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How to find an agent in Dubai : Discover the basic options

In most real estate markets around the world, your first step will be to find a real estate agent. Dubai is an exception to this rule, however, as it is a market dominated by new construction. You can go to a real estate agent, but you can also go directly to a developer such as Emaar, Nakheel or Damac.

In short, you have three choices. You can buy a property for sale from a private individual; you can buy a new home off-plan; or you can buy a completed new build from a developer.

Buying from a developer – off-plan

Off-plan sales account for more than half of all real estate transactions in Dubai, according to Haus & Haus. Some developers offer attractive incentives and deferred payment schemes that can work in your favor. Often prices are set below market prices, especially in the early stages of construction, so you get a discount as a reward for the risk you take in buying off-plan. A 10% discount is common, but you can get more.

This is also the easiest route to purchase; the developers will have done all the legal work up front and will be ready to push the button to start the processes.

However, there are drawbacks to buying off-plan. You may have to wait up to three years for delivery of the property, during which time your money is tied up. If you need financing, you need to ensure that you can still get the financing terms you want once construction is complete.

You are also taking a construction risk. Developers may deliver the property late, or worse, not complete it at all. If you buy in the early phase of a development, you won’t even be sure that the proper infrastructure will be installed; you could end up with a villa but no road to it! However, Dubai now requires developers to set up an escrow system to hold your money and deposit 20% of the funds needed for construction in advance. If things go wrong, your money will not be lost.