Seeff Properties Dubai Logo | +971 4 333 9194
You are here: Seeff Properties Dubai / Latest News / Buying Property As An Expat In Dubai

Buying Property As An Expat In Dubai


Buying Property As An Expat In Dubai

Category Chris' CNN

When it comes to the real estate market, Dubai is a distinguished name. The megacity offers an abundance of property choices to investors. Moreover, tax-free rental yield and impressive ROI on the latest developments in the city have spiked the interest of foreign investors. 

Expats can own property in designated freehold areas in the city, adhering to certain rules. However, this venture demands a proper understanding of Dubai’s real estate sector, where legal regulations and market intricacies play pivotal roles. 

That said, we have penned a detailed guide on buying property in Dubai as an expat. From legal considerations to fee charges, let’s go through all the details. 


Dubai’s real estate market offers expats a unique opportunity to invest in a dynamic and cosmopolitan city. Up until 2002, non-residents weren’t allowed to invest in the city’s property market. However, certain laws were introduced that allowed foreigners to buy property in dubai.

Moving forward, here are the details of an expat’s guide to buying property in Dubai. 


When you plan to buy a property in the emirate, make sure you are aware of the rules for buying property in the UAE as an expat. 

Regulation No. 3 (Determining Areas for Ownership by Non-Nationals of Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai) of 2006, specifically Article 3, explains the zones open for non-national real estate ownership in Dubai. 

This regulation identifies certain land plots as freehold properties where foreign individuals, including non-residents and expatriate residents, can acquire unrestricted freehold ownership rights. The ownership options extend to usufruct rights and leasehold rights for durations of up to 99 years. 

Moreover, the issuance of the title deed falls under the jurisdiction of the Dubai Land Department, providing a regulated process for property ownership. The city imposes no age restrictions on individuals seeking to own property, further enhancing the accessibility of property ownership in the region.

That said, expats can purchase property in freehold property areas in Dubai. Some of these areas include Dubai Marina, Business Bay, Dubai Harbour and Mirdif. For both apartments and villas, expats can opt for Palm Jumeirah, JVT, JVC, Motor City and Damac Hills. In addition, Expats investing in Dubai’s mainland need a Dubai property investor visa. 


After you’ve familiarised yourself with the property ownership laws for expats, it is time to navigate through different property types in the emirate. These include apartments, townhouses, villas and lofts available for sale in the freehold property areas in Dubai. Also, select whether you want to opt for a ready or an off-plan property. 

Once you’ve picked the type of property you wish to buy, you can then select the preferred ownership structure. Expats in Dubai can choose from freehold and leasehold property ownership. Both types come with certain rules and have their merits. 

Leasehold implies the right to use a property for a specific duration (up to 99 years), while freehold entails complete ownership of both the property and the land. Case in point, the decision between these options depends on individual preferences, long-term plans and investment objectives.


The next step in buying property in Dubai as an expat is to seek professional advice. A Seeff Dubai real estate agent, an advisor or a financial consultant offers valuable insights, helping navigate legalities, market trends and financial considerations. Their guidance ensures informed decisions and a smoother property acquisition process. Our agents may also help you select different payment plans for buying a property in Dubai. 


When buying property in Dubai as an expat, a primary focus should be on managing finances and establishing a clear budget. Understanding the total cost of the property, including transaction fees, taxes and associated expenses, is crucial. Expats should conduct a thorough financial assessment, factoring in mortgages for non-residents in Dubai.

In addition, there are certain home loans for expats in the UAE. These help ensure that the property investment aligns with one’s financial capacity and long-term goals. Also, go through these hidden costs of buying and owning a property in Dubai.


There are several benefits of buying a property in Dubai. Expatriates exploring Dubai’s property market should take into account various essential factors when selecting a property.

  • Location: Assess proximity to workplaces, schools, amenities and public transport. Consider the neighbourhood’s overall atmosphere and future development plans.
  • Budget and Affordability: Establish a clear budget that includes all associated costs. Explore financing options and mortgage rates if needed.
  • Type of Property: Decide between townhouses, apartments and villas based on lifestyle and preferences. Consider the property’s size and layout, as per your requirements when browsing through houses for sale in Dubai.
  • Legal Considerations: Make note of the legalities of property ownership for expats. Ensure compliance with regulations and seek professional advice.
  • Developer Research: Research the different property developers in Dubai and their projects. Former projects and customer reviews can provide insights into quality and reliability.
  • Amenities and Facilities: Evaluate the available amenities such as parks, gyms and security features. Assess the quality of shared facilities within the property.
  • Resale Value and Investment Potential: Consider the potential resale value of the property. Analyse the investment potential, taking into account market trends.
  • Infrastructure and Accessibility: Look into the quality of infrastructure in the vicinity. Ensure ease of access to major roads and Dubai public transportation.


The following documents are required to buy a villa or apartment for sale in Dubai as a non-resident foreigner :

  • A valid passport.
  • Evidence of Dubai residency status, such as a visa or permit.
  • Income proof, including salary slips.
  • Verification of your current address.
  • Bank statements demonstrating the financial capability to afford the property.


When buying a house in Dubai as an expat, you must first register it with the Dubai Land Department (DLD) and pay its fees. These fees comprise 4% of the purchase price with an administrative fee of AED 580for apartments and offices, AED 40 for off-plan projects and AED 430 for land. Additionally, there are property registration fees contingent on the property’s value. 

Properties that cost below AED 500,000 incur a fee of AED 2,000 plus 5% VAT, while those above AED 500,000 attract a fee of AED 4,000 plus 5% VAT. Mortgage registrations have a cost of 0.25% of the loan amount plus AED 290. Real estate agent fees, ranging from 2-4% of the purchase price plus 5% VAT and Oqood contract fees (in case of purchase from a developer), also contribute to the overall financial considerations.

After the completion of the transaction and the transfer of property ownership, there are ongoing annual service fees to account for. These fees are collected by the Owners Association or Property Management Company, based on the RERA Service Charge and Maintenance Index monitored by the Dubai Land Department. 


Here’s the procedure to buy and register your property as an expat in Dubai. 

  • Confirm eligibility for expatriate property ownership in Dubai.
  • Choose a property based on preferences and budget.
  • Conduct due diligence on the property, including developer reputation and legal compliance.
  • Evaluate financial capacity and secure necessary financing.
  • Sign a sales agreement with the property seller.
  • Obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) if buying from a developer.
  • Visit the Dubai Land Department (DLD) to submit the required documents.
  • Pay the fees for property registration and administrative charges.
  • DLD verifies documents and registers the property in the buyer’s name.
  • Receive the title deed from the DLD, confirming ownership.
  • Fulfil post-registration obligations, including annual service fee payments.


After purchasing a property in Dubai as a foreigner, you must consider various factors to ensure a smooth and successful ownership experience. Key considerations include:

  • Fulfil annual service charges and maintenance fees.
  • Ensure ongoing legal compliance with property ownership regulations.
  • Consider obtaining property insurance for protection.
  • Explore resale or rental opportunities based on market trends.
  • Regularly maintain and care for the property to preserve its value.
  • Engage with the local community and participate in association activities.
  • Be aware of tax implications related to property ownership.
  • Safeguard all legal documents, including the title deed and sales agreement.
  • Continuously assess financial readiness for potential future expenses.
  • If you want to rent out your property, acquire a property management permit from DLD. 
  • In case you are not in the city, we at Seeff Dubai have agents to manage your property.




Expats can purchase property in freehold areas of Dubai which include Palm Jumeirah, Downtown Dubailand Mirdif, among others. 


Expats can have freehold property ownership where they have complete ownership of the land and the property. Meanwhile, leasehold property ownership allows leasing the property unit for up to 99 years. 

All in all, these were the steps involved in buying property in Dubai as an expat. Moreover, the real estate landscape in Dubai is quite dynamic. It’s crucial to stay updated on the latest regulations and market conditions. 

Author D.B
Published 20 Jan 2024 / Views -
Disclaimer:  While every effort will be made to ensure that the information contained within the Seeff Properties Dubai website is accurate and up to date, Seeff Properties Dubai makes no warranty, representation or undertaking whether expressed or implied, nor do we assume any legal liability, whether direct or indirect, or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information. Prospective purchasers and tenants should make their own enquiries to verify the information contained herein.