Moving to Doha? Read these tips about finding and renting/buying a home
With 2022 just around the corner, all eyes have turned to Qatar, a small-country jutting out of the Arabia Peninsula. To prepare for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar has implemented strong national development strategies that would enable the country to not only be ready to host a successful event, but also to ensure the real estate and infrastructure it is heavily investing in can be sustained and utilized post-World Cup, or in ‘Legacy Mode’, (this is the terminology Qatar is using describe the country post the World Cup Games.)
Qatar has now become a very attractive location for young professionals. The country has been investing heavily in real estate and the associated infrastructure to accommodate the growing population. Qatar has quickly become a desirable location for Western and Asian expats, but navigating the real estate market and finding useful information about living in Doha can be tricky given the fact that there is lack of credible information published (and most articles are behind paywalls!) Here are some quick tips that could be useful for newcomers in Doha, or for current residents looking for a new home:
- Visit http://www.hapondo.qa , the easiest to use platform for property rental in Qatar.
- If possible, physically visit your house/apartment before renting or buying.
- Many people who move to Doha for short term contracts (1-2 years) work in schools. In the past, real estate rental prices fluctuate according to school semesters. For example, there is a high influx of people moving to Doha before the start of a new school semester (July – September) so real estate prices spike. Keep this in mind when browsing for potential homes!
- Almost all real estate agencies will take a commission on properties, whether or not you were in contact with them. So if possible, its highly recommended to work with larger and more reliable agencies/brokers in the country, such as Al Asmakh, Nelson Park, and United Development Company (UDC).
- If you are interested in a property, negotiating prices with an agent/broker is a normal practice (we encourage it!)
- There are many brand-new developments in Qatar, such as Lusail and Msheireb. Prices in new developments are in general a bit cheaper in order to encourage higher occupancy. The properties are of high quality and brand new, and if you move in you will likely be the first occupant of the property!
- The temperatures in the summer are quite high, so most houses and apartments are built to keep interiors as cool as possible. Because of this, during the temperate winters, homes can become very chilly and are not equipped with a heating system.
- A new metro was recently completed in Qatar – check out the metro route to ensure your new home is close to a stop (more info can be found here: https://www.qr.com.qa/)
- Make sure you look at the area around the property you are renting/buying. It is recommended to find a place that is close to shops and areas of necessity to you, i.e. grocery store, dry-cleaning store, playground, etc.
- Qatar has developed new laws that allow residents and expatriates to own property.
- When looking for an apartment for rent/sale, ensure you look at the building amenities (i.e. gym, pool). These are costs that are included within the price, so you want to make sure the facilities align with your expectations.
- It is usually recommended to find a home close to your place of work – early morning traffic in Doha can make your morning commute longer than anticipated. Car-hailing apps like Uber and Careem are easy to use in Qatar.
- If you will be staying in the country for a short period of time, look for properties that are furnished. The rent may be a little higher, but it will be beneficial to you and will save you the extra cost/hassle of purchasing furniture.
- If moving to Qatar for a new job, make sure to check with your employer to see if there is an option to be provided housing through the company.
- Once you have picked a property, make sure you thoroughly read through the contract and ensure you have agreed to all the clauses.
- Qatar is undergoing a lot of development, which means construction is wide-spread throughout the country. Make sure to check if there is any on-going construction works near your new home as the noise from construction works can be bothersome in the early morning.
- For rental properties, it is usual practice that check worth one months’ rent is provided as a deposit
- For rental properties, most agencies/landlords will ask you to provide upfront all 12 checks for a year’s rent (if the contract is for one year. If the contract is for longer, you will be asked to provide them with checks for each month you will be living in the apartment.) The agency/landlord will not deposit all checks right away, but will hold on to these checks for the duration of the contract. If you for some reason need to vacate the property prior to end of the contract, the agency/landlord will most likely keep the remaining checks. Again, it is important to read each page of the contract, and ensure you are comfortable with the terms for the rental agreement.
- When renting a property, make sure you check with the landlord about maintenance issues of the property you are interested in. Many times, the landlord will be responsible for fixing any issues (i.e. broken appliances or broken ACs), but this should be specified in your rental contract.
- Have a car? Planning to get one? Make sure you check about parking spaces when looking at apartments to rent/buy. Many times, apartments will come with a designated parking space, but not always!
Qatar’s real estate market is an interesting one which is constantly seeing new properties being put on the market. There are a lot of great properties in Qatar, but it takes time to find the one that fits all your needs. As a good rule of thumb, start your property search early and ask all the questions needed. Good luck on your search!