Fahad Mubeen Jumani, 31, Pakistani, Hotelier
In 2003, we took over two hotel properties in Dubai without any difficulties. In 2012 we again invested in a deluxe apartment here. Financing in Dubai is smooth as the banks have well-trained and co operative staff. A number of documents were required and upon providing them we got the finance approval within the said time. All transactions are monitored by government authorities, giving confidence and comfort to the financer to invest in Dubai properties.
Arjun R, 39, Indian, IT professional
I bought my first property in 2006 and sold it to purchase another one. I took a mortgage and faced challenges as the bankers did not come up with all their documentation needs upfront. I had taken a loan for an under-construction property and banks usually don’t link to the construction of property, but to the time. I find it restrictive because if there is any problem with its development we have no control on it. For investment I feel it is better to buy ready property as it will bring in cash through rent.
Stephen Church, 51, British, General Manager in an oil and gas company
As a property investor for many years and a long-term resident of the UAE, I perceived there was little I didn’t know when it came to buying property. I have always advocated due diligence and thought I had ticked all the boxes when it came to a recent purchase in Dubai Marina. As I had some doubts about my mortgage eligibility I sought the advice of a local mortgage brokering company. As it transpired, the purchase was fraught with complexities as the original seller was not a resident of the UAE and the property in question was being sold through the developer’s payment plan. The whole process, which should have taken just a few weeks, turned into several months. Fortunately, both the developer and mortgage company assisted and resolved the issues for all concerned parties. The apartment is now rented and I have learned one more valuable lesson, if in doubt, seek professional advice.
Steven Pardoe, 31, British, Businessman
Patience is what you need when buying a house in the UAE. From estate agents who have no morals, skills or time for you, to the ridiculous mortgage applications and questions they ask. The road to buying a house here is paved with potholes. If you are lucky enough to get a mortgage approved, have your offer accepted and not gazumped, you then sign an MoU and the real difficulties begin. I was lucky to be recommended to Aimee Garraway at Emirates Conveyancing, who has been a shining light in an otherwise dark tunnel. I was thankfully given honest advice on rates and sly tricks of the banks as well as the conveyancing side of its business, which protects me against the seller disappearing and keeps documents and money in a secure escrow account.
Jamal Hindawi, 55, Jordanian, Investor
I bought a property in 2003 for my family and two more for investment purposes. In 2006, I applied for a loan to make the last payment. Having a good financial record, the process was smooth for me and at that time the procedures were not very complicated. After the financial crisis, when I looked at some of the offers from banks, the requirement had changed with an emphasis on income and stronger financial statements. Earlier, loans were offered with 5 per cent down payment. After 2008, they changed it to 40-50 per cent down payment, which made it difficult for people to pay if they wanted to buy a property for living. I think now it is about 20-30 percent, which is more logical. The banks should not have many requirements such as salary transfer and security cheques.
Manish Agrawal, 42, Indian, Businessman
I have been investing in the UAE since 2000 and it has been a smooth process. Being an ex-banker, I am always vigilant of what I am being charged for. I found the loan process to be tedious with a lot of formalities from the banks’ end. I feel it is essential to document every discussion you have had with the mortgage salesperson in a contract or a written format, as the written document is the only proof you have and is governed by the UAE courts. Fees paid to the bank and the developer for release of mortgage are irritants. A major setback I faced was when my tenant went absconding from the country and the legal procedures took six to nine months before I got the house back. I lost the rent, could not rent it immediately and had to pay the lawyer’s fees too.
Rula Sharqi, 31, Iraqi, Lecturer
I am planning to buy property, but the buying process involves having multiple agents and how they deal with each other, making it a long process. Again mortgage offers are for a very long term as compared to the period people spend here before they are relocated. This increases the amount of down payment required by banks as compared to other markets. With regard to documentation, we have to be very careful with what the bank policies are and most of the time it is a difficult process. The credit crunch across the world affected the local market negatively. The mortgage cap rule is an example of that, where down payment increased to 50 per cent making the buying experience even more challenging.
Hasnian Ali, 36, British, Businessman
Buying a property is a challenge, which starts with unstable prices. Secondly, the mortgage companies mention a week’s processing time, but take up to two months. Although they have their own evaluation teams, they only work on small properties. Otherwise they use external property valuation firms. Either way they rely on the property portal, which is dominated by real estate agents and speculators. Then every bank has a different list of properties they mortgage.
Pawan Batavia, 30, Indian, Businessman
The buying process is difficult. First, there is no system of including lawyers in the transaction and you have to learn the process while trying to find a suitable property. Then there are agents who don’t follow the rules and try to fleece you. Also, some sellers are only testing the market and have no intention of selling their property. The mortgage process is fairly straightforward as brokers representing lenders have an in-depth knowledge of the eligibility requirements for individuals.