What You Need to Know as a First-Time Homebuyer

August 17, 2021

Has all this talk about investments got you thinking and researching? We’ve talked about the benefits and weaknesses of buying a home in the UAE as compared to renting (check it out here). We even covered who’s eligible and the appropriate residency visas one could gain. But now you’re ready to take the next step? Today we’re covering everything you need to know as a first-time homebuyer. Not just that, we will make your new space feel like home with our home insurance plans

First things first. What’s your favorite neighbourhood like?

Narrow the list down by selecting a handful of areas that you are drawn to – we’ll list down the best neighbourhoods across Dubai and Abu Dhabi in our next blog post to make this easy for you! Once you’ve done that, shortlist a few houses that you like and request for viewing. After you’ve decided on a house, Hala can help you protect the things you love with our home insurance. 

Answering this question and getting rid of this seemingly obvious step will make the next step 10000% easier. To understand the market and process of real estate in the UAE you must first understand what it is you want out of the market. 

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Talk about being part of a close knit community.

Learn the Process & Market

Now that you’re buying a home, you’re now part of this market. It’s time to understand it.

To begin, here’s a guide put together by Abu Dhabi Finance specifically for first-time buyers. The guide covers all the key terms you need to know to really understand the market and process.

Finding an Agent: 

Although it’s crucial for you to understand the market and process, it’s also important to learn from experts. Although technically not required, finding an agent is necessary to ensure you are finding the right house for you and your unique circumstances. 

Bayut, the UAE’s largest property portal, has gathered the top real estate agencies in the country. 

The top three include Betterhomes, fäm Properties, and Allsopp & Allsopp, respectively.

Legal Process:

In terms of the legal process of buying a home, there are four main steps one must go through as summarized by Zoom Property, the UAE’s most advanced property portal:


Creating a Buyer & Seller Agreement

  1. Creating a Buyer & Seller Agreement
  2. Signing the Memorandum of Understanding
  3. Getting a No Objection Certificate (NOC)
  4. Transfer of Ownership

In terms of the documents you’ll need to gather, here’s a list of documents ALL buyers need: 

  • Passport
  • 10% deposit cheque in the name of the seller

Additionally, residents need their:

  • Emirates ID
  • Residency Visa

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Last but not leased, don’t forget all your documents.

Fun Fact #1: You don’t need to apply for a mortgage to purchase a house in the UAE. There are several payment options available to choose from. Here’s a cheat sheet with all the different payment options available and their pros and cons.

Hidden Fees to Know:

Speaking of payment options, let’s talk about some fees you probably didn’t know you had to cover when buying a home. When buying property, the price of the house isn’t all that one must pay (I told you knowing your finances and budget was important). In the case of the UAE, there are multiple fees one must pay to finalize a property purchase. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Agent’s commission (this varies from person to person)
  • Title deed issuance fee
  • NOC fees, to learn more about the NOC process, click here

Next, learn the types of insurances you’ll need to purchase for your new house (most mortgage lenders require insurance).

  • Loan Protection Insurance (LPI): Covers risks such as sickness, disability or death.
  • Property/Buildings Insurance: Covers natural disasters, societal threats, etc to the property. Property insurance is mandatory on villas and townhouses.
  • Contents Insurance: Covers damage or loss of the contents and belongings of an individual’s home (such as furniture, electronics, etc.). 

Fun fact #2: Both property insurance and contents insurance fall under home insurance (we’ve actually covered this in a blog post here)!

Fun fact #3: Hala home insurance covers both starting at just 200 DHS annually. A steal!With less than 2 DHS a day (that’s 1/10th of my coffee price) you could hit two birds with one stone. Not only will you be filling your buying requirements but you’ll be buying yourself peace of mind with a wallet-friendly partner (because yes we are your partner). This is not a simple transaction, we genuinely want what’s best for you and want to smoothen your process as best as we can. Join the waitlist today.

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