UAE property players react to Dubai’s online real estate plan

Two of the UAE’s best known web portals have welcomed the announcement by Dubai Land Department (DLD) to move all real estate transactions online.

Propertyfinder and Dubizzle Property hailed the move, saying it will promote transparency and ease the process of buying and renting homes in the UAE.

DLD on Monday announced plans for the Real Estate Self Transaction (REST), a platform for conducting real estate trading and transactions with multiple parties anywhere and anytime which will be fully developed by the first quarter of 2020.

Lukman Hajje, chief commercial officer of Propertyfinder Group, said: “We welcome any initiative that promotes transparency and eases the buying or renting process for consumers.”
He added that the real estate agent’s role as gatekeeper of information has been disrupted as more information moves online but their role “won’t be rendered obsolete any time soon”.

“Online platforms cannot conduct inspections, negotiate price and terms, qualify buyers and haggle with landlords and sellers. Good brokers add a lot of value and expertise to the experience that more than justify the commission they charge,” he added.

Samer Abdin, general manager of dubizzle Property, also welcomed the initiative, saying: “The recent announcement of REST by the Dubai Land Department will have far-reaching impacts on the property market in the UAE and is a testament to the Dubai government’s commitment to driving the digital economy and boosting the UAE’s regional and global competitive edge.

“We see the introduction of paperless technology as a facilitator rather than a disruptor in the real estate industry. REST will make transactions faster and more efficient, especially for overseas buyers, we believe real estate agents will continue to have a critical role to play.”

Zarah Evans, managing partner of Exclusive Links Real Estate, said she believes the initiative may discourage more real estate names entering an already crowded market.

“I see as a positive move to reduce the number of players and potentially raise industry standards and products,” she said.

Jackie Johns, managing partner of Premier Estates, added: “I welcome any initiatives from the government, however feel that a broker’s role is more than just buying and selling a property. We are advisors, conveyancers, sometimes even councilors when a transaction gets delayed or if one party becomes too demanding. An experienced broker wears many hats that really cannot be removed from all transactions.”

“It just makes sense,” said Fabricio Saltini, sales manager at For Est Real Estate. “Sellers and buyers are in many cases overseas and have to come to Dubai specifically for the transaction. They won’t need to any more after this initiative.”


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