For off-plan or new construction projects, buyers will need to pay land registration fees of around 4% of the property value and annual charges for maintenance that depend on the project.

For resale properties, buyers will need to pay the above charges in addtion to a 1% to 2% transfer fee. This fee depends on whether the asset is complete or under construction.

All buyers of off-plan and resale properties typically need to pay 2% to 5% of the transaction amount to a real estate agent as agent fees.  Always confirm with the Dubai Land Department that the developer and the project are properly registered.  This can be done on the Dubai Land Department’s website.

Check that the payment terms for the property also comply with the local laws. This includes the purchase price and any other property-related payments, such as maintenance and registration fees.

Whether you are a UAE National or an expatriate buying property in the UAE, choose your real estate agents carefully and confirm that all payments are being transferred to the property owner and that all documents are signed prior to money changing hands.  Only work with RERA approved agents.

By law, there is no requirement to have a lawyer act for you when buying property, but it is strongly recommended that you seek professional advice from lawyers experienced in local real estate laws.  Large sums of money are changing hands and you may be signing a document you do not understand the conditions of.

Inheritance issues are something you must consider before buying an apartment or villa.  The inheritance process is based on a number of factors, such as whether the owner is a non-Muslim and whether or not a will exists.  UAE real estate may be more safely bought through an offshore company with shares passing on in accordance with the laws of the offshore vehicle’s country of domicile.

Finally, always remember that the value of your real estate holdings can always go down. The UAE real estate market is still a nascent and unpredictable one.

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