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This glossary addresses end users and new investors regarding property in Dubai. It is intended to explain technical terms and abbreviations in a simple language to improve the understanding of real estate related correspondence. Please feel encouraged to comment in reference of any item or the whole glossary via our contact form.

Addendum
An addendum (plural: addenda) is something that is added as an attachment. E.g. most tenancy contracts have an addendum to agree on further details of the standard tenancy contract.
Agreement of Sale
An Agreement of Sale is a legally binding contract between a buyer/buyers and a seller/sellers which defines in the context of Dubai Real Estate the process of transferring the ownership of a property from one party to another.
Al Furjan
See Furjan.
Amendment
An amendment is a change, correction, or extension of an agreement that does not change the basic thrust of the agreement.
Appraisal
See Valuation
BRN
An abbreviation for Broker Registration Number. This is the number that RERA assigns to each broker. It must be used on all advertising material, along with the ORN (Office Registration Number).
Broker
A broker is a licensed person who, for a fee, acts on behalf of property owners in real estate transactions within the scope of the law. He or she is an agent of the prospective buyer or owner who employs him or her For example, a person wishing to sell or lease property often engages a broker to arrange the sale or locate tenants. A broker may also be engaged by a prospective buyer or tenant to locate acceptable property.
Bulk deal
Investing in 3 or more units at the same time is widely considered a bulk deal.
Business Bay
Business Bay or short BB is an area in Dubai near the Burj Khalifa/Downtown area. Business Bay will have upwards of 240 buildings, comprising commercial and residential developments. Business Bay is considered a "city" within the city of Dubai
Cityscape
Cityscape Global or short Cityscape is an annually held Real Estate Exhibition in Dubai.
Code of Ethics
The Code of Ethics, published by RERA, is a living, dynamic statement that has moved with times, updating annually to guide brokers in their daily professional lives. The Code of Ethics regulates the relationship with clients, other brokers and with the public. Adherence to these standards is considered one of the requisites for recognition as a professional. For more details see the complete Code of Ethics.
Collateral
An asset used to secure a debt. Example: When purchasing a home through bank financing (Mortgage), the real property will be used as collateral for the loan.
Common Areas
The common parts of a jointly owned property. Designated for common use by the owners and occupants of units. Examples of common areas: Lobby, Pool, Gym, Hallways, Stairways.
Comparative Market Analysis
A comparative market analysis or short CMA is a market research tool used to calculate the fair market price of a property by comparing a number of similar properties to the subject property. Often used by a broker to advise a Seller at what price the property should be listed.
DCH
Short for Dubai Creek Harbour.
DEWA
Short for Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.
Department of Economic Development (DED)
DED is the authority that licenses business activities. DED, in cooperation with RERA, classifies real estate activities. Brokers may only work within the activities that they are licensed for.
Deposit
A deposit or down payment is the cheque that the buyer or tenant issues in order to reserve a property and show that he/she is seriously interested and committed. A buyer typically writes a cheque of 10% of the selling price to the seller. A tenant typically writes a cheque of 5% of the annual rent to the landlord.
DIFC
Short for Dubai International Financial Centre.
Distress Sale
A sale of real estate where the seller is under compulsion, or forced to sell.
DLD
Short for Dubai Land Department.
Dubai Creek Harbour
Dubai Creek Harbour or short DCH is a prestigious new development by EMAAR. It's located near the sanctuary Ras al Khor and will be home for almost 500,000 people, the next Super Mall (2 times bigger than Dubai Mall) and a tower, taller than Burj Khalifa. Previously known as The Lagoons by DP. More Details about Dubai Creek Harbour.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority or short DEWA is the utility company which provide electricity and water to Dubai housholds.
Dubai Harbour
Dubai Harbour is a new beachfront development by EMAAR and Meraas. It's located between Dubai Marina and The Palm Jumeirah.
Dubai International Financial Centre
Dubai International Financial Centre or short DIFC is an area along SZR which has its own property register, a separate Court system known as the DIFC Courts and its own property laws.
Dubai Land Department
The Dubai Land Department or short DLD is a government organization, established on 24 January 1960 to oversee affairs related to lands and private properties in the emirate of Dubai, in order to register these lands and properties in a systematic and effective manner and to safeguard the rights of people.
The Dubai Land Department's vision is to be the global leading real estate environment to attract investments. The Dubai Land Department's mission is to create a real estate environment which applies best practice international standards to guarantee all stakeholders rights and contributes to the development of society by
  • Developing and applying clear and transparent real estate regulations
  • Providing distinctive and efficient real estate services that help attract investment into the sector
  • Increasing real estate knowledge
Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina is an artificial canal city, built along a 3 km stretch of Arabian Gulf shoreline. When the entire development is complete, it will accommodate more than 120,000 people in residential towers and villas. It is located on Interchange 5 between Jebel Ali Port and the area which hosts Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, and the American University of Dubai. The first phase of this project has been completed. Dubai Marina was inspired by the Concord Pacific Place development along False Creek in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Dubai Real Estate Institute
Dubai Real Estate Institute or short DREI is the educational arm of the DLD. DREI’s vision is to become the leading international benchmark in spreading and sustaining real estate knowledge.
DREI’s objectives are
  • Provision of advanced and high quality programs in collaboration with internationally recognized universities
  • Publishing researches and provision of property related consultations to the public and private sector
  • Enhancing communications among all stakeholders
  • Empowering society by disseminating real estate knowledge.
Dubai Waterfront
Dubai Waterfront will extend Dubai coastal line by 820 kilometers (492 miles), which is 12 times the current length of Dubai's coastline, and will cover an area of over 81 million squared meters (266 million square feet). It is intended to be the world's largest beachfront development and the largest man-made development. It will be larger than Manhattan or Beirut and is being built to be Dubai's premium luxury district. The development will feature over 100 different waterfront developments and over 150 planned communities.
Dubai World Central (DWC) - Al Maktoum International Airport
With a projected annual capacity of 160 million passengers and 12 million tons (12,000,000 long tons; 13,000,000 short tons) of freight. The new airport will cover an area of 55,000 acres (220 km2). The airport is referred to as "the world’s first purpose-built aerotropolis“. Located in Jebel Ali, 37 km south west of Dubai, that opened on 27 June 2010. It will be the main part of Dubai World Central, a planned residential, commercial and logistics complex scheme. World Central is the world's first truly integrated logistics platform, with most transport modes, logistics and value-added services, including manufacturing and assembly, in a single free economic zone.
Due Diligence
Taking reasonable steps to avoid committing a mistake that could cause a client to suffer a financial loss.
Down payment
See deposit.
Ejari
Ejari is the legal registration of tenancy contract in Dubai. It is mandatory for the landlord by law. However, practice often is that it is done by the tenant.
EMAAR
EMAAR Properties PJSC or short EMAAR is a Dubai based real estate developer founded in 1997. EMAAR developed more than 142 projects, e.g. well known projects like the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Opera, ...
EMAAR on Wikipedia.
Emirates Hills
Emirates Hills is the flagship community of Emirates Living, consisting of exclusive custom built villas, on plot sizes ranging between 12,000 and 45,000 sqft. Wide, quiet streetscapes are lined with trees and lush landscaping, with most properties overlooking the championship standard fairways and greens of the Montgomerie Golf Course.
Emirates Living
Emirates Living one of the most desirable addresses when it comes to established villa living, the Emirates Living Master Development is home to approximately 8,500 villas, and spans a total area of 52.2 million square feet. Tree-lined streets and pathways, attractively landscaped lakes, gardens and recreation areas make it perfect for those who want to escape the bustling city life and enjoy the relative peace and quiet of suburbia. There’s a real feeling of community, with beautifully maintained surroundings and amenities. The Emirates Living Master Community consists of The Lakes, The Meadows, The Springs, Hattan and Emirates Hills. Each features a balance of well-appointed villas, handsome private neighbourhoods and manicured landscaping, making them all desirable residential communities in an inimitable setting. Tying the entire Emirates Living Master Community together are key assets of Master Community infrastructure including roads, pavements, lakes ... .
Escrow
Escrow is an agreement between two or more parties providing that certain money, instruments or property be placed with a third party (bank) for safekeeping pending the fulfillment or performance of a specific act or condition. The DLD controls the escrow account. Money/funds are released from the escrow account based on the certified progress of a Project.
Floor area ratio
Floor area ratio or short FAR is used in Dubai to regulate developers to construct buildings that provide a certain quality of living.
Form A
Form A is nothing else than a simple 3 pages form to be filled in by seller and agency. It's the agreement between the parties to sell the property. Apart from being mandatory it allows to market your property in the form of a verified listing which will attract more serious buyers.
Form A for free download.
Form B
Form B is the written agreement between the Buyer and Broker for the purchase of a property. It is required by DLD for all transactions.
Form B for free download.
Form F
Form F is the written agreement between the Seller and Buyer, containing the terms for the sale of a property. It is required by DLD for all transactions. Also known as Unified Sales Contract.
Form I
Form I is the written agreement between 2 brokers.
Form U
Form U terminates any agreement.
Form U for free download.
Freehold
In May 2002, the at the time crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, issued a decree allowing foreigners to buy property on freehold ownership. In Freehold you own the property and land forever.
Free Zone
A special economic zone in which entities (businesses) that are established in that zone have certain advantages. In Dubai, Free Zones allow for 100% foreign ownership and zero taxation.
Fund
See investment fund
Furjan
Al Furjan is a master community located off Sheikh Zayed Road and close to Discovery Gardens & Ibn Battuta Mall. The community has several projects which include Nakheel Villas & Townhouses, G+1 plots, building plots and private apartment & townhouse projects by 3rd party developers.
GCC
Short for Gulf Cooperation Council.
Grantee
A grantee receives a deed from a grantor.
Grantor
A grantor gives a deed to a grantee.
Gulf Cooperation Council
The Gulf Cooperation Council or short GCC is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. The nationals of GCC countries may own property in any area of Dubai.
Ijara
A type of Islamic financing where the Lender leases the property to the Buyer (Borrower) as Lessee, until the loan has been paid in full. There is a special Deed called “Ijara” issued by the DLD for this type of arrangement.
Interim Real Estate Register
See Oqood.
Investment Fund
An investment fund is a way of investing money alongside other investors in order to benefit from the inherent advantages of working as part of a group. These advantages include:
  • Professional investment management, which offers better returns and more adequate risk management
  • Benefit from economies of scale, i.e., lower transaction costs.
JLT
Short for Jumeirah Lakes Towers.
Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Jumeirah Lakes Towers or short JLT is a freehold development mainly consisting of highrise along the edges of four artificial lakes (Lake Almas West, Lake Almas East, Lake Elucio, and Lake Allure). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumeirah_Lake_Towers
Landlord:
The owner of a property that is leased (rented) to a Tenant.
Lease
A written agreement between the owner of a property (Landlord) and the occupant of the property (Tenant), in which the Tenant has the right to use and enjoy the property for the amount of time specified in the agreement.
Leasehold
In Leasehold you own the property, but not the land. Leasehold ownership is anywhere from over 10 years up to 99 years.
Lender
The Bank that makes a loan for the purchase of a property.
Lender Preapproval
It is the practice by a lender of approving a borrower for a certain loan amount. This allows prospective homebuyers to shop with the knowledge, likely to be shared with seller and broker to demonstrate their financial capability, that the loan will be approved.
Lessee
A lessee takes a lease, a tenant.
Lessor
A lessor gives a lease, a landlord.
Letter of Intent (LOI)
A preliminary agreement between two parties which outlines the desire of the Buyer to purchase a certain property. It resembles a written contract, but is usually not binding on the parties.
Liability letter
A liability letter is a document, issud by a seller's bank expressing to release the mortgage once the outstanding balance of the mortgage on the property is settled.
Listing
A listing is a contract between an owner and a broker authorizing the broker to find a buyer or a tenant who is willing to buy or lease the property under the terms of the listing.
Long term
A Real Estate investment strategy is considered long term if you invest with the intention to sell within a horizon of more than 10 years.
Master Developer
The Developer, who is in charge of developing a Master Community, along with all of its facilities and utility connections.
Medium term
A Real Estate investment strategy is considered medium term if you invest with the intention to sell within a horizon of somewhere between 3 and up to 10 years.
Memorandum of Understanding
Memorandum of Understanding or short MoU is a common term, typically used in the secondary market in Dubai Real Estate to refer to the legally binding contract between a buyer and a seller of a property. It is essentially an Agreement of Sale.
Month over month
Month over month or short mom refers to comparing one month of data to the previous month of data. See also quarter over quarter and year over year.
Mortgage
A contract whereby a creditor acquires security over Property or a Property Unit for the repayment of his debt, ahead of ordinary creditors and lower ranking creditors, from the value of the Property wherever located and by whomsoever held.
Mortgagee
The Lender (Bank) that makes the loan for the purchase of a property.
Mortgagor
The Borrower (Buyer) that takes the loan for the purchase of a property.
MoU
Short for Memorandunm of Understanding.
Non-Disclosure Agreement
NDA is a contract between two parties where they mutually agree to provide each other with certain confidential information or material which is not generally known by the public. Obligations of both parties are also explained in the contract.
No Objection Certificate
A no objection certificate or short NOC is requested by the seller from the developer when selling a property. The document states that the developer has no objection to the transfer of ownership from the Seller to the Buyer. By law, a developer can charge a maximum of AED 5,000 to issue an NOC for the sale of an off-plan property. A Seller might require two NOC’s, one from the Master Developer and another from the subdeveloper, if applicable.
Offeree
An offeree receives a deed from a offeror.
Offeror
An offeror makes an offer to the offeree.
Off-plan
Off-plan refers to property before it's handover, typically offered for sale by developers but can also be found on the secondary market for various reasons. Off-plan property tends to be cheaper then completed and handed over property but also comes with no yield until the handover and the risk of a delayed handover.
Oqood
Oqood is a prove of ownership for off-plan properties in the interims register, similar to a title deed for established respectively completed properties.
ORN
Short for Office Registration Number. This is the number that RERA assigns to each Brokerage Company. It must be used on all advertising material, along with the BRN (Broker Registration Number)
Owners Association
In jointly owned properties, the Owners Association manages, operates and maintains the common areas.
Palm Jumeirah
It is one of three planned islands called the Palm Islands (Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira) which would have extended into the Arabian Gulf, increasing Dubai's shoreline by a total of 520 kilometers (320 mi). The Palm Jumeirah is the smallest and the original of three Palm Islands originally under development by Nakheel. It is located on the Jumeirah coastal area of the emirate of Dubai, in the UAE.
PDC
Post dated cheques
Power of Attorney (POA)
A legal appointment from one person (Grantor) to another (Grantee) to act on Grantor’s behalf in his/her absence. The Grantee has authority to make decisions and sign legal documents on behalf of the Grantor. All POA’s need to be notarised and properly attested.
Property Management
A service which acts as the liaison between the Owner (Landlord) and the Tenant. Property Managers and Property Management Companies require a separate license from DED and RERA.
Property Register
The documents kept in written or electronic format in an electronic record maintained by the DLD in which the description and location of each real property and the rights related to them are stated.
Propspace
Real Estate CRM Software - Custom built real estate CRM sofware for the real estate industry
psf
Psf stands for per square foot. Often used to compare prices of units in the same area but of different sizes.
psm
Psm or pm2 or pm2 stands for per square meter. Often used to compare prices of units in the same area but of different sizes.
Quarter over quarter
Quarter over quarter or short qoq refers to comparing one quarter of data to the previous quarter of data. See also month over month and year over year.
Real Estate Regulatory Agency
The Real Estate Regulatory Agency or short RERA was established as a result of a law issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in 2007. Supported by the DLD, RERA plays a key and executive role in the regulation of Dubai’s real estate scene. Despite being a young entity and with the help of a qualified national staff, RERA has managed to register all real estate developments and brokerage companies in the emirate.
RERA's Role is
  • Licensing all real estate activities.
  • Managing real estate developers' trust accounts.
  • Licensing and organizing real estate agents.
  • Regulating and registering Rental Agreements.
  • Regulating and supervising the owners associations
  • Regulating real estate advertisements in the media.
  • Regulating and licensing Real estate exhibitions.
  • Enhancing national participation in the real estate sector.
  • Increasing real estate awareness
Real Property
Real property or real estate is everything more or less permanently affixed to land oposed to personal property which is everything else.
Registration Trustee
A Registration Trustee or short RT is a legally qualified UAE national, who runs a licensed office to facilitate and accelerate the process of property registration for investors. He/She basically acts like an office of the DLD.
Rental Dispute Settlement Center
The Rental Dispute Settlement Center, Rental Dispute Center or short RDSC, based at the DLD, has been moved under the umbrella of DLD through Decree No: 26 of 2013. The new Rental Dispute Settlement Centre will employ new methods with flexible mechanisms characterized by speed and efficiency. It will facilitate greater accuracy, impartiality and transparency when dealing with settlement issues and matters related to Dubai's real estate market.
Rental Index
Created by RERA, it gives a price range for rents based on area of the property and number of bedrooms. Rental increase caps for yearly renewals are based on the RERA Rental Index.
Rental yield
See Yield.
Return on Investment
Return on Investment or short ROI describes a mathematically calculated percentage to measure and allow comparison of the efficiency of investments. We use it here to assess and compare offers by sellers in order to predict the efficiency of investments. To calculate ROI, the benefit (or return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment, and the result is expressed as a percentage
ROI
Short for Return on Investment.
Sales and Purchase Agreement
Sales and Purchase Agreement or short SPA is typically the name, used in the primary market for the legally binding contract with the buyer of an off plan property. It is equivalent to a Memorandum of Understanding and essentially an Agreement of Sale. In Dubai Real Estate it is sometimes used interchangeably.
Service Charges
In jointly owned properties, owners associations raise funds for maintenance, repair, management and administrative costs of the common areas through service charges. Service charges are charged typically on a yearly basis. Before charging the owners, the owners association must get approval of the charges from RERA. If an owner fails to pay the service charges, the owners association may file a lawsuit against the owner for the unpaid balance of the charges, plus impose a 12% per annum penalty, calculated on a daily basis, until the paid in full.
From the investor's point of view the service charges are the most important expenses and the difference between the gross and the net yield.
Sheikh Zayed Road
Sheikh Zayed Road or short SZR or E11 is the main artery in Dubai parallel to the coastline.
Short term
A Real Estate investment strategy is considered short term if you invest with the intention to sell within a horizon of 1 to 3 years.
Site Plan
A plan registered in the Property Register, showing the units and their common areas.
SPA
Short for Sales and Purchase Agreement.
Sparkle Towers
Sparkle Towers is a residential development of 2 towers in Dubai Marina by Tebyan in partnership with Swarovski. Completion is scheduled for June 2017. Sparkle Towers consists of studios, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments and 4 bedroom penthouses. More Details about the Sparkle Towers.
Subdeveloper
A Developer of individual buildings within a Master Community. Subdeveloper must adhere to the standards set by the Master Developer when constructing.
SZR
Short for Sheikh Zayed Road.
Tax
Tax is a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by a government. Oposed to most western countries there is no tax in Dubai on capital, capital gain, income or profit.
Tenant
A person who occupies property leased (rented) from a Landlord.
The Lakes
The Lakes are 5 well established residential sub-communities withing Emirates Living, namely, Deema, Forat, Maeen, Zulal and Ghadeer. Family freehold villas, almost 1000 in number, offer accommodation between 3 and 5 bedrooms. The neighbourhoods are scattered with a variety of facilities and share a huge football field incorporating a full size basketball court, two full size tennis courts and a children’s playground, shared with the neighbouring community of Hattan at Emirates Golf Club.
The Meadows
The Meadows are 9 separate residential sub-communities withing Emirates Living with almost 2,000 spacious independent two-storey villas with between 3 to 7 bedrooms, many of which have lake or park views. Popular with families who appreciate the security of living in a gated community, The Meadows is a well-established and matured neighbourhood which contains a large selection of common amenities including lush landscaped areas and paths for enjoying a stroll.
The Springs
The Springs are 14 separate residential sub-communities withing Emirates Living (Springs 13 doesn't exist), each with a range of accommodation and facilities. There are almost 5,000 townhouses and a number of independent villas, offering typically 2 and 3 bedrooms. The Springs form the largest of the Emirates Living communities and have a wealth of landscaped common areas, lakes and playgrounds, as well as swimming pools and barbecue areas. There are lots of paths around the lakes for a stroll, with benches for those who like to sit back and watch the world go by. Master Community amenities are a short walk away in the form of schools, shops, nurseries and mosques.
Title deed
The Title deed is the document which documents the ownership of a particular owner of a particular property.
Transfer
Event where both Buyer and Seller (or their representatives) and Lender (if applicable) attend the Registration Trustee’s office (or Dubai Land Department) and the transfer of title from Seller to Buyer takes place, as well as an exchange of any monies due to any party.
Transfer fee
The transfer fee is the fee charged by the RT or DLD for transfering the legal right of a real property from the seller to the buyer and issue a new title deed to the buyer. It's currently 4% of the selling price and payable as manager's cheque to the DLD.
UAE
Short for United Arab Emirates.
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates or short UAE are the country in which the Emirate and City of Dubai is located.
Valuation
The process of valuing real estate. This is done by a professional Valuer, using different methods based on the type of property. Also known as appraisal.
Value added tax
Value added tax or short VAT is a consumption or indirect tax that is collected at the point of sale. VAT is likely to be introduced in Dubai and across the UAE on 1 January 2018. The rate will be low and is likely to be 5 %. See also Q and A about VAT
VAT
Short for Value Added Tax.
Vendee
The vendee is the buyer.
Vendor
The vendor is the seller.
Wear and Tear
Damage to property that results from ordinary use of an item, not including malicious or gross misuse.
World Islands
A development by Nakheel, a collection of 300 private islands in the shape of continents located off the coast of Dubai, The World reinvents the earth and offers the ultimate in privacy and exclusivity Each island will range from 250,000 to 900,000 square feet in size, with 50 to 100 meters of water between each island. It is 9 kilometers in length and 6 kilometers in width, surrounded by an oval shaped breakwater. The only means of transportation between the islands will be by marine or air transport.
Year over year
Year over year or short yoy refers to comparing one year of data to the previous year of data. See also month over month and quarter over quarter.
Yield
Yield or rental yield is often used to refer to how much profit/Return on Investment a property can realize per year by comparing achievable rent and property value.
Yoy
Short for Year over year.

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