How to Open a Real Estate Company in Abu Dhabi: Step by step Guide

Abu Dhabi’s turquoise waters, white beaches, cultural sites, international cuisines, developed infrastructure, and a strong economy make the capital a perfect destination for property development and brokerage. As of October 2019, the real estate sector in Abu Dhabi is focused on controlling its supply as well as stimulating demand through expat-friendly initiatives. Foreign nationals are now permitted to own freehold properties in investment zones, thus the market expects a stable balance of supply and demand ahead of 2020.

Abu Dhabi real estate properties
Abu Dhabi real estate properties

Despite a saturated market in 2019, the value of properties (especially villas) remained resilient to price drops through flexible payment plans as well as occasionally waived registration fees. Developers adapt to changing trends by selling land plots to Emirati buyers. They aim to stimulate these sales further by marketing to other nationalities. As for apartments and villas, the market demand is leaning toward more affordable rental options as consumers grow more price-sensitive.

What are the benefits of a real estate business in Abu Dhabi?

  • The sector needs disruptive property technologies (prop-tech) and innovations (e.g. smart cities, AI, VR, AR, robotics, 3D printing, blockchain, and crowdfunding)
  • Access to a variety of platforms for ideas, investment, financing, and consultation to improve the sector (e.g. International Real Estate and Investment Show, Startup Expo 2020 pavilion, and Innovation Hub Awards)
  • Eased visa regulations and expat business ownership in the real estate sector (e.g. business-investment visas)
  • Abu Dhabi permits ex-pats to own freehold properties in certain investment zones
  • Property supply is being controlled by the new government committee
  • As a result of new initiatives and Expo 2020, property demand is expected to rise by 2020

How do I set up a Real Estate Business in Abu Dhabi?

Mainland businesses in Abu Dhabi allocate a minimum of 51% company share ownership to UAE Nationals while foreign investors are permitted up to 49%. However, real estate brokerage licensing must be fully owned by a UAE National.

Can a foreign investor partner with a UAE National to form a real estate company?

Yes, even though the full ownership of the company will belong to the UAE National partner, foreign investors can still partner with UAE Nationals to form a real estate company under the following terms:

  • To avoid uncertainty, foreign investors are offered complete security as per UAE Commercial Law as well as the Land Department of Abu Dhabi.
  • The Land Department of Abu Dhabi is responsible for protecting the interests of the foreign investors who act as managers or directors of the brokerage company.
  • The foreign investor is given 100% Power of Attorney, operational ownership, as well as total documented control over the company

foreign investor partner with a UAE National to form a real estate company

What are the steps to launching a Real Estate Brokerage firm in Abu Dhabi?

  1. Find a UAE National who will act as your local partner.
  2. Choose your company name.

You must provide 2-3 suggested original trade names to the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED).

  1. Receive initial approval.

If you require assistance with getting the initial approval from ADDED, contact one of our market entry specialists.

  1. Draft, sign, and notarize a Memorandum of Association.

The MOA is a legal document that defines the foreign investor’s relationship with the local partner.

  1. Receive brokerage certification from the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities (DPM).

DPM was formerly known as two separate departments, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport (DMAT) as well as the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC). The DPM is the Abu Dhabi equivalent of Dubai’s RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency).

  • Your brokers will require education, training, and certification from DPM as well as a Good Conduct Certificate from Abu Dhabi Police
  1. Rent an office space and provide a Tawtheeq tenancy contract to the concerned authority*
  2. Receive your real estate license in Mainland Abu Dhabi!

Contact us for detailed information on the cost structure and requirements of a real estate office space, the required formalities, as well as the relevant authorities for each document. Our PRO officers will advise and assist you to ensure a fast and hassle-free company formation process!


Phone: +971 4 341 9701

We are the UAE’s market entry specialists, if Abu Dhabi does not suit your business, receive our consultation about alternative options and costs for setting up a real estate brokerage company!

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