently for sale.

Residential properties or  Off Plan Properties in Dubai in Dubai have remained tax-sheltered after the introduction of a value added tax in the United Arab Emirates in 2018. These properties are either zero-rated or tax-exempt.

Another advantage of investing in property in Dubai is that foreigners (and their dependents) receive a residential visa if they invest at least EUR 240 million (AED 1 million) in freehold property with title deed. valid (in other words, this visa is not valid for those who have invested in off-plan properties). The residence visas available are as follows:

  • 3-year renewable visa if the investment is 240 million euros (1 million AED) or more
  • 5-year renewable visa if the investment is 1.2 million euros (5 million AED) or more
  • Renewable 5-year visa for “retirees” over 55, if the investment is 485,000 euro (2 million AED) or more

The process of buying  Off Plan Properties in Dubai is relatively straightforward. The foreign buyer simply needs to hold a valid passport – a resident visa is not required . The buyer can work with an on-site real estate agent or directly with the developer to find the right property and complete the necessary paperwork.

According to Knight Frank consultants, the average length of a transaction in Dubai is 30 days from the date of signing the sales contract.

How to choose the right property?

Dubai offers a wide selection of  Off Plan Properties in Dubai, villas and houses for sale in freehold areas, with many developers and communities to choose from. The listings on Properstar are a great place to start the hunt for real estate.

To get started, here are some questions and points to consider:

  • Apartment or Villa / Townhouse ? Apartment buildings tend to cluster along the main road, Sheikh Zayed Road , or near the coast in communities such as Jumeirah Beach Residence , Dubai Marina , Greens, and Jumeirah Lake Towers . Some villas are located near the coast, but they are quite limited in number and rarely available for sale.

The villas and townhouses are concentrated in the inner areas such as Emirates Hills, Meadows and Spring as well as in many inner areas such as Arabian Ranches, Dubai Sports City and Jumeirah Village Circle. Several inland communities such as Jumeirah Village Circle and Dubai Motor City also contain many apartment buildings.

 Ready to inhabit or off plan?

Apartments and villas / houses and  Off Plan Properties in Dubai are available as an off-plan investment, and usually at attractive rates. The developer will usually present a plan for the whole community and floor plans for the available units. Some developers will have an exhibition house to understand the volumes and plan the layout.

 Goods purchased off-plan carry an element of risk . Delays in construction and delays in key collection are very common these days. Very occasionally, a project can get stuck or even completely canceled. Payments for goods purchased off plan are actually a reflection of the progress of construction work, with various systems offered by different developers.

An off-plan asset can be resold before it is completed, but developers usually need a portion of the payment to be released before it can be transferred to a new buyer.

An investment for rent or a family home?

If the property is being purchased with a view to letting, study the current rental yields in different communities using tools such as the Property Monitor’s Rent Index and the Dubai Land Department’s Calculator . Also take into account the age of the apartment building or villa, this can impact the resale value of the property.

Freehold Ownership – Buying Guide

The process of buying a residential property varies depending on whether the property is purchased directly from the developer or from a previous owner. Generally, the process of purchasing completed properties is as follows.

1 Visit / inspection of the unit for sale.

Be sure to use a real estate companies in Dubai agent, and avoid visiting one and the same property with multiple realtors, as this can lead to a dispute over who deserves the commission. The seller must be in possession of the title deed of the good. The Dubai Land Department offers authentication services, if required.

  1. Compromise of sale or Memorandum of understanding between buyer and seller.

At this point, an advance (usually 10% of the sale price) is made on behalf of the seller. If the purchase is made directly from a developer, a brokerage commission will generally not be charged.

  1. Funding


Any mortgages or overdue payments on behalf of the property must be paid before the sale is finalized (this amount includes any possible mortgage cancellation fees). If the property is purchased with a new home loan, the buyer’s bank will likely visit the property to perform an appraisal. Usually, a 25% deposit is required from overseas buyers.

  1. The Certificate of No Objection.

A NOC or certificate of no objection from the developer is a mandatory condition when transferring ownership of an asset to a new owner. The seller takes care of the NOC and ensures that all service charges and maintenance invoices are paid in order to obtain this document. The NOC may be subject to an administrative charge, paid by the seller. The developer may also require a deposit from the buyer which is refunded when a copy of the new title deed is presented.

  1. Registration with the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

The presence of the buyer and the seller is required to complete the transaction. A power of attorney is possible in the event of impediment. If the goods are purchased directly from the real estate companies in Dubai, registration can take place at the developer’s offices.