Archive for April, 2011

It doesn’t make sense to buy property in Qatar… here’s why!

So it’s clear to me that the real estate market in Qatar is messed up. Who agrees with me? No? You think that things are great?; then I shall break it down for you with some examples.

Let’s say you bought a property in Zig Zag towers. You paid well over a million Qatari Riyals because you were promised the best in luxury. You think to yourself, I’m going to be living in an amazing peice of architecture, instead, all you get is what can only be described as a wonky building.

The banks:
To buy that lovely apartment, you need to take a loan. QNB’s interest rate for me was something like 9.7% (I know I know). At 25 years that’s around 11,000 QR per month. Recently I was offered an amazing deal from Doha bank that would lower my installments by 3k and also shave off 5 years. Nice! Sadly I can’t switch. Qatar’s introduced a new law that doesn’t allow banks to buy off loans… so I’m stuck with QNB. (This law was most probably passed because QNB was losing customers and so needed some good ‘ole wasta).

Central cooling:
So I’m stuck with using Qatar Cool. A monopoly since there is no other company other than them that provides this service. They want around 12,000 QR per year so that you can be provided with a service that would otherwise have cost me 50-100QR extra a month (since I still have to pay for water and electricity anyway!) if I just had a split unit. I’m sorry, I really DO care about the environment, but who are we fooling? The carbon emissions are simply being moved to the central cooling facility. We’ve just moved the problem, we haven’t solved it…

The developers:
So Al Dar, the company that sold ZigZag, took the first year’s ‘maintenance fee’ and did nothing for the tenants. 2 year later, and countless days of fire alarms going off, leaks in the underground parking, filthy marble floors and me staring at a tic-tac-toe game that was scratched into the stainless steel door of one of the elevators, they decided to go ahead and create the tenants committee. What they did was dump all of their dirty laundry with them and didn’t even bother to give them the maintenance fee from the previous year!

The late fee:
According to Al Dar, the late fee is automatically waived if you buy the property from second party. Wait what? So Al Dar was supposed to pay 1,000 QR a month for every month they were late with the development. They didn’t finish the property until a year and a half later (they had 6 months delay allowable), so they had to pay 12,000 QR to me. Nope, I bought that apartment from someone so they automatically got up to THREE YEARS extra time to delay the project. How does Qatar legally allow that? I’ll tell you how, we don’t have a Land Law court. Going to Civil court takes an average of two years here…

The maintenance fee:
So the tenants council mentioned that they were thinking of a way to make the maintenance fee a bit more fair. It’s currently set at 1% of what you bought the property for. I had wanted it to be a fixed price per square meter. It makes logical sense to me that they should first calculate the cost of what was needed for the maintenance and then divide it by the total number of square meters. Nope, they decided that if it’s from below 90 Sqm it’s 11,000 QR, 100-150sqm it’s 14,500 QR, if it’s 151-200sqm it’s 17,500 QR , if it’s 201-250sqm its 19,800 QR and if its 250sqm its 21,000 QR(something like that anyway, if you’ve got the exacts let me know as I cant remember).
How the hell is that fair? Long story short, I’m paying 2,000 QR MORE now for my 147sqm apartment and 10,000 QR more for my 250SQM apartment I bought a while back. I guess to the association I’m paying ‘fairly more’. Their math doesn’t even make sense. The different between a property that’s 250sqm and one that’s larger than that is 1,200 QR, that means 1,200 QR / 50 (sqm) is 24QR per sqm. But the difference between a 93sqm tier and a 100sqm tier is 3,500 QR which means that it’s an extra 70 QR per sqm. That means that the smaller your apartment, the more you pay… Shouldn’t it be set so that we all pay equally per square meter as I had just mentioned?

So now let’s do the math. For a fully furnished and redone apartment like mine that’s 147sqm, on the 21st floor, and facing the lagoon, I could probably get 10-12k (depends really). Let’s say 10k for arguments sake.

I’ve got to pay 11,000 QR a month for the mortgage, 12,000 QR a year for Central cooling, 14,000 QR for a maintenance fee, which means that over 2 months of rent goes straight to fees and even after that all the rent goes straight to the bank. It’s actually BETTER for an owner to just RENT than buy in this country!

If you’re confused by the time you get to the end of this blog post. Good. We all are.

What… the… hell…? Qatar! Help us! Help place rules and regulations in the country to help the real estate sector. Companies like Al Dar are causing foreign investors to lose faith in our market. :(

Showing some love to Japan

Soon after the Big Day Out, we embarked on our next charitable project at ILQ. It was time to go ahead and show the country that gave us Land Cruisers that we appreciate them. Qatar without Land Cruisers just isn’t Qatar! We already did have a booth at the Big Day Out where we raised money for Japan (as well as gave out some awesome freebies like footballs with 2022 on them), but we wanted to do more. So we posted and tweeted that we’d be selling special t-shirts that were had writing in Japanese and Arabic. (I’ve never seen a t-shirt with those two languages before by the way). Our forum user, and the person in charge of the Japanese Society Qatar (JaSoQa), Daisy said that we should use the words Hope, Love, Brave, Happiness, and Peace. She even went as far as making sure that each color chosen was the right one.

 

 

Jim, one of the senior managers over at Landmark group went ahead and offered us space at Villaggio and Landmark (we are very thankful to them!) in order to sell the t-shirts; and it was with that we embarked on our mission. There were some fantastic people from ILQ and the Japanese community (thanks to Kasumi, Hiromi, Yoshiko, Joel and his friends, Kinimoto (who was dressed up as Naruto!), Ryan, Ellie, Joann, Zhan, Keiko and family, and Daisy) that manned the various booths.

So far, we’ve managed to raise over 16,000 QR selling the t-shirts and we’ve now been offered space at the Hyatt Plaza to do the same this Thursday and Friday as well. We’ll be giving the money to the Japanese embassy to do as they see fit.

I’d like to thank all of the kind souls out there that donated and helped us! I’m so very glad that everyone left feeling as if they had achieved something important with their time.

Now for my next ultimate challenge… find a someone to wash my car and guarantee it won’t rain the next day. Anyone?

The Big Day Out comes to Qatar! All you need to know.

Time to edify! People are probably wondering, “where’s the next rant or humorous misadventure?”, well I’m here to say that this latest blog is all about fun again and making a difference in the world! The guys over at Global DJs contacted iLoveQatar with a simple thought, “How can we do something that will be fun, engaging and memorable?” We brainstormed a bit and we discussed wanting to be as inclusive as possible.

We didn’t want this to be ‘one-type-of-person-type-of-party’; and so the Big Day Out was born. A two day festival (14th for all ages and 15th for 21+) and bands from the US, UK, Romania, Jamaica, Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Philippines and more would be coming. Awesome, so we’ve got all age groups and different nationalities, what next? How long should the event be per day? All day if we can! (15th is from 2pm to 2am). That way we can make sure that everyone can come on down any time of day. Next? Types of acts! We’ve got some current celebrities, some amazing blasts from the pasts, fast rising stars, and local acts. SWEEET, so we’ve got different types of acts but what big bands do we bring over? And so, as if SNL had inspired us a few weeks earlier, we signed up Hoobastank. Next? It’s becoming hot now and Qatar’s got a great deal of something it’s called SUNSHINE (You probably thought that I was going to say Cruisers or Sand, but sadly there’s no famous song for that), so we signed up Aswad and made sure that they were going to perform their smash hit ‘Shine’. Now we need to make sure that people dance until the moon comes out, you know it, we’ve got TopLoader signed too. The list goes on. 16 bands long actually! Click here for the full line up.

You can find some information here www.iloveqatar.net/bigdayout

Just to add more on that, this is Qatar’s first music festival, we’ve created a festival that mirrors Qatari society. Qatar is a great country that is a melting pot for all nationalities to come, live, and even help build this country. We wanted the festival to reflect the many different nationalities in Qatar.

At the event there will also be competitions to win prizes such as iPods, iPhones and Blackberries. Vodafone will also be giving away free sim cards with credit to people who come to the event! A chance for people to maybe call their friends and let them hear what’s happening at The Big Day Out! We haven’t even touched on the ILQ freebies too! On the 14th it’s going to be focused on families where there will be fun, games, face painting, food, toys, gifts, and of course various entertainment.

Since we want to make a difference, all profit and proceeds that are collected by iLoveQatar.net will be donated to the earthquake victims in Japan in Qatar’s name. We’ll be selling these AWESOME Japanese designed shirts for around 40 QR (I think).

We are also giving people the chance to become a star! People just need to record a video of themselves singing a song or doing something entertaining, upload the video to youtube and send the link to contact@iloveqatar.net
The rule is that people have to start the video by saying “Hi my name is _________ and this is for The Big Day Out“.

The best ones will be shown on the GIANT screen on stage. Who knows, since there will be so many bands and singers, there could be a chance that they are selected by the band managers and be the next celebrity.

Finally we’re going to be auctioning off FIVE t-shirts with all the different bands signatures on it. The money we get will be given to charitable causes as well.

iLoveQatar.net has become a brand and we’re still committed to our core vision; to making Qatar a better place. This time we’re helping to put on the Big Day Out to make everyone in Qatar feel at home and welcome in Qatar.

OH! And since you’ve got to the end of the blog post, here’s a nice little competition so that you can WIN tickets to the event (we’re giving away 10!). Click here.

Qatar announces creation of new Ministry to aid nationwide development; Ministry of Logic

Mr. Bassam Al Muharaj ( بسام المهرج)made a special announcement today in Qatar that is said to improve the state of the nation drastically in the coming years. The Ministry of Logic was recently opened in Al Ghashmara road in hopes of rejuvenating a sense of faith in the progression of infrastructure development. Al Muharaj gave a few examples during his explanation, “Should a law wish to be created where a person had to build a house in order to apply for a land to build that house, then it would be rejected on grounds of inappropriate use of logic.”.

The Qatari Ministry of Logic is said to have recently been set up due to the massive amount of irregularities emerging from existing Ministries operations. Three reports had concluded that there are issues with infrastructure, national projects, and day to day activities. A recent survey found that the communities’ top three complaints were 1) The fact that roadworks takes an average of 6 years only to be destroyed to make way for a future project 2) That skyscrapers, towers, and commercial districts were built with no parking areas 3) Prison sentences did not have any logical pattern in terms of judgement.

Mr. Al Muharaj was kind enough to point out that the Ministry of Logic would act as a filter before other Ministries and Authorities could act. He was also quite proud of the fact that the team put in place were amongst the brightest in the world.

Recently it was reported that projects such as Qatar Cool, which was supposed to be both an environmentally friendly solution to central cooling as well as a cost effective alternative to standard split unit air conditioning, simple did not make sense. Prices were found to be up to 30% above an average electricity and water charge and the cost of piping and connections was 5 times higher than installation of split units. It was also found that from an environmental perspective, although carbon emissions were reduced from areas that we centrally cooled, the location of Qatar Cool’s facility actually produced carbon emissions that were equally as high thus defeating it’s purpose. The Ministry of Logic’s role would be to ensure that projects such as these are studied and thought through carefully.

Mr. Al Muharaj said, ‘Not only are we proud of this new initiative, but we are are also taking measures to create the correct policies and procedures in place to ensure that adequate logic is injected into projects related to the country and it’s people. We have in fact created a new policy for what is the correct method of creating the correct policies and procedures and will ensure that a study is created to measure the effectiveness of our policy.’. Mr. Al Muharaj would not comment on the necessity for the creation of the Authority of Redundancy and Bureaucracy Authority Bureau.

All comments and suggestions can be emailed to the Ministry of Logic. The email may be obtained by faxing 4478339222 with a request.

Source, http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?28,27612,27612

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.