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There are many steps involved when you buy a property in Dubai, much like there is when you buy a property in the UK. While arranging a mortgage is a significant part of purchasing a home, so is managing the conveyancing process.

As experts in the purchase of property in Dubai, we at Expat Mortgage know you have wider questions about buying your dream home. To help you better understand the full undertaking, we have written this article to explain conveyancing, and how having the right partners to lean on can make the process a lot easier.

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of property from one owner to another. When you buy a property, the previous owner signs it over to you and you become the new owner, or vise versa if you’re the one selling.

Because of the legalities involved, conveyancing should be completed by a solicitor or by a licensed conveyancer. This is to ensure there is a clean break between the buyer and seller.

When a property has been sold, the responsibilities should be transferred as well. If you’re buying, it means the seller no longer has control of the property. If you’re selling, it means you aren’t responsible for the property in any way, such as keeping it from falling into a state of disrepair.

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In Dubai, the process can be completed by an admin member or a real estate agent. You should not go down this route though, as it isn’t their speciality, and mistakes can be costly for both sides.

Both the property and the land it sits on should be transferred if the sale is for the freehold. If it’s just the leasehold for sale, then the land will stay with the original owner.

How Conveyancing Works

Conveyancing starts once an offer has been accepted for the property. The seller’s representative will draft a contract outlining the conditions of sale, the terms of the deal and any particulars that are outstanding. During this part of the process, both parties’ right to buy and sell property is checked.

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The buyer’s representative will then look through the paperwork and carry out a range of inspections. Some of these checks will include:

  • The state of the property
  • Condition of the land
  • Utility access
  • Planned future developments nearby
  • Right of way to the property
  • Boundaries

Both parties will then negotiate the terms of the draft contract. Once both sides are happy that the contract works for their clients, the agreement is finalised, ready to be signed by the buyer and seller.

If you are applying for a mortgage, the bank lending you the money will instruct a representative to meet with yours. This is to iron out the terms of the mortgage and prepare the deed for signatures.

The exchange of contracts is when both sides commit to the sale. Backing out can result in financial losses, as you’ll have to recompense the other party. At this point, a deposit is paid and the date for completion is fixed.

On the date of completion, the seller needs to have moved out of the property. Payment is then transferred from the buyer’s representative to the sellers, and the keys are released to the buyer.

How Will Your Conveyancer Help?

No matter where you are in the world, conveyancing is a time-consuming task and a legal minefield. The process can be particularly tricky if you’re an expat living in Dubai and you’ve never purchased a property in the city before. Things work differently than if you were buying a home in the UK because of local laws and customs, but the principles remain the same.

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It’s a conveyancer’s job to ensure the legal transfer is completed efficiently and timely. As part of their job, your conveyancer or solicitor will:

  • Review the transaction and create a detailed plan of action
  • Complete the paperwork with the broker/buyer/seller, which should also include negotiating, drafting and reviewing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the Sales Agreements
  • Speak to the property developer to organise any payments for service charges and to apply for a No Objection Certificate (NOC)
  • Complete paperwork issued by the Dubai Land Department. This includes representation during the final transfer of property to ensure the Title has legally changed hands
  • Complete paperwork issued by utility companies such as the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). This includes registration, requesting final bills and handling security deposits
  • Handle the safe transfer of the final sale funds
  • Provide ongoing support and advice, which includes answering any questions you may have along the way

How Long Does Conveyancing Take in Dubai?

From the start of the process through to completion, conveyancing in Dubai can take up to 10 weeks. There are many aspects that affect how long it takes such:

  • If the property is in a chain
  • The buyer is arranging a mortgage
  • Paperwork is completed incorrectly
  • Issues are found during the inspection stages
  • One side is still considering terms of the agreement

There’s not much you can do to personally speed the process up, but having all the necessary documents in place, responding quickly to your representative and having a mortgage agreement ready can save a valuable amount of time.

Looking for Help With Conveyancing?

When you’re looking forward to settling into your new life in Dubai, having to handle the tedious side of property purchasing is probably one of the last things you want to be doing.

At Expat Mortgage, we can introduce you to one of our trusted partners who will take care of conveyancing for you under our supervision.

Our goal is to make buying property as straightforward as possible. This is why we offer our clients a wide range of services, so they can relax knowing they’re benefiting from a hands-free experience.

If you’re considering a property purchase in Dubai, our team is here to help. Learn more about our residential conveyancing options and get in touch with us when you’re ready.