Can You Buy, Sell and Rent Property as a Foreigner in Dubai

Can You Buy, Sell and Rent Property as a Foreigner in Dubai?

Dubai is one of the most attractive destinations for foreigners looking to invest in property.

After all, owning a property in an ultra modern metropolis like Dubai means owning a piece of prime real estate that can give you excellent returns in the long run.

But the common question is: can you buy, sell and rent property in Dubai as a foreigner?

The good news is: Dubai is one of the most welcoming cities to foreigners, even when it comes to property investments. So, you can definitely buy a house in Dubai.

In this article, we’ll talk about everything that you need to know to buy, sell and rent property as a foreigner in Dubai.

Buying Property as a Foreigner in Dubai

Buying Property as a Foreigner in Dubai
Image source: Nextvoyage

Full ownership of properties in Dubai used to only be allowed for residents and locals in the city.

But in 2002, the Dubai Government announced a new law that allows foreigners to fully own a property in the city, as long as it’s in a freehold area. 

Freehold areas are designated land plots around the city where foreigners can fully own a property. 

These freehold areas are listed in Article 3 of Regulation No.3 of 2006 Determining Areas for Ownership by Non-Nationals of Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai.

Freehold Areas in Dubai
Freehold Areas for ApartmentsFreehold Areas for VillasFreehold Areas for Villas and Apartments
ArjanArabian RanchesAl Barari
Barsha HeightsArabian Ranches 2Al Furjan
Bluewaters IslandArabian Ranches 3Al Khail Heights
Business BayEmirates HillsAl Warsan
Culture VillageJumeirah IslandsDAMAC Hills
Discovery GardensJumeirah ParkDubai Festival City
Downton DubaiREEMDubai Hills Estate
Dubai Creek HarbourThe LakesDubai Silicon Oasis
Dubai HarbourThe MeadowsDubai South
Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)The Sustainable CityDubai Sports City
Dubai Investment Park (DIP)The SpringsDubai Waterfront
Dubai MarinaThe VillaDubailand
Dubai Production CityInternational City
Dubai Residence ComplexJumeirah
Dubai Science ParkJumeirah Golf Estates
Dubai Studio CityJumeirah Village Circle (JVC)
Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)Jumeirah Village Triangle (JVT)
Jumeirah HeightsMeydan City
Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT)Mohammed Bin Rashid City (MBR City)
LiwanMotor City
Mirdif HillsMudon
Mirdif TulipPalm Jumeirah
Old TownThe World Islands
Park Gate ResidencesTilal Al Ghaf
RemraamTown Square
The GreensWadi Al Safa 2
The Views

You also have the option to invest in a leasehold property, which means that you will buy the right to a property for up to 99 years.

During this time,  you can live in the property or rent it out as long as you don’t do any alterations or changes to the property.

Once the leasehold period is done, all the rights of the property will go back to its owner.

The Difference Between a Freehold and Leasehold Property
A freehold property is one where no other entity has no hold over the property except for its owner. He/she can use the property for whatever purpose due to full ownership.A leasehold property is one where the lessee will have rights to the property but only for a certain period of time and with limitations.

How to Buy a Property in Dubai

How to Buy a Property in Dubai
Image source: Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Buying a house in Dubai as a foreigner is relatively easy. In fact, you’ll only need to present a valid passport to confirm your identity as a buyer.

You should also prepare to pay for these fees aside from the actual cost of the house that you’d like to purchase as a real estate investment in Dubai:

Type of FeeAmount
Dubai Land Department Fees• 4% of the total sale price

• $157.90 Admin fee for apartments and offices

• $117.07 for land

• $10.89 for off-plan properties

Dubai Land Department Mortgage Registration Fees• 0.25% of the total loan amount plus $78.95
Property Registration Fee• $544.50 + 5% VAT for properties valued below $136,124.80

• $1,089 + 5% VAT for properties valued above $136,124.80

Conveyancing Fee• Between $1,633.50 and $2,722.50
Real Estate Agent Fees• 2% of the total sale price + 5% VAT
Property Valuation Fee• Between $680.62 and $952.87 + 5% VAT
Bank Mortgage Arrangement Fee• 1% of the total loan amount + 5% VAT

Here are the steps that you need to follow to buy a house in Dubai with the help of a real estate agent:

  1. Creating the contract

After choosing a property to invest on, you need to sit down with the seller to outline the terms in your contract, especially when it comes to the payment.

Most sellers prefer that you pay cash and would often give you a lower price for the purchase. But you can also apply for a mortgage with one of the banks in Dubai.

  1. Signing the MOU

All property purchases in Dubai will go through the Dubai Land Department and one of the most important steps to closing the sale is signing the sale agreement.

More popularly known as the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), you and the seller will need to go to the Registration Trustee office to sign this document with your contract.

  1. Applying for a No Objection Certificate

Before ownership could be transferred to you as the new owner of the property, you’ll need to apply for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) first.

You, the seller and your real estate agent will need to set up a meeting with the property developer for the NOC issuance.

  1. Transferring the ownership

Once the NOC for the property is issued, you need to visit the Dubai Land Department to formalize the transfer of ownership under your name.

Here, you’ll be required to bring documents such as the Signed MOU, the original NOC, identification documents of the buyer and seller, and a manager’s check for the property.

Did you know?

You can apply for a residence visa after investing in property in Dubai. A 10-year visa will be granted to investors buying residential properties in freehold areas with a minimum investment of $545,000.

You can pay half the amount in cash and take out a mortgage with a bank in Dubai or the UAE for the remaining amount.

Selling Property as a Foreigner in Dubai

Selling Property as a Foreigner in Dubai
Image source: Eslam Tawakol on Unsplash

The Dubai real estate market has always been lucrative, which is also why property prices in the city have continued to rise.

Although a recent report said that property prices may increase at a slower pace this year, there’s still a huge appetite for properties, especially in ideal locations in the city.

As a foreigner, the government allows you to sell your property in Dubai as long as it’s under full ownership and not a leasehold property.

How to Sell a Property in Dubai

If you’re selling a property in Dubai for the first time, the process could be long and tedious, especially since the market is quite competitive.

Here are the steps that you need to follow:

  1. Find a real estate agent.

With such a vast and competitive market in Dubai, working with a good real estate agent is a must.

All legitimate real estate agents in Dubai are registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) and know the rules imposed by the Dubai Land Department (DLD). 

After you’ve chosen the right real estate agent to work with, you need to sign the RERA Form A, which formalizes your agreement with the broker in selling your property.

  1. Market your property.

If you want to sell your property fast, you need to find ways to let potential buyers in Dubai know about it.

You can advertise with real estate agencies or you can work with your real estate agent in making sure that your property is properly staged and ready for viewings.

  1. Prepare the contract and Form F.

Once you and the buyer have come to an agreement for the sale of the property, you need to prepare the contract and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Also known as Form F, this document should contain all the important details for the sale including its price, transfer date and selling costs.

  1. Secure the NOC.

As the seller, you need to secure a No Objection Certificate (NOC) with the buyer through the property developer.

You must bring the Title Deed or Oqood, a copy of the MOU and your Emirates ID or passport.

NOC issuance is usually between $136 and $1,361 and will take up to seven working days to be released.

  1. Finalize the transfer of ownership.

To formally close the deal, you need to go through the final step of the sale process, which is the transfer of ownership at the Dubai Land Department.

Here, you need to bring the copy of the title deed, NOC, Form F, original passport, visa and Emirates ID of both the buyer and seller and a cheque to the DLD.

The transfer fee is usually 4% of the total sale price of the property.

Renting Property as a Foreigner in Dubai 

Renting Property as a Foreigner in Dubai
Image source: Luxhabitat

If investing in a property is not yet in the books for you, there’s always the option to rent an apartment or villa in Dubai.

In fact, the city has some of the best residential areas in the world, each designed to be self-sustainable communities where you have everything you need in one place.

Here are some of the best areas to rent a property in Dubai depending on your budget

The Most Expensive Communities to Rent in DubaiThe Cheapest Communities to Rent in Dubai
Palm JumeirahDeira
JumeirahInternational City
Dubai MarinaDubai South
Greens and ViewsAl Muhaisnah
Downtown DubaiDubai Production City (IMPZ)
The Old TownJumeirah Village Circle (JVC)
Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)Dubai Investments Park (DIP)
The ViewsDubai Land
Business BayAl Warsan

Palm Jumeirah is still one of the most popular locations to rent a property in Dubai for its unique location and beachfront access in every villa.

Rental prices vary in these areas depending on the type of property that you want, the location and of course, the amenities available in that area.

For instance, a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai Marina would cost you around $17,968 while the same apartment would cost $27,497 in Palm Jumeirah.

On the other hand, a studio apartment would cost you $8,167 in Jumeirah Village Circle while the same apartment would cost you $9,800 in Bur Dubai.

The average annual rental prices for apartments in Dubai include:

  • $15,300 to $26,320 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city
  • $21,510 to $38,115 for a two-bedroom apartment in the city
  • 28,585 to $51,725 for a three–bedroom apartment in the city

If you’re working on a budget, make sure to do your research and compare rental prices in different parts of the city to know which suits your price point best.

How to Rent Property in Dubai

How to Rent Property in Dubai
Image source:Michal Balog on Unsplash

As a foreigner renting a property in Dubai, you need to follow certain rules including:

  • Prepare your identification. 

Landlords will need copies of your passport, Emirates ID and residence visa if you have one. 

These documents will be used to confirm your identification and help the landlord create a tenancy contract following the Dubai Tenancy Laws.

  • Prepare your payment.

In Dubai, landlords usually require a refundable security deposit equivalent to 5% of the total annual rent amount. 

You also need to pay a fee to the service agency, which is the same amount as your deposit. 

You also need to issue post dated cheques for your monthly rental payments.

  • Finalize the tenancy contract.

After your tenancy contract has been drafted and signed, it needs to be registered with Ejari, which is the city’s rental contract registration platform.

Managed by the Dubai Land Department, this portal will help authenticate tenancy contracts to protect the interest of both the tenants and landlord.

Buying, Selling and Renting Property in Dubai as a Foreigner

One of the best things about being in Dubai as a foreigner is how the city treats expats like locals. 

This means that you get almost the same privileges as a foreigner investing in property in Dubai as you would if you’re an Emirati.

The real estate market in Dubai is also growing rapidly as more developments are completed in the city.

So, if you’re looking for a good investment with excellent returns, you could try your hand at buying and selling property in Dubai.

But if you just want a place where you can live comfortably, there’s always the option to rent one of the many apartments in the city.

Are you ready to take the plunge into this type of investment?