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Dubai real estate: A guide for first-time homebuyers
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Dubai real estate: A guide for first-time homebuyers

As the Dubai real estate market continues to surge with increasing demand from both national and international investors, it is expected to achieve record-breaking numbers this year. Based on data from the Dubai Land Department (DLD), the market is projected to exceed AED 400 billion. With this momentum, more individuals are considering investments in the city's real estate, leading to a growing number of first-time investors. If you are planning to buy property in Dubai for the first time, here’s everything you need to know to navigate this vibrant market successfully.

Key considerations for first-time home buyers in Dubai.

Create a ‘Wish List’

Creating a detailed ‘wish list’ is crucial for a successful property search. This list should include:

  • Location: Determine the areas you are interested in.
  • Bedrooms: Decide on the number of bedrooms you need.
  • Property Type: Identify whether you want an apartment, villa, or townhouse.
  • Timeline: Set a timeline for your move-in date.
  • Budget: Define your budget constraints.

After initial viewings, you might find the perfect home and proceed to the offering and purchasing stage. Alternatively, you can provide feedback to your agent on why certain properties don’t meet your expectations. This feedback helps the agent refine their search and manage your expectations based on market availability.

Understand your budget

Figuring out your budget is a key step in the home-buying journey. Be prepared to discuss your deposit savings, any extra buying costs, and whether you’ll need a mortgage. Consider your must-haves and the features you’d like but can live without. A competent broker can align your preferences with specific areas and property types, ensuring you’re well-informed about move-in timelines and helping you determine an appropriate offer.

Explore your local community

Understanding the local community is crucial, especially if you have specific requirements such as proximity to gyms, pools, supermarkets, and other amenities. Knowing traffic patterns, school districts, and the neighborhood vibe can significantly impact your decision. Additionally, researching future development plans can help you understand how the area might change over time, ensuring it will continue to meet your needs.

Find a reliable real estate agent

Selecting the right real estate broker can make a substantial difference. Opt for brokers with multiple listings and a strong presence in your desired area. This ensures they can provide valuable insights and recommendations that align with your requirements.

At Smarthost, we specialise in the Dubai real estate market, offering tailored advice and extensive listings. Our experienced team is dedicated to making your home-buying process smooth and successful.

Avoid financing mistakes

A common misconception in property financing is that 'cash is king'. In fact, using the bank’s money can often be a smarter way to invest. This strategy allows you to buy multiple properties and earn rental income to help cover mortgage payments. Managing your property as an Airbnb in Dubai is a popular way to increase your income while letting your investment work for you. 

First-time buyers in Dubai FAQs

Q: What legalities should I check before buying a property in Dubai?

A: Make sure all paperwork is in order and that the property has no legal issues. This includes verifying ownership, checking for any outstanding debts or disputes, and ensuring the property complies with all local regulations and building codes.

Q: How much deposit do I need to purchase a property in Dubai?

A: For expats, the customary down payment is typically 25% of the property's purchase price, while UAE nationals usually need to put down 20%​

Q: What are the main costs associated with buying property in Dubai?

A: Besides the purchase price, you should budget for Dubai Land Department (DLD) fees (4% of the property price), property registration fees, mortgage registration fees (if applicable), and real estate agent commissions​.

6 Steps to property ownership

Buying your first home in Dubai should be an exciting and memorable experience. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth process:

  1. Define your budget: Calculate your savings, potential mortgage, and additional costs.
  2. List your priorities: Identify your must-haves and nice-to-haves in terms of location, property type, and features.
  3. Research and select a broker: Choose a broker with a strong market presence and good reputation.
  4. View properties: Attend viewings and provide feedback to your broker.
  5. Place an offer: Once you find the preferred property, move quickly to secure it at a reasonable price.
  6. Finalise purchase: Complete all legal formalities and make the final payment.


Investing in Dubai’s real estate market offers a wealth of opportunities for first-time buyers. The city's vibrant economy, luxurious lifestyle, and favorable investment climate make it an attractive destination for property investment. Engaging with professionals like those at Smarthost can help you navigate the process smoothly and make the most of your investment.

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