Areas of Expertise

Real Estate

If you have decided to purchase a property in the UAE, there are a number of things to consider in order to make the process as smooth as possible, especially since there is no obligation to use a notary in the UAE. Therefore, a close examination of the contract documents is of particular importance. Our experienced lawyers at Daburon & Partners will be happy to assist and support you in your Real Estate acquisition. Among other things we check for you:

Our focus is on the following areas:

  • the contract documents, in particular the contract provisions regarding the required down payment, the possibility of cancelling the reservation or the additional fees (for example for the property management or for any ancillary costs of the complex)
  • the registration of the project and the construction progress
  • Brokering amicable settlements
  • the absence of encumbrances on the property
  • the registration of the Real Estate agency with the authorities


In addition to the still relatively affordable Real Estate prices, the UAE offer political and economic stability, a very well-developed infrastructure, and a high quality of life. They are considered to be a liberal business location. However, anyone wishing to purchase real estate in the UAE must pay attention not only to the linguistic, but also to the legal peculiarities applicable in the UAE. We at Daburon & Partners are happy to assist and support you to remove any obstacles on the way and make your Real Estate purchase as smooth as possible.
Major regulations governing the purchase of a property in Dubai can be found amongst others in the nationwide applicable Civil Code (Law No. 5 of 1985, "UAE Civil Code") and the laws of the respective emirate in which the property is located (e.g. the law regulating the temporary Real Estate registry and the law on escrow accounts in Real Estate developments). In the context of acquiring and leasing a property, the land registry authorities and their supervisory and regulatory authorities of the respective emirate are responsible.
Generally, individuals of any nationality as well as legal entities domiciled in the UAE or in certain freehold areas are eligible to purchase property. Foreign nationals, as well as companies held by foreign shareholders, can only purchase property in certain areas of the city, known as freehold areas, which have been designated by law. In Dubai, for example, these include Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, and Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC), in Abu Dhabi Al Reef, Al Raha Beach, or Masdar City. Please do not hesitate to contact Daburon & Partners. We love to help you to decide which area suits you best.
The process of purchasing a property in the UAE mainly depends on whether the property is already fully built (on-plan-project) or still under construction ("off-plan" projects).

If the seller is also the builder or project developer, a deposit on the purchase price (around 10-20% of the purchase price) is usually paid after signing a reservation agreement. This is followed by the inking of the purchase agreement, consisting of a contract form prepared by the land registry authority, which regulates the essential elements of the contract (contractual partner, object of purchase, broker, etc.) and an amendment agreement to this, the so-called "Sale and Purchase Agreement" (SPA). The provisions of the SPA are in most cases standardized and hardly negotiable, since sellers in larger projects with many individual units have an interest in concluding uniform contracts. The purchase agreement is then signed at the relevant land registry office or its affiliated auxiliary offices. It is signed directly on site by the buyer himself or a third party authorized by him.

Regarding off-plan transactions, the opening of an escrow account by the developer is mandatory by law in order to protect the buyers in the event of the cancellation of the construction project. The purchase price installments of the buyers go into this account and are only paid out according to the progress of construction, so that in the event of project abandonment, a pro-rata repayment to all buyers is guaranteed.

The procedure for off-plan transactions differs only slightly from the purchase of a property that has already been built: After signing the contract and paying all fees, the seller registers the property with the land registry authority. This registration (officially called "Oqood" in Arabic) corresponds to an entry in an official, interim property register and marks the off-plan purchase in the land register. Subsequently, the Dubai Land Department issues the buyer a certificate of oqood with details of the property for sale, the payments made to date and the payments still due.

After completion of the project and full payment of the purchase price, the title deed is issued to the buyer (nowadays usually by email). This step represents the transfer of ownership in rem; the presentation of the title deed thus has an external effect on third parties.
In addition to the purchase price there are the broker’s commission, the administrative costs which are about 4% of the purchase price, and the processing fees from the authorities amounting to several thousand AED. Furthermore, you should take in account the running costs of the property, such as ancillary costs for the operation and maintenance of the common areas (“Common Area Service Charges”).
Usually, the purchase price must be paid by check, although in most cases only checks issued by UAE banks are accepted. In individual cases, a foreign bank transfer is also possible: however, the problem here is that the purchase price would have to be received by the seller before the documents are signed. This creates an increased risk for the buyer.

Since opening a bank account in the UAE is only possible with a residence permit, payment is often made through an intermediary based in the UAE (e.g. a legal consultancy like Daburon & Partners). The investors thus make the payment to the intermediary, who then has the bank check issued through his own bank. If the buyer does not wish to personally carry out the acquisition process on site, a notarized power of attorney must be issued to the agent – if this is the case it is advisable that the intermediary also is the local agent. Our lawyers at Daburon & Partners are happy to undertake this task and operate as your intermediary.
Owning a property alone does not automatically entitle you to permanent residency in the UAE. But you can apply for a long-term residence permit in an independent procedure. The eligibility for this so-called residence visa depends, among other things, on the value of the property and its financing. In any case you need the title deed for your application.