Following the hype of Dubai's fantastic Expo 2020 win, many property owners in Dubai are now seeking to lock in profits from the notable rise in the market. In order to maximise your financial gain on the sale of your property, it is vital that you select the right agent and marketing strategy, and that you fully understand the process.
Step 1: Select your agent and listing price
When selecting your agent, it is important that you choose a company that has the optimum marketing capabilities and reputation in order to give your property the best exposure.
Many sellers list their property with multiple agencies, but it is more effective to choose an agent on an exclusive basis. There are several benefits to this, but the main one is that multiple agents list the same properties on the portals, which gives potential buyers the impression that there is more supply on the market than there actually is, and they therefore feel like they are in a stronger negotiating position.
Once you have chosen the right agency, RERA now requires that you sign Form A in order to formalise the relationship between yourself and your agent. You should provide the agent with a copy of your title deed, passport and details of viewing arrangements.
You must then decide on your list price. Here, it is important that you receive data containing recent similar transactions from your agent, who can give you a clear picture of where the market is currently trading. If you list notably above the market level, it is unlikely that you will be able to sell your property in your desired time scales.
Step 2: Marketing
Your agent will undertake the marketing on your behalf, free of charge. As a seller, it is important to ensure that your property is receiving appropriate coverage in all of the major portals, such as Property Finder, Dubizzle and Just Rentals. Additionally, check that your property is getting website exposure and is being listed in print media channels such as Gulf News.
You must ensure your property is available for viewings on a flexible basis, and you should ideally provide your agent with a key (if the property is vacant). This will speed up the sale process.
Step 3: Offers and price negotiation
If your property is correctly priced, you will then begin receiving offers, either verbal or written. Your agent will undertake negotiations with buyers on your behalf once the offers come in. Ensure you remain in regular dialogue with your agent, as the market is regularly changing and if you are not receiving any calls then you may need to reconsider your list price.
Step 4: The sales agreement
A sales agreement, otherwise known as an MOU or a RERA Form F, is then generated once a price and the additional terms have been agreed. Remember, unlike many western markets, there are typically no lawyers involved in property transactions here in Dubai, so it is essential you read the contract carefully and that you trust the agent you are dealing with. As a seller, you will sign and a 10% deposit cheque will be written in your name and typically held by the agent until transfer.
Step 5: The transfer process
Following the MOU, the process will vary based on whether it is cash to cash, financed buyer and cash seller, cash buyer and financed seller, or finance to finance. The process can take anywhere between two and eight weeks, so it is important to be organised and manage your expectations in terms of time.
Once all of the financing logistics have been arranged, you must ensure that you have cleared all your outstanding payments to the developer in order to generate a No Objection Certificate (NOC). Once obtained, you can then transfer the title deed into the buyer's name at one of the Lands Department centres to finalise the transaction. You will receive your payment in the form of a manager's cheque.
Simon Kennedy is Director of Dubai-based real estate firm Edwards and Towers. He is a Chartered Surveyor, having trained and qualified in London, and holds an Executive MBA from Cass Business School and a Real Estate MSc from Reading University. Simon currently oversees residential and commercial brokerage, valuations and consultancy at Edwards and Towers.