Buying a property, especially in a foreign country, is undoubtedly exciting. Unfortunately, it is also rife with risk. Language and cultural barriers can also lead to misunderstandings. It is therefore imperative to instruct a conveyancing lawyer who understands the UAE property market to advise you throughout the purchase process.
For most people, buying a property is the most significant purchase they will make. And no matter what country you buy real estate in, risks abound.
When it comes to buying an existing property, you will need to be clear on whether your prospective home is freehold or leasehold. Being unaware of what each type of property ownership can lead to extreme disappointment in the future.
Freehold property is where you own the building and the land on which the building sits on and leasehold is essentially a long-term lease and similar to purchasing a leasehold property in the UK. Fortunately, in the UAE there are laws to protect purchasers from contractual breaches. For example, developers and brokers must be approved by the Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) before they advertise property in the media. But regardless of the regulatory protections in place, it is essential to conduct due diligence - this is something your lawyer can do for you quickly and effectively.
Your conveyancing lawyer will also check the validity of proof of ownership (title deed for completed properties; Oqood for off-plan properties) so you can be confident that the property is free from encumbrance or any legal impediments before you pay the deposit or sign any contracts.
Other duties of a conveyancing lawyer include explaining and drafting the memorandum of understanding, reviewing completion time frames and advising on any potential special conditions relating to the purchase, ensuring all maintenance and service fees are paid as per the developer’s requirements for an NOC application and drafting and confirming the final transfer documentation, detailing all monies involved.
Investing in experienced legal advice when you are buying a property in the UAE could save you a great deal of stress and money long-term. It will also allow you to purchase your home with confidence and leave you free to celebrate the next stage of your expatriate journey.
The author of this article is Nita Maru, Managing Partner of TWS Legal Consultants.
Licensed by The Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department.