Since more and more people are finding work and moving to Saudi Arabia, we feel that we should provide a bit of help. As one of the more experienced moving companies in Colorado, we’ve worked with a number of people who moved to and from Saudi Arabia. With their help and our research, we’ve come up certain pieces of information about renting in Saudi Arabia that any future expat should read.
What to know before renting in Saudi Arabia
Renting in Saudi Arabia may seem pretty similar to renting in any other city like New Jersey or Denver. You find an apartment you like, move into it, and pay a monthly rent to your landlord. What more could there be? Well, as it turns out, there are some important differences when it comes to renting in Saudi Arabia. This is especially true if you’ve never lived here before and are coming here without any prior knowledge.
Having the necessary visa
The first thing you need to take care of is your visa. Luckily, this became easier one September 27, 2019, as Saudi Arabia started allowing online visa applications from the US. As a US citizen, you can apply for up to 90 days visa online. That is the longest tourist visa you can get. For work visas, you will have to do a bit more look into since there are different types. Overall, you want to have a clear understanding of how your visa works before you start dealing with apartments and renting in Saudi Arabia.
Your landlord will prefer to work with your sponsor
The first weird thing you will realize once you start renting in Saudi Arabia is that your landlord will prefer to work with your sponsor. Most expats living in Saudi Arabia need to have a Saudi sponsor representing them. This is to avoid fraud, as it is much easier for people in Saudia Arabia to deal with their own citizens than with international ones. Therefore, once you sign a moving contract you will need to have your sponsor present as they will be responsible for most of it. This, of course, is dependent on your landlord. But, as a general rule, they do prefer to work with their countrymen.
Most long-term contracts are for a one year period. You should expect to make advanced payments to the landlord, to give them some form of guarantee. If you are getting an apartment via your company, your employer will usually make the monthly payments and then deduct them from your paycheck. This is to ensure that the landlord is working with someone who is financially more stable than a random expat.
Check your apartment
Before you sign your contract and move into your new apartment, we suggest that you first check it for damages. Every contract has a clause that states that you’ll have to pay for any extra damage you inflict on your apartment. So, it is in your best interest to make sure that the apartment is in pristine condition before you move into it. Don’t shy away from getting a professional to check the electricity and plumbing. That way you’ll be absolutely sure that the apartment you are moving in is as good as possible.
Cost of renting
As it is with every other place in the world, the cost of renting varies depending on the type of the place and its location. But, to give you an idea of what to expect:
- One-bedroom rental is going to cost you between $700 and $1500 per month
- A 3-bedroom rental is between $1400 and $2700 per month.
Looking for a place to rent
You may be able to find a place to rent in the US with little issue. But, when it comes to looking for a place to rent in Saudi Arabia, you need to have a local realtor at your side. There is simply too much for you to overcome when it comes to apartment-hunting in Saudi Arabia. Not only will you have a hard time finding a decent apartment, but you’ll also be a prime target for real estate scammers. So, do yourself a favor and find a reliable Saudi Arabia realtor to help you out. They can even give you important tips for starting your new life in Jeddah or Riyadh and help you get accustomed to your new life more easily.
Moving for a job
If you are moving for a job in Saudi Arabia, your future company should help you out. More often then not, they are quite familiar with all the difficulties an expat has to face in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, they should be willing to give you a helping hand. This not only covers hiring full-service movers like Four Winds Saudi Arabia and a real estate agent, but they should also help you out with rent and visa. Now, not all companies will offer this right off the bat, and you might have to negotiate a bit. But, if your company is well situated in Saudi Arabia, they should help you out a fair bit.
Preferable areas for Westerners
Whether you are renting or buying property in Saudi Arabia you need to be aware that there are some areas that are much preferable to Westerners. After all, there are a lot of Western expats living in Saudi Arabia. So it should come as no surprise that they form their own communities. Here are some of the places:
- Ash Shati
- Olaya (Kingdom Towers, Al Fasiliyah Residences)
- Al Sulaymaniyah
They are much better suited for a westerner as you can easily communicate with your neighbors in English. You can even find US products in local stores. So, when talking with your future company, ask them if they plan on setting you up in one of those places.