How to buy an Off-Plan property in Dubai

February 28, 2023

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What is buying off-plan and why you should do it

Buying off-plan property is a great way of saving money, as well as being certain that the property you’re buying is brand new.

Off-plan means that the property hasn’t yet been constructed or is in the process of being built. Off-plan is also an ideal way to get your foot on the property ladder and is particularly popular with younger couples or families looking to buy their first home.

Because you’re purchasing a development that’s either about to start or is under construction means that you can buy your property for less, and with the added incentive of attractive payment plans (Interest free) on offer, too. The reason the price is lower is that it’s effectively the first price for a property. The increase in a property’s value happens over time, so you’re basically going in at the ‘entry level’ price.

It also means that, as long as you’re prepared to wait for your property to be completed, you get the first pick of a development and can choose exactly which property you get.

An investment for the future

As buying off-plan is often much cheaper, it represents a real investment on your initial outlay.

If you’re looking for a ‘quick flip’ then potentially you could even sell it before it’s completed. If the market is performing well, it can represent what is often referred to as an ‘SPQR’ or Small Profit, Quick Return. However, if you hold onto your property then you’ll see a much higher return on your initial investment, especially if the property is in one of the more desirable locations such as Dubai Hills Estate, Palm Jumeirah, or Jumeirah Village Circle.

Another advantage is lower up-front costs, with some developers only requiring a deposit of 5% to secure a property. Payment Plans will help with investing, due to the fact you will not be tieing up all your cash into one asset. For investors taking a project with a post handover payment plan could be more beneficial as they will benefit from higher yields in their first couple of years from handover, slowly decreasing to a stable amount once the property is paid off. Buyers also purchase off-plan as they have an opportunity to ‘flip’ providing they have paid up to 30% of the property value.

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Costs and fees

Off-plan buying in Dubai still carries with it a certain amount of costs and fees, just like any other property deal. You’ll still need to pay a 4% Property Registration Fee to the Dubai Land Department, as well as AED 3,000 for an Oqood Registration. Keep a lookout for developers who offer to cover some or even all of the Property Registration Fees to entice buyers, which could represent a considerable saving.

Where can you buy Off-Plan property in Dubai?

Development in Dubai is exploding at an incredible pace, and various areas have opened up for property investors, both for residents and for international buyers. Bear in mind that if you are an expat or international buyer then you can only purchase freehold property in specific areas of the Emirate. Buying can be an easy process through any agent dealing with developers in Dubai.

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Payment plans

Developers have now come up with a way to allow home buyers to pay for the property over a 3 to 5 year term, completely interest free! The payment term is more aggressive compared to bank financing, however background and credit checks are not required which is why the option is favorable amongst international buyers. These payment plans are beneficial because they provide the freedom of splitting up their finances across multiple assets and purchasing more than one unit, if increasing their portfolio size is what they are after.


One of the concerns that many people who buy off-plan is what happens if the developer doesn’t complete the project. To avoid this scenario, the Dubai government through RERA introduced a swathe of measures that developers have to meet. The big one is that developers have to own 100% of the land attached to the project so that it cannot be ‘blocked’ by a third party, for example. They also have to adhere to various caveats before they can sell off-plan, including having completed at least 20% of the construction before offering a property for sale.

Look out for developers who have a ‘Capital Guarantee’ program. This ensures the value of the property for a minimum of two years after delivery. There may be clauses that mean the developer meets the difference if the value of the property actually declines rather than increases.

At the end of the day, it’s also down to the buyer to do a little bit of research before they commit. Find out as much as you can about the developer. Look at not just their builds in recent times, but their track record for completion, how good they are at hitting deadlines, and the overall quality of their work.

It all starts with a conversation. Are you ready to discover a whole new way of home-buying?

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