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How does conveyancing work in the UAE?

Conveyancing is the home stretch in your home buying journey. Unfortunately, it’s also the moment you have to part ways with your hard-earned money, but at least you’ll get a new home in return.

Una pareja en su computadora portátil buscando una propiedad y comparando precios de propiedades

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring a property from one owner to another.

The benefits of using a conveyancer in the UAE

You are not legally required to use a conveyancer in the UAE, but it is extremely handy to ensure you know all the ins and outs of UAE real estate law and regulations.

A conveyancer can cover:

  • Helps identify problems and propose solutions to have the best possible chance of completing the transfer as planned

  • Keeps you updated and informed throughout the transaction

  • Drafting and confirming property transfer documents with buyer and seller

  • Complete all paperwork with the Dubai Land Department and utility companies

  • Advising on any potential issues or conditions relating to your property purchase

  • Handling the safe transfer of the final sale funds and new Title Deeds

Breaking down the property transfer process

There are usually two phases in this process:

  • The exchange of contracts, where you decide and agree on terms of sale

  • The completion process, where the legal title deed passes over to the new homeowner

In Dubai, the property transfer process can take between 3-10 weeks. Factors that may influence the process include the buyer arranging a mortgage, one of the parties being outside of the country and did not delegate a Power of Attorney, and outstanding payment to facilities management, just to name a few.

Making an offer

Once you’ve found the property that ticks all your boxes, you can put in an offer. An offer is the amount of money you would be interested in paying for the property. Depending on the market, it can be highly competitive and your property consultant can help guide you on current market trends.

Keep in mind: Freehold or leasehold

If you’re buying an existing property, it’s good to check whether it is freehold or leasehold. Freehold means you own the building and the land on which it stands, whereas leasehold is a long-term lease, usually for 99 years.

Time to sign on the dotted line

Once the buyer and the seller have agreed on the basic terms and are happy to proceed with the property transfer, that’s when conveyancing can step in and help. The seller’s representative will draft the contract covering the sale's conditions, the deal's terms, the transfer date, and any outstanding particulars.

Note: It’s really important to do due diligence on the property and the party’s right to buy and sell the property.

Don’t forget about the mortgage

Suppose you will be applying for a mortgage, it is important to let the seller and their representative know as this needs to be mentioned in the contract, as subject to successfully securing a mortgage from the bank. Any delays in the mortgage process may affect the transfer date of the property.

Signed, sealed, and nearly delivered

Once the contract has been signed by both parties, the time comes to pay the security deposit.

A security deposit should be equal to 10% of the purchase price. Keep in mind that the seller can retain this amount if the buyer backs out or vice versa, the seller can be liable to pay compensation to the buyer in case of non-compliance.

Property registration and handover

The seller and buyer must be present at the Registration office. Either party can authorize a Power of Attorney, such as your conveyancer, to act on your behalf if you cannot attend in person.

Once the final payment has been made and the trustee officer hands the seller or their representative the cheques, the keys to your new home can be collected.

What are the costs of buying a property in Dubai?

Buying a property in Dubai can be a costly experience, but oh so worth it! Some of the admin costs of buying a property in Dubai include:

  • DLD fees

  • 4% of the property value

  • Admin fees: AED 430 for land or AED 40 for off-plan or AED 580 for apartments, villas and offices

  • Property registration fees

  • Properties value below AED 500,000: AED 2,000 +5% VAT

  • Properties value above AED 500,000: AED 4,000 + 5% VAT

  • Agent’s fee

  • 2% of the property value + 5% VAT

For property purchases that include a mortgage, there are additional fees including the Property Valuation fee that can cost anywhere between AED 2,500 to 3,500 + 5% VAT, and the Bank Mortgage Arrangement fee is between 0 and 1.5% of the loaned amount.

Written by Sana Telalovic

Published on 8 December 2022

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