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Common Mistakes to avoid when buying property in the UAE and Why you need a lawyer


Once a buyer finds a property in the UAE with a real estate broker, the broker introduces the rules for transferring the property under the buyer’s name. Most brokers might say that there is no need for a lawyer as it is an easy process. However, if it is a second market (a property ready), you will need to fill out a few forms in the Dubai Land Department. It is advisable to make an understanding agreement between both parties and use the terms of conditions in Form F.

Example Case

The Scenario

The buyer agrees on terms and conditions with the seller about buying a property in the UAE. The buyer made inspections of the property. The broker completed the necessary documents, and the buyer was supposed to complete the payment within three months. The first payment was 10% of the deposit. In a few months, the buyer completed the payments and got the title deed transferred under his name. The furniture was replaced once he entered the property, and there was some damage. The buyer estimated the loss to be 800,000 AED.


Once the inspection was done, neither party confirmed the condition of the furniture or the property. It was difficult to prove it.

Off-Plan Properties

Sales Purchase Agreement (SPA)

The main document binds the developer (seller) and the buyer with the rights and obligations. When we see SPA immediately, we can identify when pitfalls are hidden in this agreement.

Example 1

One of the biggest real-estate developers in Dubai, the SPA, mentioned that the handover of the property shall be in the 1st quarter of 2024. However, there was a trick: the developer had the right to postpone the handover of the property for two years, meaning until 2026. The buyer did not read the terms of conditions in the agreement and signed it.

Example 2

Our client approached us, stating she had signed an SPA with a developer. The handover of the property happened on time, but the features of the property were different. The developer promised to make the ceiling height 4.3 meters. Unfortunately, it was less than a meter. Once we read the SPA, we did not find anything mentioning the features of the property, making it hard for lawyers to prove it.


Legal Due Diligence in Real-Estate Transactions

We can check SPA to support documents and communications with the government’s authorities; there might be a block in the property, a dispute ongoing, any size order by the courts, and other problems where you might waste your time and money.

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