Homefront: ‘Can I buy a property in the UAE without a broker?’

The agent plays an important role in the search for the right property and the completion of crucial paperwork

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Is it possible to buy a property in the UAE without going through a property broker? I know you can rent property here through the owner to save money on broker commissions, but can the same be done when buying a property?

What are the advantages of using a broker as opposed to cutting out the middlemen and doing it yourself? JT, Sharjah

It is possible to buy a property in the UAE without using the services of a real estate agent. However, while it may seem attractive to save on the 2 per cent fee, it is important to understand exactly what a broker does to claim their commission.

Buying a property is the biggest financial outlay for most people and, as such, it is extremely important to ensure things are done correctly. That is why you should use the services of a property broker or company.

Think about it this way: if you need to go to a dentist because a tooth needs to be removed, you would not dream of doing the extraction yourself, would you? The same is true for property, leave it to the professionals.

The broker’s role is of great importance – not only at the initial stages when searching for the right property but also during the legal process.

A lot of legal paperwork is involved in a property sale and this needs to be completed correctly. There are also specific procedures that need to be done for the transaction to go through. Lack of legal knowledge can be costly and could lead to the potential breakdown of the deal.

The agent is fully aware of the laws involved and can guide you accordingly. As the saying goes, “time is money” and you can save valuable time by dealing with a broker.

As the saying goes, 'time is money' and you can save valuable time by dealing with a broker
Mario Volpi

Doing all the work and research yourself is very time-consuming, so this is one important reason why you should hire the services of a reputable broker or company registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency in Dubai.

I am vacating my apartment in a few days but have been unable to reach my landlord. He travels a lot, so it is not unusual for him to be unresponsive from time to time.

The problem is that I need his no-objection certificate, or NOC, to obtain a move-out permit from my building security. I have made arrangements with different service providers such as movers, Dewa, du and maintenance contractors.

If I cannot get a response from my landlord in the next few days, can the building security prevent me from moving out, forcing me to remain in my apartment (free of rent, presumably) and incur thousands of dirhams worth of fees and cancellation charges? Is there anything I can do to prevent this? JL, Dubai

Building security needs an NOC when tenants move out to guarantee that there are no underlying issues between the parties. Tenants and landlords sometimes leave on bad terms and money is often owed to one or another of the parties. To ensure a smooth transition, one party has to get another to confirm this with an NOC.

In your case, it is only the absence of communication with the landlord that is causing a delay. If you explain your position to the building security, they will have a solution.

Any delays in moving out could have a knock-on effect but, hopefully, common sense will prevail on the part of the security team. The worst-case scenario would be that they may not allow you to move out furniture and other physical items, but you can still move wherever you intend to.

Ensure you continue trying to communicate with your landlord as this will be the best solution.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for more than 35 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com

Updated: August 19, 2021, 4:30 AM