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Are Dubai Real Estate Listings Fake?

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

One challenge when trying to find a property to rent or buy in Dubai is the high share of fake real estate listings on online platforms, as we discussed in a previous article on how to work with Dubai real estate agents.

The good news is that Dubai is trying to fix that. In this article, we are covering in detail how you can make sure a listing is real.

Fake Listings

When you visit online property platforms like propertyfinder, bayut or dubizzle, there is a high likelihood that any property listing is not real.

Oftentimes, real estate agents use photos and descriptions of highly attractive properties just to get leads and lure in customers.

When you contact the responsible real estate agent, you often find out that the property isn't available.

The real estate agent then usually proceeds to offer you alternative properties instead, and sometimes these alternative properties are not even located in the same building.

As a result, when you are looking at properties online, you run the risk of wasting a large amount of your time chasing elusive properties that aren't available.

Dubai property listings on online platforms are not always reliable

Government Verification System

To combat the large number of fake listings on online property platforms, the Dubai Land Department recently introduced a world-first property listing verification system.

This is how it works.

Real estate agents register a property listing, whether it is for sale or for renting out, with the Dubai Land Department.

The Dubai Land Department then issues the agent with a unique QR code that verifies the listing’s authenticity.

Propertyfinder is among the first online platforms to introduce the Dubai Land Department’s property listing verification system

At the time this video is made, select property listings on propertyfinder feature the Dubai Land Department’s QR code at the bottom of listings.

To verify a listing, simply scan the QR code at the bottom of the page with your mobile phone camera, or alternatively click on the adjacent link.

You are then redirected to the Dubai Land Department's website with the verified property details.

Here you will see the registered real estate agent, the property's square footage, and the property's asking price.

And while this verification system is a great step forward toward greater transparency, you still need to remain vigilant.

For example, the verification system does not verify whether the displayed photos are correct. Real estate listings may still show photos from other (more attractive) properties to lure in customers.

Platform Verified Listings

Before the Dubai Land Department introduced its listing verification service, customers relied exclusively on so-called “verified” listing labels on propertyfinder. On Bayut, these labels are known as “trucheck”.

A property platform "verification" badge

Real estate agents can obtain such labels for a property by paying a fee to the online platform, which then verifies the authenticity of the listing and the provided photos.

The problem with platform-verified listings is the tendency of some agents to keep a verified listing up on the platform even after it was sold or rented out.

That way, real estate agents can continue to use the trust generated by a verified listing to lure in prospective clients and try to sell them less attractive properties instead.

Making sure that a property listing is authentic is just the beginning. Dubai's property market is highly complex.

Rental yields and capital appreciation returns vary greatly between neighborhoods, and even between buildings in the same city district.

We are Dubai's only 100% independent property advisors and support you in calculating expected rental and capital appreciation returns before you invest.

Investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate without a proper cash flow analysis and analyzing market trends is putting your money at risk.


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