Arabian Homes meets Bilal Mohammed, Director of River West Properties in Seef, who reflects on the way in which the market has changed during his 20 years working in property in Bahrain
Arabian Homes: Please give us some background on how you came to be working in Bahrain for River West Properties.
Bilal Mohammed: When I came to Bahrain from India I was just 20 years old. I am now married and settled here. You can say this is my first home. This country has given me opportunities and love. People are amazing and everything is beautiful here. My family loves it here!
Before we opened River West Properties, I was working for another real-estate company. My boss, Mr. Ghassan Ahmed Saif Al Mutawa, motivated and inspired me, saying that I had potential to do my own thing, and in this way my journey at River West started.
Why did you call the company River West Properties?
Until now only my close family members and friends have known about it. After my wedding, my wife and I headed to India for our first vacation in a beautiful place full of hills and lakes and we stayed in a hotel called River West Hotel. I really liked the name and we named our company River West Properties as a result.
Twelve years ago my office was in a small area of Budaiya. We worked hard and then we moved to a busy street in Adliya and with progress and dedication, we are now in the business hub of Seef. Alhamdulillah it feels blessed that we are doing well in the market.
What services do you offer?
River West Properties offers a full range of real-estate services, from residential accommodation to offices, retail and leisure to commercial, rental to purchase/sale.
With years of experience in this field, we have clients from the corporate sector, oil companies, the U.S. Navy, ambassadors, embassies and banks, and we take care of the relocation process, too.
Given that you’ve been in property in Bahrain for 20 years, could you tell us your impressions on how Bahrain – and, specifically, the property market – has evolved during that time?
Two decades ago, I sold a building in Bahrain for BD120,000. In those days, residential plots were sold at BD6 per square foot. Times and prices have changed.
Today, I see good progress in Bahrain. When we first moved to Seef, there were plenty of parking spaces and we could move our car anywhere – now it is extremely crowded but it feels a good indicator of the strength of the economy and the property market in particular.
Today there are lots of properties in the market and it helps real estate and clients, as we get more options to show them and it surely does drive down the prices.
The economy and strength of Bahrain’s property market is increasing day by day. It has become like a booming industry, with high competition, and we now have to keep ourselves active in the media and on portals and so on.
Do you think that now is a good time to invest in property in this country, and if so, why do you think that is?
Investing in properties has always been a good way of saving money, although you do have to get the right property, the right selling price and a good area. You need to go to a real-estate professional who can give you advice and help you to get the best.
The Bahrain market has always been good in terms of real estate. In my opinion, I feel it is the best country for investing in properties because, first and foremost, there is no corruption, and it also has an easy process for documentation.
Bahrain gives dreams to everyone, both the local citizens and expats. I can give you a real example. I have an acquaintance who wanted to get a mortgage for a property when his monthly income was BD600. The banks here in Bahrain have good repayment schemes, and every month the repayments on his mortgage are approximately BD230. So I believe if you have a dream, you can fulfil here.
Are you pleased with the way property has performed this year?
Comparatively if I look three years back then, during this year, 2018, the performance of the property market has been a bit slow.
What are your feelings about the introduction of VAT on the industry in Bahrain?
Today every country has VAT. As an expat, I have been earning and living in Bahrain so I feel I should pay something to the government too for the betterment of the country.
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