How to buy a real estate in the UAE

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Some expats in immigration to the UAE decide on buying property in the UAE as real estate is one of the main profitable items of investment in the UAE.

Currently, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the two leading emirates in the sphere of real estate purchase. At the same time, the regulatory requirements for real estate legislation in these emirates vary.

Most of the complexities that arise when buying a property are related to the initial registration of the required documents and a lack of understanding of what constitutes the acquisition of real estate in the UAE.

The law on real estate may seem complicated, it is strongly recommended to take the advice of a specialist to assist with real estate transactions.

What the restrictions buying a property it is necessary to know when immigrating to the UAE?
Currently in the UAE there are four types of ownership of land:

Land with the right of ownership “freehold”, available only for citizens of the UAE.
Land for rent, accessible to all regardless of citizenship for a period of 1 to 99 years.
Land with the right of ownership “freehold”, accessible to all regardless of citizenship.
Land in free zones for rent, accessible to all regardless of citizenship for a period of 1 to 99 years, with the possibility of extension.

For example, in Dubai, Law No. 7 of 2006 regulates the registration of real estate and property rights in Dubai. According to this law, citizens of the emirates and citizens of the GCC countries are allowed to buy property with the right of ownership “freehold” in the emirate of Dubai.

For all the rest, the effective purchase of real estate is reduced to the acquisition of long-term lease, as well as the purchase of premises in multi-storey buildings in investment zones, which does not include the purchase of land under this building.

The term “freehold” in the context of the UAE does not mean, like in some countries, the possession of land for an unlimited period. This term can mean different things in different emirates, so potential buyers should be attentive with respect to the property rights that they acquire.

Potential buyers should understand that renting in Dubai is a contractual right, rather than a customary property right. The right to use real estate as a tenant is a personal right realized on the basis of a lease contract, and not the right associated with the acquisition of the land itself.

What should a buyer do when buying property in the UAE?

Ensure adequate funding to complete the transaction.
Receive a letter about the absence of objections from the real estate developer, which is planned to be purchased.
Find out the identity of the actual seller.
Verify that the developer and the project are registered with their status in the relevant land department.
Check encumbrances from third parties on this property.
An appropriate agreement must be made and signed.
It is necessary to assess the status of real estate, “leasing” or “freehold”, whether it is being built or built. It is also necessary to plan procedures and fees for registering this property in the name of the buyer.