Tips for Buyers

On the lookout for ready property? Out to purchase a residential unit or commercial space? Let’s assume you’ve done your homework, made financial calculations, and finally zeroed in on the property of your choice. However, there’s still a few things you need to tick off your checklist before committing to your new property acquisition.

Ask yourself if you are willing to go it alone in the buying process. If you are a person who’s uncomfortable with negotiations, and if your knowledge of the market is barely adequate, partner up with a highly recommended agent, or someone who is well-experienced, familiar with the local market and property regulations, has a good track record and is duly licensed. You have the right to be picky because your agent’s job is represent your best interests in the market.

A common pitfall encountered in property acquisition is when the buyer or investor is in a big hurry, and has the tendency to jump at what seems to be the first good offer on the market. Sit back and take time to find motivated sellers, deliberate on your choices, and discuss the pros and cons of committing to a property right away with your agent. If you are buying space to conduct business, factor in your business plans during deliberation.

Whether you are a cash buyer or buying property on a mortgage, you need to plan for the down-payment, other initial fees that will need to be paid once the property transaction goes through, and periodic payments you may have to make during the rest of the year.

Know what you want in general and in particular: is it a two-bedroom apartment along Sheikh Zayed Road? Or a commercial floor in Downtown Dubai? What is your budget? What items on your list are compulsory? What are negotiable? If you are buying space to operate a business, is the area enough to make room for future expansion?

For homebuyers, open houses are a great way of gaining easy access to units that catch their eye and get immediate information from the owner or his agent

Whether or not a property comes with add-ons or enhancements, it is key to check for yourself the status of the power/electrical system, plumbing, cooling and heating systems. Turn the lights on and off, test the electrical outlets, turn on the taps, flush the toilet, etc. Is the unit or building well-insulated? For commercial building investors, info on the age of the building and history of use are important items to consider as well.

Most home sellers attach a very high value to their property especially if it is their former residence, so it goes without saying your agent should be able to guide you and help you gauge the true market value of an apartment or standalone residential unit. The same goes for commercial property buyers as you need to weigh in on the financials of buying a property or a building.

Let’s say you’re done with your preliminary inspection and you remain convinced that the property in question must be it. Before overcommitting, find out the terms of the seller who may ask for some form of security deposit once you book a property. Agree on how long the seller will wait to finalize the transaction and if the price will remain as is during the waiting period. If you can, work in a clause stating the sales deal is contingent on the property undergoing a professional inspection.

Now that you feel fully committed to buying a property, take a step back and get a professional property inspector involved, especially so if you are investing in a full building. Opt to be there during the inspection day. Your inspector will work through a detailed checklist, noting how the foundation and roofing structures are holding up, assessing the condition of the plumbing system, electrical system, building insulation, and searching for signs of flooding and/or water damage, etc.

All legal documentation need to be dealt with once the transaction is finalized. In Dubai, beginning May 1, 2014, “all transactions that relate to the purchase and sale of property in Dubai must be documented using standard form property contracts, as per a new policy being implemented by Dubai Land Department (DLD)”, that is, Form A – contract between the seller and broker; Form B – contract between the buyer and broker; and Form F – contract between the seller and buyer.