How To Buy Real Estate In The UAE | 10 Step Road

How To Buy Real Estate In The UAE

Citizens of the UAE can buy any property anywhere within the UAE freely and gain full ownership and so do the citizens of the GCC. Nevertheless, foreigners can buy real estate in the UAE in designated areas called freehold and leasehold zones and under certain regulations. In this blog, we will walk you through those regulations in detail.

Research the market:

The real estate market in the UAE is a thriving and fast-expanding one. You have to determine whether you want to buy the unit for investment or personal use. Search and understand the returns of different property types including residential apartments, commercial hubs, villas, twin houses, offices, plots and more.

Pick the location:

To do so, research the different zones in the different cities of the UAE. Freehold zones in Dubai include Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai. Abu Dhabi has Yas Island, Saadiyat Island, and Khalifa City. You may also consider Al Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah.

According to your aim of purchasing the property, consider the needed amenities from public transportation, schools, malls, parks and so on.

Check also: Properties For Sale In Abu Dhabi

Consider the legal eligibility:

In Dubai, you can own a property either with a freehold ownership with no restrictions or with a leasehold that gives rights over the property for 99 years.

In Abu Dhabi, expats are allowed to own the units, but not the lands, through one of the following systems:

  • Ownership
  • Long-term lease
  • Musataha
  • Usufruct

In Sharjah, foreigners don’t have the right to own properties but have the right to usufruct for a maximum of 100 years.

Financing your purchase:

Cash will always be the best option; however, it is never the only option. The down payment system is vastly used to buy real estate in the UAE. Expatriates usually pay around 20 – 25% of the full property price as a downpayment. 

Another option is mortgages; some banks in the UAE offer mortgages for expats to purchase properties in the country. Some paperwork will be requested including a copy of your passport, a monthly income, and place of residency.   

Choose the property:

It may be confusing to pick the right property with such a pool of options. Our advice for you is to use the help of either a licensed real estate broker who works for a legitimate agency or an Authorised online platform like Casttio.

Check also: Residential Apartments for Sale in The UAE with Casttio

Prepare the contract:

Sit with the seller to highlight the terms of the contract. Make things clear considering the way of payment, the schedule and the pricing. Ask the seller for a definitive date for receiving the property.

You can negotiate the price with the seller and your agent may help you with that; no problem.

Sales agreement and deposit:

After you implement the previous, you need to pay a security deposit which is usually about 10% of the property value to secure the property.

Afterwards, sign the Memorandum of Understanding MOU form, which you can download from the site of the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

Apply for a No Objection Certificate (NOC):

A quick contact with the developer to obtain an NOC; if there are no charges or bills on the property, the developer will issue the certificate. Once you have the NOC, the ownership transfer can be finalised.

Transferring the ownership:

It takes place in a relevant land department such as Dubai Land Department or Abu Dhabi Municipality. It takes a few steps, which are:

  • Submitting the documents
  • Verification of the data
  • Paying the fees and completing the payment
  • Receiving the output through email


Once you receive the title deed, feel free to set up any maintenance, utilities and services your new property needs.

FAQs about how to buy real estate in the UAE:

Can foreigners buy real estate in the UAE, and where?

Yes. Foreigners and expats can buy real estate in the UAE only in designated areas called freehold and leasehold zones.

What kind of visa is needed to buy real estate in the UAE?

You don’t need a visa to buy a property in the UAE. However, buying properties can offer you investor or golden visas.

Is there an age limit for investing in real estate in Dubai?

There are no age restrictions for investing in real estate. You just need to be carrying a valid passport.

Join The Discussion

Compare listings