Property hunting in Dubai can seem a little daunting, especially if you are an expat who has never purchased a home in the city before. Luckily, the process isn’t as bad as you may think. In many respects, the whole procedure is actually very similar to the UK’s.
We often get asked by expats about how long the mortgage process is in Dubai. There are a variety of factors that will affect how quickly you gain approval. Some of these factors will speed things up and others may slow things down.
In this article, we will explain each step of the mortgage approval process, the average time it takes to complete each part, and what can be done to keep things moving at a more agreeable pace.
Pre-Approval for a Property Mortgage in Dubai
The first step you must take when looking for your dream home is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval is when the banks and lenders in Dubai assess whether you are a good candidate for a loan.
As part of your application, you may be asked for certain documents to prove you are who you say you are and that you have the right to purchase property in the city. With that in mind, you should keep the following documents at hand:
- A copy of your passport
- Proof of residence and your current address
- Your last six wage slips
- Six month’s worth of bank statements
If you are self-employed, lenders may ask for a year’s worth of bank statements and two years’ worth of business audits.
On average, the pre-approval mortgage process in Dubai takes between five and seven working days followed by a further seven days to receive your confirmation letter. To prevent any delays and to ensure the banks don’t reject your application, you should:
- Ensure your credit file has no adverse entries
- Your accounts are all up to date
- Avoid maxing out your credit card
- Have a significant deposit set aside
It’s not uncommon for expats to start their property search before going through the pre-approval process, but we strongly recommend against doing this. You may find the perfect home for you and your family in Dubai only to discover the banks won’t lend you enough money to buy it.
After being pre-approved, the bank will let you know how much money you can borrow in principle. This gives you a much better idea of what properties you can realistically buy, as you will have a budget figure to work with. House hunting after being pre-approved also helps to prevent disappointment, as you will be less tempted to look for properties that far exceed the amount being lent to you.
How Long is a Mortgage Offer Valid For?
Each lender will have different rules for how long their pre-approval offer lasts. Generally speaking, you will have between 30 and 60 days to accept, but some banks may leave the offer on the table for 90 days. You can ask a lender to revalidate an offer, but you may be asked to go through the process again to confirm your circumstances haven’t changed.
Accepting the bank’s offer will give you ‘serious buyer’ status. This can make the offer you put in for a property much more appealing to property agents, putting you in prime position to buy.
If you want to calculate how long it will take for you to pay off your mortgage before accepting, use our free mortgage calculator to get an accurate number.
Mortgage Loan Application & Valuation
Once you have found the right home for you, the next step is completing the mortgage loan application. Most banks and lenders in Dubai use the same form, so this process is relatively straightforward.
Your lender will want to know more about the property before they provide you with a mortgage. As part of the application, you will be asked:
- The type of property you are buying (for example a townhouse, villa, apartment etc.)
- Which community your property is in (such as Palm Jumeirah or Downtown Dubai)
- The type of loan you’re looking for (fixed rate or variable mortgage)
You will also be asked for information on you to ensure your circumstances haven’t changed. Some of the questions you may be asked could revolve around:
- Employment status
- Existing debt
- Partners and children
The lender will assign a third party company to conduct a Valuation of the property. This ensures you are paying the right price as compared to relevant properties in today’s market. The lender will calculate the Loan to Value using the valuation price or sale price, whichever is lower.
This process takes 3-5 working days, and when completed you will move on to your Final Offer Letter.
Mortgage Processing & Underwriting
With your application filled in, you’ll be moved to processing. This is where all the necessary documents are gathered to so the next step can be carried out; underwriting.
The documents will be about you — the borrower — and the property itself. As such, the documents you needed for the pre-approval stage will come into play again as will a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the property’s developer.
The underwriter will determine whether your application is approved. It’s their job to check that the criteria agreed on in the pre-approval process matches your current status. They will check to see if you are eligible for the mortgage product you have requested and evaluate the level of risk associated with loaning you the money.
To ensure this step takes as little time as possible to complete, it is best to stick to the criteria agreed on during pre-approval, ie. stay within the value offered to you and try not to switch jobs while in the middle of purchasing. By doing this, your application should be complete within a few days.
For more complex cases, this step could take a few weeks to finalise. In that time, your application will be labelled as ‘decision pending.’ In short, this means the underwriter doesn’t have enough information yet to approve or reject your application.
Approval and Closing
If your application is approved, it will be marked as ‘clear to close,’ and there’s nothing more you need to provide to prove your eligibility. Around three days prior to closing, you will be sent a Final Offer Letter — a document outlining the terms of your loan, your projected monthly payments and final costs.
Make sure to review this document carefully, as any mistake could see you paying more than you need to.
So, How Long Does it Take to Get a Mortgage in Dubai?
The full mortgage process can take anywhere between four weeks and several months. A lot of that time will depend on how well organised you are, so it’s worth asking for the help of a mortgage broker based in Dubai to keep things running smoothly.
An experienced and established broker in the city will know which lenders are most likely to approve your application, and they will help you get the best rate possible, saving you a great deal of time and money.
On average, our customers save AED 150,000 over the course of their mortgage, which is equal to £30,000.
For a quick and efficient mortgage processing service, make sure to get in touch with us.