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Buying Overseas in Dubai

If you are looking for luxury in the Middle East, provided you have checked you are permitted to purchase in your chosen area, Dubai is a good place to buy, says overseas property expert Simon Conn.

Although Dubai is the most expensive city in the Middle East, and one of the most expensive cities in the world, if you know where to look it can offer a higher quality of living for less than in the UK.

Dubai is celebrated for its year round sunshine, stunning sandy beaches which go on for miles and is an enticing destination for everyone with its mix of cosmopolitan city, theme parks, landmarks and markets.

English is widely spoken and with no income tax on salaries, Dubai is becoming increasingly popular with Brits. It is the second-largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), covering an area of more than 1,500 square miles and is home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

The legal system in UAE is different to the UK and there can be significant differences between the Emirates when dealing with property issues.

Buying an existing property in the Emirates is the same as in the UK though – once you’ve found a property, placed an offer through the agent and it has been accepted, you will have to pay a deposit in the region of 5% to 15%. There is also an additional transfer fee which can be 1% to 7%, plus estate agent fees which are around 2% to 3%.

Buying a property off-plan (before it has been built) is very common in the UAE as it enables investors and home buyers to buy at a lower price. You will need a watertight contract to ensure that you do not lose out if your property is not completed on time.

The deposit for an off-plan property is usually around 10%, with further payments made on set dates until the property is ready. Although you do not have to use a lawyer to purchase a property, I urge you to do so to avoid the many pitfalls of buying overseas with little knowledge of the system.

Foreign investors cannot purchase freehold property in some UAE areas and buyers should seek independent advice before entering into a contract. Also, make sure you have a proper translation of the contract as many people come unstuck when they turn to unreliable translation methods.

Luxury lifestyles are the norm in Dubai, but there are strict rules and couples must be married to live together. Most families have a full-time live-in maid and a gardener and at the supermarket your shopping is packed for you and taken to the car. Petrol is about a quarter of the price it is in the UK and taxis are cheap and plentiful in Dubai.

The maximum loan to value in Dubai is 75% for properties under 5million AED and 65% for properties over this. The minimum loan is $100,000 but there is no maximum. The minimum value is $150,000.

Interest rates on purchase and re-mortgages are from 3.99% and the maximum tenor is 25 years, dependent on age.

Finance is available on all developments in Dubai that have an issued title deed. Those without are on a case by case basis.

This article was first published here

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Details correct when this article was originally posted on June 12, 2014.