Buyers Quick Guide to Property Handover

Buyers Quick Guide to Property Handover

Buyers Quick Guide to Property Handover

Alhamdulillah! Finally, after many years of waiting, your property in Dubai is ready to be handed over from the developer and you can soon start to see some return on your investment or move-in, live and enjoy the property yourself.

Reality check! The Handover & Snagging process can become much more complicated and stressful if you are not familiar with the processes in Dubai and/or if you do not have the proper guidance. 

Below is a just a general guide to property Snagging and Handover:


As soon as the building is completed, your Developer will send out the completion notice and demand that you take Handover within 30 days or risk penalties being levied. The Completion notice which is sent to your registered postal and/or email address will contain the prerequisite (obligations) set forth by the Developer that you will need to fulfil prior to taking physical possession of your property as the new owner. 


Before taking physical possession of your new property, it is always the best practice to carry out a detailed inspection of the property to ensure that the unit is in a move-in ready condition and is suitable for beneficial occupancy. This activity is called the Snagging Inspection and should be carried out “prior” to signing any handover paper works and/or taking handover of the key since any repairs or amendments made after this will never be easy and may involve a lot of follow up calls and emails.

Normally, your developer will give you an appointment to carry out the snagging before you collect the keys. Take note that if you fail to inspect your property within the allotted timeframe given by your developer, this might result to you waiving your rights to inspect the property and thus accept the property in as it is condition. 

At the time of Snagging inspection, go through the property thoroughly and note down as much as possible defects or problems that you noticed. Make a written list of the defects and issues that you have observed and forward the same to your Developer will pass the list to the contractor for necessary remedial action within a reasonable time.

Make sure you retain a copy of your snag for any subsequent follow-ups with the Developer. 

Note: If you cannot be present in Dubai to carry out the snagging inspection or perhaps the above just sounds like a massive inconvenience, you may benefit from appointing a 3rd Party Professional Inspector, Afterall snagging are one of those jobs best left to professionals.


Once the Contactor confirmed to have satisfactorily completed the snag rectification and corrective works based on your provided list of defects (also known as Snag List), your Developer will send out a Handover Notice through your registered email address informing you to make an appointment with the Developers Handover Team in order to receive and take handover the Key to your new property. 


Along with the Completion Notice, you should also receive a Handover pack which includes the details of your completion/account statement with the developer which should outline clearly what you have paid and also what is pending and required in order for you to take possession of your property. Do note that this will vary from developer to developer but on the most part, the closing costs are standard across the board. Below are the briefs of the main ones 

  • Final Installments
    • You will need to pay off any final amounts pending on the purchase price of the property in accordance to the terms and conditions of your sales contract with the developer. For late payments, penalties can be levied on the account and if still no payment, the developer can even apply to the Dubai Land Department for termination of the unit based on breach of the sales agreement between you and the developer.
  • Oqood Fees
    • Oqood is the Arabic word for “contract” and this is the pre-registration of your property with the Dubai Land Department. It is mandatory in Dubai that all offplan sales are registered with the Dubai Land Department. This is regulated under Law 13 of 2008 – Regulating the Interim Real Estate Register. All developers are required to register sale and purchase agreements on an Interim Real Estate Register and in practice, the Oqood system is used to record such registrations. The Oqood system aims to ease the registering of contracts between developers and buyers and allows developers to manage offplan properties. It protects buyers too as it safeguards their interests by ensuring that their property is registered properly.
    • The current Oqood fee is AED 1,040 (inclusive of admin fee and knowledge fee). There will also be standard unit registration fees of 4% of the purchase price (see registration fee).
  • Registration Fees
    • All owners will also have to pay registration fees on the property of 4% of the purchase price plus the AED 580 Title Deed issuance fee. This is again mandatory and is to be paid by manager’s cheque to the Dubai Land Department or via Bank Transfer through your Developer.
    • Again, if you default on your payment obligation, penalties may be levied as ultimately the property will not be yours until you have paid to register it in your name.
  • Service Charges
    • Service charges fees are charges that all property owners pay annually to cover the upkeep of the common areas of the building. This includes any swimming pools, gyms, lifts, parking, security, gardens etc. They are calculated on a per square foot basis on the net area of the property. The developer initially sets the charges but they are now governed by RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency), the regulatory arm of the Dubai Land Department.
    • In order to take Handover, the service charges must be paid in advance to the developer, normally on a quarterly basis
  • Administration Fees
    • Most developers charge some sort of admin fee for the completion of the paperwork for the Handover process. These fees are normally between AED 500-AED 1000 depending on developer. According to Law 13 of 2008, a developer is not permitted to charge transfer fees for the sale or re-sale unless such fees are administrative in nature. As such, most developers charge “administrative fees” when conducting Handovers and transfers of title to new owners.
  • Utility Registration Fees
    • You will also need to register the utilities in your name in advance of the Handover. This includes the water, electricity, air conditioning and LPG (if applicable).
    • DEWA registration fees are AED 2,110 – AED 2,000 is a refundable deposit (upon the sale of the unit) and an AED 110 non-refundable connection fee.
    • Air Conditioning fees vary depending on the District Cooling provider (such as EMPOWER, and EMICOO to name a few) and are often time calculated depending on AC tonnage and/or the number of bedrooms your unit has.
    • Once the utilities are registered under the new owner’s name, the receipts must be provided to the developer as part of the Handover process
    • Note: The above figures are just a guideline and you should receive a full breakdown and instructions in your Handover pack from the developer.  This will detail exactly what you have and have not paid and what is required from you in order to take possession of your property. 


Once you are satisfied with the overall condition of the property and have made all payments to the developer, you will finally be in a position to take Handover of your property and receive the keys/access cards. The developer will give you an appointment to sign the final paperwork to take possession of the property.

All owners will need to be present personally to sign the Handover papers or alternatively they must be represented by a legally appointed Power of Attorney. You or the appointed POA must bring all original documents (including passports, sales & purchase agreements, utility receipts, payment receipts etc) to the appointment. The developer will prepare all of the paperwork, you will sign and then receive your Payment Clearance Certificate, Key Release Forms, keys/access cards etc.


Congratulations! you are now the proud owner of the new property. The property is now yours to move into, rent or perhaps re-sell. At long last, you are in a position to enjoy your property or start making some return on your investment.