The Dubai property market has long been home to investors looking to make impressive yields. Often with great success.
Returns out here are known to eclipse other global real estate hubs such as London and New York, with yields of 6% and above not uncommon.
Even this year, in the wake of the pandemic, the UAE’s real estate market has remained steady with transactions continuing throughout.
Becoming a successful real estate agent or broker requires more than a healthy market, however. To go far in this business you must be tenacious, engaging, and have an eye for closing a deal. If that sounds like you, keep reading.
Benefits of starting a real estate business in Dubai
Aside from the potential for impressive yields, there are plenty of other benefits to starting a real estate business in Dubai.
For one, there is a large client base on tap. Dubai is home to huge numbers of expatriates, with a near-constant stream of overseas workers and entrepreneurs moving to the emirate every year. And, since the introduction of the long-term visa, many of these expatriates are now looking to buy rather than rent.
Dubai also benefits from some of the most advanced real estate legislation. Far from being cumbersome, this makes the industry incredibly transparent, protecting both brokers and buyers.
Dubai’s real estate market also has plenty of scope. As well as sales and letting, there is the option for entrepreneurs to turn their hand to property management, consultancy and advisory services, valuations, development and more.
How to start a real estate company in Dubai
The first step before starting the process of forming your real estate company in Dubai is to find a reputable company setup agent to assist with the process.
Working with an agent makes business setup in Dubai easy. We can manage the entire process for you, taking care of early admin and assisting with license, visa, and bank account applications.
When you work with a formation agent, the whole process can be complete in just 6 simple steps:
1. Outline your area of activity
Before moving onto the application stage, you must first outline your business activities. There are several that fall under the umbrella of real estate in Dubai and it’s important that you specify your chosen area. For example, you could become a broker, a property manager, or a sales and lettings agent.
2. Decide on company name
Next. Your setup agent will help you choose and register your company name, ensuring that it complies with the UAE’s naming criteria.
You cannot include any offensive or blasphemous language, nor any references to Allah or Islam in your company name. If you wish to include your name in your company name, you must use it in full rather than just your surname or initials. You must also check that your chosen name is available to be registered.
3. Choose your setup type
Your agent will now take you through the different types of setup on offer in Dubai. The most common are mainland and free zone.
Free zones offer a range of benefits, including, but certainly not limited to, full customs tax exemption, no currency restrictions and the ability to repatriate 100% of your capital and profit.
Mainland companies cannot take advantage of all of the benefits offered by free zones but they are permitted to trade directly with the local UAE market without the need for a service agent and can also take on government contracts – both things that free zone businesses cannot do.
For real estate companies, free zones are usually the most hassle-free way to set up a company in Dubai.
4. Apply for your visa
Next, you’ll need to begin the visa application process. This involves a visit to an immigration centre during the process to provide biometric information. The visa application also includes a fitness test, blood test and chest x-ray.
Providing you meet the salary criteria, it is also possible to sponsor others for their UAE visas too, such as your children, partner or parents.
5. Obtain your qualifications
To become a real estate broker in the UAE, you are required to study for and pass a formal qualification issued by the Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI).
The certification, known as Certified Training for Real Estate Brokers, is a four-day course followed by an exam. You must pass the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) exam in order to apply for your real estate license.
6. Apply for your license
Now for the all-important step – applying for your company license.
The process here is slightly different depending on whether you have chosen to set up a free zone or mainland business.
If you’ve decided that the mainland is a better base for your business, you’ll need to make your application directly to the DED. Most of this process takes place online.
Alternatively, if you have decided on a free zone setup then you can make your application directly to your chosen free zone. As free zones are self-regulated, you do require additional approvals to trade, making the process faster and more efficient. This is one of several reasons why free zone company setup is often the most affordable and straightforward method of starting a business in Dubai.
Cost of opening a real estate brokerage in Dubai
There are several costs involved in opening a real estate brokerage in Dubai. Firstly, you’ll need to account for the cost of training and exams. This comes in at AED 3,000 for the four-day course plus AED 3,200 for the exam if you have a bachelor’s degree and AED 6,300 if you do not.
Then there is the cost of your trade license which will vary depending on where you set up. Opening your business in a free zone is usually the most cost-effective option with license packages starting from AED 9,600.
Business setup in Dubai
The process of company creation in Dubai has been designed with simplicity in mind. That said, it does take some in-depth knowledge of the UAE and its many customs and regulations.
That’s why it’s always advisable to acquire the services of a business setup company who can not only advise on the process but also seek out the most suitable license and setup type for your business, based on your needs and your budget.
When you use business setup services, you also gain peace of mind that your license and visa applications are free from errors and omissions – both of which can lead to delays and rejection.
When you work with a company formation specialist, all you need to provide is some basic documentation and a little information about the nature of your business. Then, sit back and let the experts take care of the rest – managing your license and visa applications, communicating with all relevant departments and authorities, and reporting back when you’re ready to start trading. It really is that simple.