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Understand the Aqd Shira'a Aqar

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When it comes to buying real estate in Oman, making sure you fully grasp the property sales contract is essential.

Indeed, not fully understanding the document you will sign can lead to financial losses, including the forfeiture of deposits, payment of penalties, unexpected costs, legal expenses, and potential poor investment decisions.

We've heard countless stories of people making costly mistakes when signing their property agreement in Oman. We want to help you avoid the same experience.

We'll give here a very brief overview regarding the property sales contract in Oman ; if you want a full checklist, please check our property pack for Oman.

What is the Aqd Shira'a Aqar in Oman?

In Oman, the property purchase agreement is a crucial document in real estate transactions.

Locally, it might be referred to as "عقد شراء عقار" (Aqd Shira'a Aqar). This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the sale and purchase of property. It is legally binding, ensuring both the buyer and the seller adhere to their commitments.

The agreement works as a guarantee for both parties.

For the seller, it confirms the buyer's intention to purchase and their agreement to the terms.

For the buyer, it secures the property and outlines the seller's obligations, like transferring the property free from liens or encumbrances.

International buyers or non-residents face specific regulations in Oman. The government restricts foreign ownership to designated areas, known as Integrated Tourism Complexes (ITCs). Buyers from outside the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) can purchase property only in these areas.

Additionally, international buyers often face more stringent financial scrutiny and might need government approval.

You typically sign the property purchase agreement during the initial stages of the buying process, after agreeing on the price but before the final transfer of ownership. A deposit is usually required as a sign of commitment.

The amount varies but is often a percentage of the purchase price, negotiated between the buyer and seller.

The process in Oman has its unique aspects compared to other countries. The focus on ITCs for international buyers is one.

Another is the involvement of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning in registering property transactions, which might not be as direct in other countries.

Additionally, the legal framework and property rights might differ, influencing the terms and specifics of the agreement.

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What should be included in the property purchase agreement in Oman?

Understanding the requirements of a property purchase agreement in Oman involves knowing what it should contain and the legal framework governing it.

The relevant law in Oman for real estate transactions is the Royal Decree No. 6/2018, known as the "Law of Real Estate Development and Regulation of Joint Ownership."

A standard property purchase agreement in Oman must include several mandatory clauses.

These include:

Mandatory Clause Description

Identification of the parties

Full names and details of the buyer and seller.

Property details

A comprehensive description of the property, including its location, size, and type.

Sale price

The agreed-upon price for the property.

Payment terms

How and when the payment will be made, including details about any deposit.

Transfer of ownership

The process and timeline for transferring the property from the seller to the buyer.

Obligations and warranties

Responsibilities of both parties, such as the seller’s obligation to transfer a clear title.


Both parties must sign the agreement.

Here are additional clauses might include:

- Maintenance and repair obligations.

- Adjustments for utilities and property taxes.

- Arrangements for possession and access before closing.

The agreement can also include conditions or contingencies, like the sale being subject to the buyer obtaining financing, or subject to a satisfactory home inspection. These conditions protect both parties if certain circumstances arise or if specific criteria are not met.

In Oman, the property purchase agreement typically needs to be authenticated. This is often done through a notary or a legal advisor to ensure the document’s legality and adherence to Omani law.

The role of the real estate agent is also significant. They often facilitate the negotiation process, help in drafting the agreement, and ensure that all legal requirements are met.

What's the signing process like?

In Oman, the signing process of a property purchase agreement in real estate transactions is systematic and involves several key steps and parties.

The agreement is bilateral, meaning it requires the signatures of both the buyer and the seller. Both "the buyer" and "the seller" can indeed be several people.

For instance, a property might be sold by a couple or bought by business partners. In such cases, all parties involved on each side must sign the agreement.

Both parties need to provide certain documents and information for the signing process.

This typically includes:

- Identification documents (like passports or national IDs).

- Proof of ownership from the seller.

- Financial proof for the transaction (like bank statements or loan approvals for the buyer).

The signing process generally follows these steps:

Step Description

Drafting the Agreement

This is done after negotiations are complete. The real estate agent or legal advisors usually handle this.

Review and Finalization

Both parties review the draft, make any necessary adjustments, and finalize the terms.

Signing the Agreement

The buyer and seller sign the finalized agreement. This often happens within a few days to a week after finalizing the draft.

Depending on the laws and regulations at the time, remote signing might be possible, especially if one party is not physically present in Oman. This could involve digital signatures or signing in the presence of a notary in the respective country, followed by sending the documents to Oman.

There is no fixed deadline for signing; it depends on the agreement between the buyer and seller. Once signed, the validity of the contract typically lasts until the completion of the transaction unless specified otherwise in the agreement.

After signing, the contract must be registered with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning in Oman.

This process includes submitting the signed agreement along with the required documents. The Ministry then reviews and approves the transaction.

Amendments to the contract after signing are typically not allowed unless both parties agree to the changes. Any changes must be documented and signed by both parties.

The typical timeframe for completing all necessary paperwork and approvals after signing varies.

It can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of the transaction, the speed of government approvals, and the efficiency of the parties involved.

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How is the payment handled when signing a property purchase contract in Oman?

In Oman, understanding the financial aspects of a property purchase agreement is crucial for a smooth real estate transaction.

When you sign the sales agreement, you usually need to pay a down payment. This is a portion of the total purchase price and is typically negotiable between the buyer and seller.

The typical down payment percentage in Oman varies, but it's common to see amounts ranging from 10% to 30% of the total property value. This rate can depend on the type of property, its location, and the agreement terms.

There may be additional upfront fees or costs associated with signing the sales agreement. These can include legal fees, real estate agent commissions, and potentially administrative fees. These vary based on the property, the complexity of the transaction, and the professionals involved.

The payment is usually made either directly to the seller or to an escrow account. The use of an escrow account is a safer method as it ensures that the funds are only released when all terms of the agreement are met.

The due date for the payment is typically stipulated in the sales agreement. It's not always immediate upon signing; it can be scheduled for a later date, often linked to specific milestones in the transaction process.

In Oman, there are tax implications and property transfer taxes associated with the payment. These taxes are generally the responsibility of the buyer and are calculated as a percentage of the property’s value. It's important to factor these taxes into your overall budget.

You can negotiate the down payment amount with the seller. This is part of the transaction terms and should be agreed upon before signing the agreement.

The down payment is typically non-refundable unless specific conditions are met. These conditions, such as a failed inspection or financing contingency, should be explicitly stated in the purchase agreement.

Whether you can use a mortgage loan for the down payment depends on the terms of your mortgage. Some lenders allow it, while others require the down payment to come from your personal funds.

An attorney or real estate agent plays a crucial role in handling the payment process. They ensure that all financial transactions are conducted legally and correctly, and they can also provide advice on the best practices for payment.

You can and should request a receipt or confirmation of payment when making the down payment. This serves as proof of the transaction and is important for your financial records.

For the seller, there may be capital gains taxes on the profit from the sale. For the buyer, as mentioned earlier, there are property transfer taxes.

What are the potentials risks and pitfalls?

You might be interested in reading our article about the common risks and pitfalls surrounding a property transaction in Oman.

In Oman, as in any real estate transaction, there are risks and pitfalls associated with the property purchase agreement that buyers and sellers should be aware of.

Both the buyer and the seller can potentially withdraw from the agreement, but this depends on the specific terms outlined in the contract.

Typically, there are clauses that allow for withdrawal under certain circumstances, such as failure to meet contract conditions.

In some jurisdictions, there is a cooling-off period during which parties can withdraw from the agreement without penalty. The existence and length of such a period in Oman would depend on the specific agreement and local regulations

If there is a cooling-off period, it usually includes all calendar days, not just business days.

Whether a valid motive is required for withdrawal depends on the contract terms. For example, a buyer might have the option to back out if they are unable to secure financing, provided this contingency is explicitly included in the agreement.

If one party fails to fulfill their obligations, the other party may be entitled to legal remedies.

The agreement usually outlines penalties for non-compliance, which can include forfeiting the down payment, paying damages, or specific performance of the agreement.

The penalties for withdrawal or failure to comply with the agreement vary.

A common penalty for a buyer backing out without a valid reason is the loss of their down payment.

For a seller, it might involve returning the down payment along with additional damages.

The process in Oman might differ from other countries, especially in terms of legal frameworks, property rights, and the role of government in transactions.

For example, in some countries, there might be more stringent disclosure requirements for sellers or different regulations regarding foreign buyers.

Potential risks include misrepresentation of property conditions, disputes over property boundaries, or issues with property titles. It's crucial for both parties to conduct thorough due diligence before entering into an agreement.

Disputes are typically resolved through negotiation, mediation, or, as a last resort, legal action. The contract often specifies the preferred method for dispute resolution.

If defects or issues with the property are discovered after signing, the buyer might have legal recourse, especially if these were not disclosed prior to the sale. This depends on the terms of the contract and local laws regarding property sales.

Disputes in real estate transactions can arise, though the frequency varies. Common issues include disagreements over property conditions, delays in fulfilling contract terms, and financial disputes.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Readers are advised to consult with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions. We do not assume any liability for actions taken based on the information provided.