As you plan your foray into Qatar real estate, here are a couple of things you need to consider. To learn more about real estate in Qatar, including houses and properties for rent, get in touch with our team today.
First and foremost, in order to live in Qatar, you need to be granted a Work Residence Permit.
A Work Residence Permit is given to an individual who wishes to work and live in Qatar. First, you need a Qatari sponsor to initiate the application. You will be given a temporary visa which will then be transformed into a Residence Permit once you successfully complete the application.
With your Residence Permit in hand, you can sponsor immediate family members to come and live with you in Qatar. Work Residence Permits have a one-year validity and must be renewed by your employer. Meanwhile, Family Residence Permits can have a validity of one to five years and are subject to renewal.
Buying property in Qatar
Expats are only allowed to invest in real estate in certain parts of the country. You can choose to invest in a freehold property or purchase leasehold rights.
By purchasing a freehold property, you get to be the owner of both the property and the land it sits on. Meanwhile, a leasehold grants you the right to use a real estate property (commercial or residential) for 99 years. This is renewable, transferable, and can even be rented out.
As of 2019, there are 10 strategic areas where non-Qataris can purchase freehold properties:
- Qatifiya West Bay
- The Pearl
- Al Khor Resort
- Al Qasar (administrative area)
- Al Dafna (administrative area)
- Onaiza (administrative area)
- Al Wasil
- Jabal Thaileb (investment area)
- Rawadat Al-Jahaniyah (investment area)
As for leasehold rights, non-Qataris are free to purchase in these areas:
- Fareij Abdul Aziz
- Doha Al Jadida
- Old Ghanem
- Al Hathey Al Ateeq
- Fareej Bin Mahmoud 22
- Fareej Bin Mahmoud 23
- Al Khail
- Fareej Bin Dirham
- Um Guilinah
- Al Khalifat
- Al Sadd
- New Al Merqab
- Fareej El Nasr
- Airport area
Period and transferability
Freehold properties, with the land and property under the ownership of the buyer, can grant the owner a residency in Qatar. This privilege can even extend to the owner’s family for the whole duration of the ownership.
As for leasehold rights, these are valid for a renewable 99-year period. The lease can be transferred. Do note that overseas buyers must have a valid Qatar visa to be able to buy leasehold rights.
Working with a real estate agent
The real estate industry in Qatar is unregulated. In light of this, as well as the fact that you may be unfamiliar with the real estate process, it is highly recommended to work with a local real estate agent.
Another common method to buy real estate property is to purchase directly from a developer.
Buying off-plan is cheaper than a move-in ready property. You can purchase real estate for up to 30 percent below its market value. This gap is expected to increase in the future. Buying off-plan also allows you to arrange your finances better. Additionally, you don’t have to be encumbered with a loan for the whole amount of your property.
Buying off-plan, however, is not without its challenges. Mortgage rules for this method are tricky to navigate, making move-in ready properties more sensible investments.
Negotiating and closing an offer
Lawyers are usually called in to help facilitate the home buying process. Once an offer has been drawn up and accepted by the seller, the contract will be made and reviewed by both of your lawyers.
Once the contract is deemed agreeable by both parties, you will make a down payment, which is usually 30 percent of the full price. To continue the closing, due diligence tasks will be performed by your lawyer. This includes reviewing the by-laws, registration documents, and other relevant paperwork.
As the buyer, you (along with your lawyer or real estate agent) are obligated to make the trip to the Real Estate Registration and Authentication Department to register the purchase and the property. This office is under the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning.
If you’ve purchased a leasehold property, you need to register it with the Office for Registration of Real Estate.
To learn more about buying real estate in Qatar, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today. You can also browse our website to find the resources you need.