Complete Guide for Non-Resident Buying Property in Dubai

Dubai, with its stunning skyscrapers, luxury living, and thriving business landscape, has become a magnet for investors worldwide. Its strategic location, robust economy, and investor-friendly policies make it an appealing destination for property acquisition. If you’re a non-resident foreigner considering buying property in Dubai, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the process, legalities, and essential tips to ensure a successful investment.

Why Invest in Dubai Real Estate?

Why Invest in Dubai Real Estate?

Before delving into the details of buying property in Dubai, let’s explore why it’s an enticing investment destination –

Strategic Location – Dubai acts as an international business hub, making it a prime location for international investors.

Tax Benefits – Dubai offers tax advantages, including zero capital gains tax, revenue tax, and estate tax.

Stable Economy – The city’s robust economy, driven by diverse sectors like tourism, real estate, and finance, provides stability and growth potential.

High Rental Yields – Dubai’s rental outcomes are among the most elevated globally, offering lucrative income opportunities for investors.

Foreign Ownership – Dubai allows foreigners to own freehold properties in designated areas, making it an investor-friendly market.

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Legal Framework for Non-Resident Property Buyers

Dubai’s property market is governed by several laws and regulations, and as a non-resident foreigner, it’s crucial to understand the legal framework –

Freehold Ownership – Non-residents can purchase freehold properties in designated areas. These areas are typically established as freehold zones, making it more comfortable for outsiders to own property.

Property Registration – All property transactions should be registered with the Dubai Land Department (DLD). This ensures legal protection and ownership rights.

Property Developers – Choose reputable developers with a track record of delivering quality projects. Research their history and verify their licenses with the DLD.

Oqood – Before transferring property ownership, an Oqood (preliminary sales agreement) is typically signed, outlining the terms and conditions of the sale.

Transfer Fees – Buyers are responsible for paying transfer fees, typically around 4% of the property’s purchase price, along with other associated costs.

Steps to Buy Property in Dubai

Steps to Buy Property in Dubai

Research and Budget – Begin by researching the Dubai property market, specifying your budget, and defining the kind of property you like to finance.

Choose a Location – Dubai offers various neighborhoods and communities. Contemplate elements like closeness to business centers, amenities, and lifestyle choices when picking a location.

Engage a Real Estate Agent – A local real estate agent with experience working with non-resident investors can be invaluable. They can direct you through the whole procedure.

Due Diligence – Thoroughly inspect the property, check for any outstanding debts or issues, and ensure the property complies with local regulations.

Sign a Reservation Agreement – Once you find a property, you’ll typically sign a reservation agreement and pay a booking fee.

Oqood Agreement – As mentioned earlier, you’ll sign an Oqood agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of the sale.

Mortgage Financing – If you require financing, explore mortgage options available for non-resident foreigners. The DLD typically requires a down payment of 25-35%.

Transfer of Ownership – The final step involves transferring ownership through a formal sales agreement. The DLD will register the property in your name.

Tips for Non-Resident Foreign Property Buyers

Tips for Non-Resident Foreign Property Buyers

Engage a Legal Advisor: Seek legal advice to understand the intricacies of Dubai’s property laws and regulations.

Currency Exchange: Be aware of currency interaction rates as they can impact your property purchase costs.

Visit in Person: Whenever possible, visit Dubai in person to inspect properties and meet with developers or agents.

Consider Off-Plan Properties: Off-plan properties often offer attractive payment plans and can appreciate value before completion.

Understand Service Charges: Be aware of service charges and maintenance fees associated with your property.

Resale Potential: Evaluate the resale potential of your property by considering factors like location and future developments.

Local Customs: Introduce yourself to regional customs and practices to navigate negotiations and transactions smoothly.

Eligibility Criteria for Non-Residents to Buy Property in Dubai

Eligibility Criteria for Non-Residents to Buy Property in Dubai

Foreigners looking to buy property in Dubai must meet specific eligibility criteria and adhere to the legal framework in place. Here are the key eligibility criteria –

Freehold Areas – Non-resident foreigners can purchase property in Dubai only in designated freehold areas. These areas are established by the Dubai government and are open for foreign ownership. Most of Dubai’s prime real estate areas fall under this category, including Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), and more. It’s essential to confirm that the property you are interested in is located in a freehold area.

Property Type – Foreign buyers can typically purchase residential properties such as apartments, villas, and townhouses. Commercial properties may have different regulations and eligibility criteria.

Financial Capacity – Buyers must demonstrate their financial capacity to purchase the property. This includes the ability to pay the purchase price, associated transaction costs, and any applicable taxes or fees. In most cases, purchasers are needed to deliver proof of funds.

Age of Majority – Buyers must be of the legal age of majority to enter into property transactions in Dubai. The legal age is typically 21 years or older.

Valid Passport – Foreign buyers must have a valid passport to complete property transactions. The passport is used for identity verification and documentation.

Oqood Agreement – Buyers will typically sign an Oqood agreement, which is a preliminary sales agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the sale. This agreement is registered with the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

Payment of Fees – Buyers are responsible for paying all associated fees, including the purchase price, transfer fees, agent commissions (if applicable), and other transaction-related costs.

Compliance with Regulations – Buyers must comply with all local regulations, including those related to property transactions, taxes, and ownership rights. It’s vital to perform with respected real estate agents and legal advisors to confirm adherence.

No Outstanding Debts – The property being purchased should not have any outstanding debts or issues. Buyers should conduct thorough due diligence to ensure the property is free of limitations.

Engaging Professionals – Engaging a local real estate agent and legal advisor with experience in Dubai property transactions is highly recommended. They can guide buyers through the entire process and ensure that all lawful necessities are fulfilled.

Post-Purchase Considerations

Post-Purchase Considerations

Property Management – In case you do not live in Dubai, consider hiring a property management company to oversee maintenance, rental, and other property-related matters.

Tax Implications – While Dubai offers favorable tax policies, consult a tax advisor in your home country to understand any tax implications of your Dubai property investment.

Resale or Rental – Decide whether you’ll use the property for personal purposes, rent it out for rental income, or sell it for possible capital improvements.


Dubai’s real estate market presents an array of opportunities for non-resident foreign investors seeking to diversify their investment portfolio and benefit from a thriving economy. With its stable economic environment, investor-friendly policies, and potential for high rental yields, Dubai remains an attractive destination for property investment.

However, it’s essential to approach property investment in Dubai with careful consideration, thorough research, and a solid understanding of the legal framework. Hiring local specialists, such as real estate agents and legal advisors, can significantly simplify the process and mitigate risks.

Whether you choose to buy property for personal use, rental income, or capital appreciation, Dubai offers a dynamic and evolving market that can align with your investment goals. As you embark on your property investment journey in Dubai, remember to stay informed, keep an eye on market trends, and make decisions that align with your long-term financial objectives.

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