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Family accommodation

Old Feb 9th 2020, 8:03 pm
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Smile Family accommodation

Hi,
We currently live in the UK and are looking at moving to Riyadh. We have 4 children and based on the forums I’ve read a compound would be the best option initially to help us settle in (many say that villas/apartments outside compounds can be quite lonely). I wanted to know from someone with a family how they feel about this, is it true or is an apartment equally safe and good for the kids/me to make friends?

Also, I’ve tried to find 5 Bed places on the compound websites (so I can get prices as we have to pay for this ourselves) but haven’t had much success. Does anyone live on a compound with 5 bed accommodation? Can you give me an idea of cost? Failing this are the 3 bed places big enough for 2 single beds and two sets of drawers etc?

many thanks in advance
V

many thanks
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 7:40 am
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Hi,
Generally speaking, yes, a compound can be very good to socialise, and for younger kids, it can be a great lifestyle. Most of them are gated communities, so once inside, it's almost impossible to tell that youre living in Riyadh.

However, the downside is the cost. They are notoriously expensive, even though they have reduced in price over the last few years. I don't know of any that have five bed villas, I do know that Seder Village has four bed gungalows. Most of compounds will be 3/4 bed rooms. Living off compound is becoming more popular, as it's far cheaper, but the downside is the possible isolation, and you would probably have to furnish and maintain it all yourself.

We lived on Seder for five years, it's perhaps the oldest compound in Riyadh, and is a mixture of old and new. The older ones will have more space, with a max of four beds. The cost of this is around 150,000 SR per year. THis is cheap for a Riyadh compound, with some others going up to 300k and above. Although it's old, it''s a nice place to live, good mix of nationalities, regular school buses to the main schools, and the usual amenities.

Bear in mind also that school fees here tend to very expensive, so if the Company isn't paying , this will account for a large chunk of your cash. If the company does pay, they may limit this to two kids only. Check this before you commit.

Best of luck.

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Old Feb 10th 2020, 1:42 pm
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Originally Posted by nottmbantam View Post
Hi,
Generally speaking, yes, a compound can be very good to socialise, and for younger kids, it can be a great lifestyle. Most of them are gated communities, so once inside, it's almost impossible to tell that youre living in Riyadh.

However, the downside is the cost. They are notoriously expensive, even though they have reduced in price over the last few years. I don't know of any that have five bed villas, I do know that Seder Village has four bed gungalows. Most of compounds will be 3/4 bed rooms. Living off compound is becoming more popular, as it's far cheaper, but the downside is the possible isolation, and you would probably have to furnish and maintain it all yourself.

We lived on Seder for five years, it's perhaps the oldest compound in Riyadh, and is a mixture of old and new. The older ones will have more space, with a max of four beds. The cost of this is around 150,000 SR per year. THis is cheap for a Riyadh compound, with some others going up to 300k and above. Although it's old, it''s a nice place to live, good mix of nationalities, regular school buses to the main schools, and the usual amenities.

Bear in mind also that school fees here tend to very expensive, so if the Company isn't paying , this will account for a large chunk of your cash. If the company does pay, they may limit this to two kids only. Check this before you commit.

Best of luck.
Thank you for responding. In your experience are the rooms big enough for 2 teenagers to share or would they be quite cramped?

When you talk about the trend to live out is the view that its safe for a westerner to do this? Obviously I've travelled quite a bit but visiting the middle East is very different to living there. What areas to English speaking families tend to congregate around?

Thanks again.
V
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 8:31 pm
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Originally Posted by VLC126 View Post
Thank you for responding. In your experience are the rooms big enough for 2 teenagers to share or would they be quite cramped?

When you talk about the trend to live out is the view that its safe for a westerner to do this? Obviously I've travelled quite a bit but visiting the middle East is very different to living there. What areas to English speaking families tend to congregate around?

Thanks again.
V
Compound houses tend to be (relatively) small due to limited space inside compounds so most of them would be a bit tight to share 2 teens to a bedroom although if they don't mind bunkbeds you may be ok. Also bear in mind that some compounds with "3 beds" often have a study (which is typically bedroom sized) and a storage room (just about big enough for a single bed) so you could actually convert them into a 5 bedroom if you wanted. You could expect the two smaller bedrooms & the "study" to be 4.5m x 3.5m or similar and the storage room to be 1.7m x 1.9m (this is based on actual measurements of a 3 bed Riyadh compound house).

Al Hamra compound has (I believe) 5 bed houses so you might want to get in touch with them (although I'm not 100% sure). I seem to remember that Yomama compound (apart from the hilarious name) has pretty big villas. Al Nakhla also has large 5+ bed villas but prices for them are insane (they were asking $80k/year when I last checked) but I know they had to drop prices a lot. Definitely ring around (emails don't get answered) all the major compounds in Riyadh and ask the question.

Living off-compound is entirely safe (in my view). I'm not sure what off-compound areas are considered best but certainly the Qurtobah area in north-east Riyadh (where the compounds are) would be a fine choice. Also know that off-compound houses tend to have high walls around them (due to the Saudi preference for privacy) which can take a bit of getting used to (no sweeping views...). If you want to test the waters, you could also rent a nice apart-hotel with 5 bedrooms for maybe $1300 to $2000 a month with no long term commitment (I'm guessing slightly on price, but a 1 bed apart hotel goes from $600/month to $1000/month). Biggest issue living off compound is for wife & kids who are at home during the day, may feel a little claustrophobic so I would be inclined to shell out for a compound at least first year if possible or have a break clause after 6 months if living off compound in case they can't stand it. Also bear in mind that it's still hard for expat women to get driving licences at present.

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Old Feb 10th 2020, 9:17 pm
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Thanks for that... Its great advice . Definitely food for thought.
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Old Feb 11th 2020, 4:01 am
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Agree with FriendlyExpat. That is some solid advice. Just as an add on try you're best to avoid local brockers and middlemen. They tend to be working on a commissions only job and rip you off at the nearest sight of a foreigner.
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Old Feb 11th 2020, 6:11 am
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Thanks. Do you mean go directly to the compound office rather than the equivalent of a UK estate agen ?

Another question which will probably seem stupid but I can't find the answer. All the rentals I've seen are per year, do you have to pay up front or on a monthly basis?
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Old Feb 11th 2020, 12:08 pm
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Approach the compounds directly - a lot of them now have websites and contact emails / phone numbers. Again, in general, compound prices are per year and previosuly, they wanted a years payment in advance. However, with resident numbers declining, most will not take split payment ( six monthly) with no increase in price. A few will offer a monthly payment but tend to increase the monthly equivalent.

Off compound is perfectly safe, and this gives you far more choice in location. However, most of these will be unfurnished, so there will be a larger initial set up cost. We had a few friends who lived off compound, had very large apartments that were about 50k SR per year. Villas can be had for around 80k - 100k per year. More than enough living space, but outdoor space is almost minimal.
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Old Feb 11th 2020, 12:15 pm
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Thank you again for your advice.
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Old Feb 13th 2020, 9:20 am
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Teenagers! On compound no option! Some of the life decisions teens make can have very serious consequences in this neck of the woods.

Al Bustan is nice

https://www.rightcompound.com/
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Old Feb 13th 2020, 11:22 am
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Thanks, that's what we've been thinking over the past couple of days with regards to the children. I've looked up Al Bustan and it looks great but they've not got back to my email requesting costs of the 4 /5 bed villas.

Anyone on here live there and has a rough figure for these villas?

Many thanks.
V
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Old Today, 6:59 am
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Hahahaha, get used to it!
The price will vary on the client, a big corps that pays for a lot of villas a year up front might pay as little as 200k sar everything else is north of that. having said that prices are falling. Come this summer dependence tax goes up again.
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Old Today, 7:16 am
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Thanks Hiho
At the moment the company isn't offering anything towards housing so I think that complex will be way out of budget. I also found the Al Nakhla compound on the web last night... That looked amazing but again I suspect its very expensive... Also had no price list 😔. Do you know anything about this one?

Thanks
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Old Today, 3:00 pm
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Al Nakhla will offer you a 3 bed villa for somewhere in the region of 250k and maybe a bit more or less (depending on your negotiation skills) although initial asking prices are a bit higher. The 1/2/(3?) bed condos (flats) are much cheaper, in the mid 100k range (not sure of exact prices). Watch out for build quality / random smells from drainage issues in this compound - be sure to inspect your actual place carefully before agreeing to move in if possible. Wadi Qurtoba Compound is a very new compound but know nothing about it - also have a look on google maps - if you search "compound" while looking at a map of riyadh many pop up.

Also have a read of this - much remains true although prices were higher then: https://britishexpats.com/forum/midd...prices-871902/

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Old Today, 4:46 pm
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Default Re: Family accommodation

Why is your employer in Riyadh not dealing with the accommodation issue ? Real Estate in Saudi towns and cities are in shark-infested waters. Much better to leave all this to someone with local knowledge and linguistic abilities.
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