A Guide to Off Plan Property Finance
There are many advantages to buying an off plan property in Dubai. Purchasing at the earliest possible opportunity often means the price is a lot lower. This means investors can maximise their returns with off plan options, and it can make getting on the housing ladder much easier for those with tighter budgets.
However, if you have never bought an off plan property in Dubai or the wider UAE before, you may be wondering how to fund the purchase. As you’d expect, there are a few differences between how the process works in Dubai than in the UK.
To ensure you fully understand how off plan property finance works in Dubai, we’ve put this guide together to help you.
How Much Money is Needed?
When purchasing an off plan property, the amount of money you will be able to borrow depends on the current valuation of the property. This is known as the loan to value ratio (LTV). For all off plan properties — regardless of whether you’re a national or an expat — the LTV is set at 50%.
So, if you’re looking to buy an off plan property at a current price of AED 1 million, you would need AED 500,000 before you would be eligible for a loan.
However, you don’t need to go down this route if raising 50% of the property’s value is going to be difficult. Many development companies have more lucrative offers available, which appeal to investors and even first time buyers.
Developers are always looking for ways to encourage investment. This is why many of them offer attractive payment plans, which include part-payment before and a part-payment after completion.
How is Your Money Protected?
Purchasing an off plan property always comes with some element of risk, but stringent measures are put in place to protect your money as much as possible.
RERA — the Real Estate Regulatory Agency — requires developers to place funds paid to them in a registered escrow account. In essence, this means the developer can’t access public funding until project milestones are met. If a project fails before reaching a certain stage, the developer can’t access your money, which means it will be refunded to you in due course.
A project can still be delayed or fail even after reaching set targets. In order to best protect your money in this event, you will have to carry out plenty of research before making a purchase. Make sure the developer is reliable and established, and remember to check their track record to see whether past projects have been handed over on time.
Before buying off plan, make sure the developer, the real estate project and their escrow account are registered with RERA and the DLD (Dubai Land Department).
Are There any Fees Involved?
Off plan properties still come with fees, but developers are always looking for a way to sweeten the deal to gain investment. To incentivise buyers, a great number of developers offer to pay some of the DLD’s Property Registration Fee.
It’s not unheard of for developers to pay the entire amount, which is equal to 4% of the property’s value. Taking the AED 1 million property as an example, your developer could save you up to AED 40,000 by covering the fee.
You will still have to pay RERA up to AED 5250 to issue an Oqood certificate, which ensures the property is registered in your name.
Can You Release Equity & Get a Mortgage?
It is possible for you to release equity on the property and also take out a mortgage. However, you will need help from a mortgage broker to negotiate this arrangement properly.
By releasing equity and taking out a mortgage, you can cover the final payment due to the developer on handover and have enough cash to invest in more property or to consolidate other debts.
Your mortgage rate and the amount of equity that can be released will depend on a variety of factors. Expat Mortgage can help guide you through this process, so make sure to get in touch if this option appeals to you.
How Do You Get an Off Plan Property Mortgage?
Getting a mortgage for your off plan property is very similar to how you would gain approval for a property that’s already built. The only real difference in the process depends on the bank and the developer, as most lenders in Dubai will insist the developer is on a list of approved borrowers.
Other than that, obtaining a mortgage for an off plan property is no different to any other mortgage. As an expat, you’ll need:
- A copy of your passport
- Proof of residency in the UAE and your current address
- Financial documents such as wage slips and bank statements
You can also improve your chances of approval by:
- Keeping your accounts up to date
- Not maxing out credit cards
- Asking a mortgage broker for assistance
Arranging Off Plan Property Finance
Many developers offer construction payment plans that seem great on the surface but come with significant final payments due on handover. It takes an experienced mortgage broker to make sure you get the best rates and terms, so the final payment is much more affordable.
Expat Mortgage works closely with building developers across Dubai. The positive working relationships we’ve forged means we can provide you with exclusive rates and ensure the handover process runs smoothly.
To hear more about how we can help with your off plan property finance, make sure to get in touch with a member of our team.