FAQ Off Plan Property Dubai

Off-Plan Property in Dubai – Everything you need to know

Looking to learn more about off-plan property in Dubai? Well, you have certainly come to the right place. Here, we cover the most frequently asked questions when it comes to buying an off-plan property in Dubai.



What is an off-plan property in Dubai?

An off-plan property is an unconstructed property purchased directly from a developer. It’s a property that is yet to be built or in some cases is in the early stages of being built.

In order to purchase this type of property buyers rely on brochures and other marketing material to learn about the project and the exact property they are buying. Purchase is usually made with a 10-20% down payment and the signing of the SPA (Sales Purchase Agreement). Depending on which developer the rest of the payments made can and do vary but are usually linked to construction.

Advantages of buying off-plan property in Dubai

  • Save Money – Buying an Off plan property allows investors to get a purchase price at the earliest and lowest possible price. It also allows buyers to choose the very best apartments in a particular development. This plays a big part in increasing the chances of gaining the maximum return on their investment.
  • Sell Before Completion – Quite often investors can sell off their off-plan property prior to a project’s completion. Assuming the market has performed well and the project proved popular owners can often sell at a considerable profit.
  • Lower up Front Costs – Payment plans for off plan property can and do vary from developer to developer. With some developers only requiring a 5% down payment and the rest linked to constructions the outlay required is relatively low.
  • You Buy Brand New – As much as most of us hate to admit it, we all love something new. Whether it’s a new car or a brand-new property there is something rather special and satisfying about having something that has never been used before. This is exactly what you get with an off plan property that is not only new but if done right will feature the latest design, technology and lifestyle features, and amenities.

Risks in buying off-plan property

Nothing we do comes without risk and the same can be said for buying an off-plan property in Dubai. In this section we are going to look at some of the  more significant risks of buying an off plan property in Dubai:

  • Delayed Completion Time – Developments don’t always go to plan and there have been cases of projects being completed after their scheduled completion dates. A delay in the completion date can have a significant negative impact on both end users and investors. For end users, it means a delayed move-in date which can have emotional as well as financial impacts as it means potentially having to pay rent at another property. For investors, it means a loss of returns they could be getting if the property was finished and rented for an income. It is for this reason very important to do your research on the project developer. Look into their track record and ensure any sale agreement signed ensures you are compensated for any such delays.
  • Change in Market Conditions – A downward move in property prices can result in the property being worth less than what the buyer has paid. This risk is not limited to off-plan properties but can affect them more as they may be harder to liquidate than ready properties.
  • Not getting what you expected – This is a real risk of buying off plan in Dubai. The sea view you thought you had may not exactly match what was in the brochure or the open-plan living area may not be as big as you first imagined. These are all potential pitfalls when buying off plan however they are not necessarily the fault of the developer. The brochures and selling marketing materials used are there to showcase the very best of the project. It does not mean that every single unit within that development comes with each of those features. This is why it’s important to evaluate not only the project but even more so the actual unit you are looking to buy within that particular project.
  • Other Developments – This is a risk that can also apply to a ready property however it is even more important to consider when buying an off-plan property. New developments next to or close to your property can have a detrimental effect on yours. For example, a great big tower a street down from your villa or right in front of your apartment balcony wouldn’t exactly be ideal. For this reason, it’s imperative that you consider the surroundings of the property you are looking to buy as well as learn about what’s planned in the future.

While these risks of buying an off-plan property in Dubai are real and can have significant negative effects they can be minimized if not avoided altogether. Choosing wisely and getting the right advice is crucial and will go a long way in miming the likelihood of such risks being an issue.

How to buy an off-plan property in Dubai

  1. Familiarise Yourself with the Dubai Market: Start by gaining a baseline understanding of the Dubai real estate market and the laws at play. Research different communities and stay updated on the latest projects and developments.
  2. Consult with an Expert: Engage with experienced off-plan agents or agencies who can provide in-depth insights into the market. They can keep you informed about the most current projects as well as upcoming opportunities.
  3. Determine Your Preferences: Clearly define the type of property you want to invest in and where. Decide on either an apartment, townhouse, or a villa, and specify your preferred communities.
  4. Explore Suitable Options: Explore the available options in your chosen category and location. Consult with your agent to narrow down your choices and select the property or project that best aligns with your investment/buying goals.
  5. Reservation and Contract Signing: Reserve the unit you’ve selected and proceed to sign the relevant contracts. The Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) is a crucial document that outlines the terms and conditions of your purchase.
  6. Payment Schedule: Follow to the payment schedule as outlined in the SPA. Off-plan properties typically involve a series of part payments spread over the course of the construction period.
  7. Take Possession and Enjoy: When the property is completed, undergo the handover process of inspecting the property to ensure all is in order. Once you are happy with everything you take possession and enjoy your new home or investment.

Costs of buying an off-plan property

Much like buying a ready property, there are certain fees associated with buying an off-plan property. The following table will outline all the main fixed costs associated.

Amount Description Payable To
4%Property Registration FeeDubai Land Department
AED 3,000Oqood RegistrationDubai Land Department

Please note that whilst all the fees and charges do need to be paid, this does not always mean that it is the buyer who is the one that ends up paying. As a way of incentivizing buyers a large number of developers today are paying half or in some cases the entire Dubai Land Department Registration fee on behalf of buyers. If paid in full this equals a 4% saving which when combined with the 2% saving on agency fees equals a handy 6% saving.

Can foreigners buy a property in Dubai?

Yes, foreigners and nonresidents can buy property in Dubai.

Unlike many countries around the world, the Dubai property market is open to all. Whether you are from the UK or India there are no restrictions to you buying and owning a property in any of Dubai’s freehold areas.

Visit New Projects in Dubai for a complete list of the very latest projects.

What guarantee do I have that my development will be completed?

To help ensure an off-plan project is completed, RERA has introduced numerous measures that must be met by the developer.  One of these stipulates that the developer must own 100 per cent of the land belonging to the project. Along with this, the developer must either make a down payment of 20 per cent as a bank guarantee, deposit 20 per cent in an escrow account, or complete 20 per cent of construction before selling off the plan. Together with the above measures, RERA requests contractors to submit a 10 per cent performance guarantee.

Along with these measures, it’s imperative buyers do their own research and look into developers they are considering buying from. We recommend looking at the developer’s track record as well as reputation.

When can I sell my off-plan property?

Generally speaking, an off plan property can be sold once the buyer has repaid 30% of the property price.

Numerous measures have been put in place in order to ensure the Dubai market is a stable and secure market to invest in. One of these measures has a direct impact on buyers who look to sell their off-plan property before completion. Dubai’s largest developer Emaar Properties now requires owners to have 30% of their off-plan property paid off before it can be sold to a new owner. This figure of 30% does vary from developer to developer so it’s important to check with each developer.

Once the minimum repayment threshold has been met the process of selling an off-plan property is very similar to selling a ready property. Buyers and sellers agree to price and terms, sign contracts and apply for NOC where the new buyer is registered with the developer and ultimately takes over all the outstanding payments once the transfer is complete. It is also worth noting that contrary to popular belief the new buyer is responsible for the 4% DLD Transfer Fee regardless of the fact this has already been paid by the first buyer.

For more information please visit Selling Off Plan Property in Dubai.

More commonly asked questions

What type of off-plan properties can I buy in Dubai?

There are a number of off plan property types available in Dubai. These typically fall into 3 categories which are apartments, villas, and townhouses. All of these have different characteristics as well as different advantages and potential disadvantages. Which one is the best option will depend purely on the buyer’s personal needs and wants and of course investment goals.

What are the service fees for an off-plan property?

The purpose of maintenance and service fees is to ensure all common areas are well-kept and maintained to the required standard. This is for the benefit of all current and future residents and owners.  The service fee rate is based on the yearly costs required to maintain the common areas. It’s worth noting that this amount is approved and set by RERA and will naturally be different for every project.

Can I finance an off plan property?

Getting a mortgage for an off plan property is definitely possible in most cases and almost always when it comes to the big developers in Dubai. Different lenders will set their own qualifying criteria however this is very similar to what would be applicable for a ready property.

It is worth noting that the maximum loan for an off plan property is 50% of the purchase price. For more information see: Off Plan Finance

What does buying an off-plan property at launch mean?

Buying an off-plan property at launch in Dubai involves buying a property as soon it is released or within the following 24-hour period.

It’s something that is often talked about in Dubai simply because buying at launch is often the only time buyers have a chance to buy in particular projects. This is due to strong demand which often results in projects selling out in one day and sometimes in a matter of hours from being launched.

How to buy an off-plan property at launch?

Buying a property at launch can be a little tricky, especially in ultra-popular projects where there is more buyers than there are units.

To avoid disappointment it’s key to have an experienced and well-connected agent working on your behalf. He/She will have experience working with the developer and understand what the process looks like and what documents will need to be in order before the actual launch. Whilst there are never guarantees being prepared will go a long way in putting you in a great position to not only buy but buy the unit you really want.

Can I buy an off-plan property without being in Dubai?

Yes, you can most certainly purchase an off-plan property without actually being in Dubai. Off-plan property is not constructed so buyers don’t really have much they can see or feel. Instead, they rely on brochures, floor plans, and the information provided by the sales agent. This makes the entire process not only more convenient but also something that can be done from anywhere including outside of Dubai.

Can I buy Dubai property online?

Yes, all new and off-plan properties in Dubai can be bought online. As explained in the earlier question, new and off-plan properties are sold via marketing material with no physical inspection required. Furthermore, all the legal formalities can also be done online and via registered post.

Differences Between Off-Plan and Ready Properties in Dubai?

The differences between off-plan and ready properties in Dubai are rather obvious. One is a property that will exist in the near future whilst the other is ready now and most likely already lived in. Both options have their pros and cons however which one is right for you will ultimately depend on your reason for buying. It could be said that off-plan properties are better for investors looking for capital growth whilst ready properties are more suitable for end users and investors looking for an immediate return on their investment.


Now that you have a solid understanding of all things off plan see our comprehensive Dubai off plan property Buying Guide for a step-by-step guide as well as a list of things to consider before buying off-plan.