The process of buying a residential property in Dubai

The process of buying a residential property in Dubai

Buying a property in Dubai is a very straightforward procedure. However, experts recommend engaging the professional services of a reputable agent. The agent's expertise and market knowledge will help you find the right property for your needs.

You can also read: 3 tips to finding the right real estate agent in Dubai

Whether you are buying an off-plan or secondary market property for investment or personal use, an agent can recommend suitable projects or areas to get the best deal in the market.

We are here to walk you through the process.

What is the property buying process in Dubai?

A property transaction in Dubai involves five steps

  1. Due diligence before exchange
  2. Exchange
  3. Pre-completion
  4. Completion
  5. Post completion

Due Diligence Before Exchange

Off-plan properties

During this phase, the Buyer submits its inquiries to the developer. The developer will provide the pieces of information and requirements needed to start the buying process. This includes the title information, the SPA (Sale and Purchase Agreement), payment plan, etc. The developer will also provide the unit's availability and other relevant documentation.

Secondary market

Buying a secondary market property requires more steps.
The first step is to review the title information and then raise formal inquiries with the seller. The Buyer can also negotiate the price with the property owner and put an offer on the table. This might help reduce the asking price for the property.
Carrying out a thorough physical inspection of the property is a must!

PS: If the Buyer wishes to proceed with the buying process, official documents like Emirates ID copy, Passport copy, residency visa copy should be submitted, and the sales team will run a security check on the Buyer.


The exchange process is legally binding as the Buyer, and the seller will be signing an official contract to start the buying process officially. There might be some penalties if the Buyer withdraws.


Following the contract signing, the Buyer should deposit the first installment payment towards the purchase price. The payments should only be made into the project's escrow account. The developer will then provide a set of receipts issued by the DLD and an interim title registration certificate.

Secondary Market

The Dubai Land Department {DLD) has introduced standard forms of contracts which the parties must enter into in respect of the transaction. These forms only cover essential legal terms, and in practice, the parties will prepare a set of additional terms to address various other contractual provisions. The buyer is providing the seller with a deposit; due consideration should be given to how the deposit will be held and released.


Off-Plan Properties

During this phase, the Buyer will have the opportunity to visit and inspect the property.
If some things need to be rectified, he can send a snagging list to the developer and ask to fix the problems before the handover date.

Secondary Market

Both Buyer and seller must obtain the owners' association consent to transfer the property's title deed to the Buyer. Additional consent forms might also be required, such as the DLD's consent.
The Buyer must also prepare all required managers' cheques and documents, especially corporate documents of foreign entities, which may take several weeks to notarize and legalize, so it's better to prepare them in advance.


Off-Plan Properties

The developer will notify the Buyer by sending an email once the project's construction has been completed and the unit is ready to be handed over.
The developer may require the Buyer to pay service charges and the balance of the purchase price. Once the payment is made, the developer will have the property's title deed registered with DLD.

Secondary Market

The Buyer will now be able to transfer the property's title deed to his name by visiting one
of the Dubai Land Department's Real Estate Registration Trustees' offices. The purchase price should be fully paid to the seller.
The Buyer will also be required to pay the DLD and the agent's fees of 4% and 2% of the purchase price, respectively.

Post Completion

Now that the new landlord has finally registered the property title deed to his name, he should notify all relevant utility providers (DEWA, district cooling provider…).
A new account under the name of the new landlord will be created. If a tenant already occupies the property, the new landlord should notify the tenant and confirm that all future payments should be made to his account.

Following completion, the buyer should:
Notify all relevant utility providers of the transfer of title and create a new account in their name. If the property is tenanted, then notice should be sent to the tenant in respect of the transfer and to confirm that all future payments should be made to the buyer.

If you are a first-time real estate buyer, read our article 4 tips for first-time landlords

Still have questions in mind? Click here to contact Urban team!