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Saudi Arabia - Renting Property
The Saudi real estate market has been booming since oil became the largest gross domestic product of the Gulf States. Most of the housing structures are owned by wealthy Arab families who compete with each other in establishing modern and luxurious mega structures. There has also been a need to boost the number of housing options in the Gulf States due to the rising demand of accommodation for expats coming in to the country.
Saudi Arabia is a vast desert area with plenty of uninhabited areas. Most of the available housing options are located in the cities, while the wilderness is left to nomadic Arabs in camel caravans. As an expat, there are several types of housing you can consider for rent.
Compound houses are some of the best properties for rent in Saudi Arabia. These housing options were the first to be erected in Saudi Arabia to cater to the new group of expats arriving in the country. Stylish compound houses that have been furnished to meet the demands of expats are available.
Compound houses are large and spacious. They tend to be fully furnished and equipped with all the necessary amenities including kitchenware, washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, Wi-Fi and so on. You can also expect to find libraries, swimming pools, in-house gymnasiums, restaurants, bars, shopping malls and even education centers located within the compound.
Compound houses can also come as partially furnished. This will mean they have a partially equipped kitchen with basic amenities such as a gas stove, dish racks and kitchenware. The rest of the house will be empty and left to you to furnish.
Thanks to the increasing numbers of expats moving in to the country, compound houses are becoming harder to find. It is not uncommon to be on a waiting list of up to 18 months before you can get such a house. This will mean having to consider other housing options.
Villas And Apartments
Saudi apartment complexes are on the rise. Apartments are more spacious and have more privacy than compound houses. They are suited for the expat moving in with a family.
Rent for apartment units is high. Many expats who cannot find compound houses prefer sharing an apartment with others.
Villas are lavish houses, usually reserved for the elite group of wealthy Arab families. These luxurious housing units are concentrated in the suburban areas, in the form of gated communities. Villas come fully furnished and stocked with state of the art equipment for ostentatious living. Round-the-clock security is provided, and you can also find gyms, restaurants and even malls within these gated communities.
Rich Arab families often occupy entire clusters of villas, as they live in large extended families. If you want to rent a villa, you might be able to find one in an expat community neighborhood.
Old Town Houses
Old town houses fall at the bottom of the chain in terms of rental costs and amenities provided. If you rent one of these, you will be moving to a completely empty house. Amenities are rare, and property owners rarely see the need to renovate the houses.
Expats who cannot find immediate accommodation may temporarily rent standard houses, especially those who are on a waiting list for a compound house.
Finding Rentals In Saudi Arabia
Expats looking for houses to rent can use local real estate consultants. Real estate agents have the knowledge of the market and are in a good position to help you find what you want. Some realtors will drive around with you looking at prospective rental units. Property owners also prefer dealing with local real estate agents during property negotiations. Your realtor can help strike the best deal on your behalf.
You can also rely on the knowledge of fellow expats to get recommendations for housing options. Since most expats live in the same area, they can be helpful by alerting you of vacant houses within that area. Word of mouth is often the best tool for finding the right property for rent faster.
All rental contracts are drafted between a property owner and an expat tenant in the presence of a sponsor from Saudi Arabia. Rental contracts are either short-term or long-term. Short-term contracts can last between two to six months, while long-term contracts can last a whole year.
It is often difficult to break a contract with a property owner and move house early. Therefore, ensure you are comfortable with the house you pick before settling in. Property owners usually ask for advance payments when signing the tenancy contract and agreement. The advance payment is often the first month’s rent, although this depends on how long you will be staying.
Some employers provide housing for their expat employees, while others help them to find the right property for rent. Some even make the advance payment, which they deduct later from employee’s salary. It is possible for expat tenants to terminate their contract before the end of stipulated period. However, it is best that your sponsor handles the termination, as local property owners are not too happy about tenants who switch houses between contracts.
Cost of renting property in Saudi Arabia will depend on the type of house, its size, condition, location and amenities provided. Thanks to the growing number of housing options, rental cost is usually low for expats. Your sponsor can also help bargain on your behalf so that you can get the best deal.
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