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There is so much more to Ramadan than abstaining from food, but there are also a lot of health benefits for fasting during the Holy Month. Read on…

1. The benefits of dates:

Eating dates does have a religious aspect to it, but it also includes a number of health benefits. Dates are a great source of fiber, which will help you with digestion. In addition, they are filled with potassium, magnesium and B vitamins.

2. Get rid of bad habits:
Fasting during the day helps you with getting rid of bad habits. Because you will abstain from them during Ramadan, it makes it easier for you to continue with cutting out bad habits.

3. Lowering your cholesterol:

Fasting has a positive effect on lowering your cholesterol, especially if you stick to a healthy diet during Ramadan.

4. Resetting your metabolism:
Fasting during Ramadan can actually reset your metabolism, since your body will work harder during the hours without food and water, which will use up your fat, and will also rid your body of toxins.

5. Detox:

Working wonderfully for both your mind and body, Ramadan is a great time to detox. Not only will your body burn away toxins, but it will also give you a fresh new start after the month is over.

6. Absorbing nutrients:
The amount of nutrients you absorb from food during Ramadan usually includes, due to not eating throughout the day. This also allows muscles to absorb more nutrients, and will lead to better general health.

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Keeping up with your fitness routine can seem a little challenging during Ramadan for those who are fasting. Here are a few golden rules to consider.

1. Pre/Post Iftar:
There is no correct answer when it comes to when you should get your workout done. Some people believe that before iftar is the best time, while others opt for a post-iftar workout. In reality, this depends on your body and your own preferences. You can also mix and match your timings!

2. Moderate your intensity:
 

This is especially true if you are exercising pre-iftar, as your body has not yet refueled. You can still get a good workout in with lower intensity, but if you are looking for a high intensity regimen, then perhaps a workout after iftar would suit you better.

3. Eat healthy and light:

It’s hard not to indulge, especially after a long day of fasting but eating healthy and light meals during Ramadan is the best thing you can do for your body, even if you are not exercising!

4. Stay hydrated:

Staying hydrated after iftar is very important, especially if you’re exercising. Water, cold beverages and healthy drinks are all great options – stay away from sodas or caffeinated drinks.

5. Give your body time:
If you are choosing to exercise after iftar, then give your body ample time to digest the meal you just had before hitting the gym.

6. Timing:

Experts recommend that you actually cut your workout a little shorter – keeping it between 45 minutes to one hour.

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Hotel and restaurants in Qatar have been transformed into different Ramadan venues for the duration of the Holy Month, serving both Iftar and Sohour. Take a look at the top picks for Ramadan venues this year.

1. The St. Regis Hotel Doha:
The Zomorod Ramadan Tent at the St. Regis will offer a traditional Arabesque setting for both Iftar and Sohour, complete with a lavish buffet and live cooking stations, as well as live entertainment throughout the evening.
Iftar QR 250
Sohour QR 250

2. W Doha:

A longtime favorite for Iftar and Sohour, the Grand Room at the W Hotel will be transformed into a Ramadan wonderland for guests this month. You can enjoy a delicious buffet in addition to live cooking stations and live music.
Iftar QR 255
Sohour QR 295

3. The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa:

Ramadan at the Westin Doha Hotel this year will have a vibrant feel to it and will host both Iftar and Suhour with a selection of dishes for their Ramadan buffet as well as live cooking stations. Private areas are also available, as well as live music.Iftar QR 220
Sohour QR 220

4. The Ritz-Carlton, Doha:
The regal tent at The Ritz-Carlton offers a one of a kind Ramadan culinary experience this year, with its Arabian Nights theme, which includes a special Egyptian tanoura dancer and live music. What more, the little ones can enjoy their own children’s club as well!
Iftar QR 230
Sohour QR 230

5. Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas:
Iftar at the Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel will offer a delicious buffet and live cooking stations of traditional and international favorites during Ramadan, as well as live oriental music to complement the atmosphere. Sohour will include an a la carte menu.
Iftar QR 220

6. InterContinental Doha:
The Shahrazad Tent at the InterContinental Doha offers a lavish tent with an extensive Sohour buffet which includes live cooking stations, international cuisines and Arabic and international desserts, as well as a live oud performance.
Sohour QR 195

7. Marriot Marquis City Center Doha
This year, the Wanassa tent will offer a wide range of international and oriental cuisines for both Iftar and Sohour, as well as live cooking stations in an arabesque atmosphere.
Iftar QR 230
Sohour QR 230

8. Four Seasons Hotel Doha:

Known for offering one of the most luxurious Ramadan experiences in Doha, this year, Ramadan at the Four seasons promises a memorable Iftar and Sohour, with plenty of surprises, including a Dessert Wonderland.
Iftar QR 240
Sohour QR 280

9. Mandarin Oriental, Doha:

The newest hotel in Doha will be hosting its very first Ramadan Iftars and Sohours this year, with a very special  international culinary journey with dishes from the Far East, Europe and the Middle East. In addition to a delicious buffet, kids can also enjoy a storytelling adventure in a unique setting.
Iftar QR 245
Sohour QR 280

10. Marsa Malaz Kempinski:
The annual Ramadan tent at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski will offer a delicious spread of international and Arabic cuisines, and is one of the most comprehensive buffets in the city. In addition, you can enjoy the evening with family and friends along with live Oud music.
Iftar QR 210
Sohour QR 250

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Ramadan Kareem everyone! The Holy Month is just around the corner, and some people like to get into the spirit of the month by adding a few seasonal items to their homes. Here are a few Ramadan decoration ideas to welcome the holy month

1. Lanterns:
 

A Ramadan staple! Nothing says Ramadan quite like a few colored and traditional lanterns. You can play around with sizes, colors and types, and add them to tables or even hang them from the ceiling.

2. Star and Crescent:
These two symbols are also a representation of Ramadan, and instantly add a Ramadan atmosphere to any space. You can add them on your door, on your balcony or as small additions on tables. What’s great about this item is that it comes in many different styles; it can be lit from the back, or more of a 3D model… the possibilities are endless.

3. A dates display:
Not only do dates taste good, but they also look great too! Create a dates display as a center piece on either the dining or coffee table for a great addition to your home.

4. Incense:
Adding an incense burner or two around the house is also a great idea!

5. Lights:
This year, Ramadan is early enough in the year that you can utilize any outdoor space you have for iftars and evenings with family and friends. Think about hanging a few lights (different shapes are available) around the garden or balcony for maximum effect.

6. Centerpieces:

A part from dates, you can also create a centerpiece for your main table at home. This can include a number of Ramadan favorites including dried fruits, dates, nuts, assorted sweets and more.

7. Candles:

The addition of candles to your home will certainly add a Ramadan feel to it, especially that candles with crescents, stars and other Ramadan shapes are available.

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With the Holy Month of Ramadan a few days away, those who are fasting should start planning for the upcoming month, as it will make it much easier for you to transition into the routine of Ramadan. Read on

1. Consider your food consumption:

Star with moderate eating, and try to cut down on larger and heavier meals. It will make you feel more lethargic and will actually make it harder for you to fast.

2. Eat Healthy:
You should start eating healthier meals, and really look into the type of food you’re eating. Ramadan isn’t about stuffing yourself with food – on the contrary, it’s all about eating food that is good for you and for your body in a healthy, moderate manner.

3 Create a plan:
Be it creating a schedule for work, working out or even entertaining family and friends, it’s best to create a plan for the upcoming holy month. This will keep you focused and you can get more accomplished once you stick to your plan.

4. Plan for healthy iftar meals:
  

Let’s face it, most of us spend the day dreaming of a lavish spread of food, but that isn’t the reality of our meals. Think of a list of healthy and light Iftar meals that you can enjoy throughout the month. This will make it easier for you to follow a healthy and moderate plan for food preparations.

5. Cut down on coffee:

For coffee lovers, the cut of caffeine can be quite problematic, especially in the first few days. Try reducing your intake or switching to decaf immediately, and you’ll see positive results when Ramadan starts.

6. Modify your sleep routines:

Our sleeping routines in Ramadan change drastically. While each person has a different routine, but whatever sleeping habit you have in Ramadan, start mimicking it from now.

7. Start having an early breakfast:
Waking up for Sohour means that you will be having a super early meal, which is much needed when you don’t eat for the entire day. Start having an early breakfast so your body can get used to food this early.

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For those of you looking to make an investment in the real estate market, there are a number of areas in the market that offer different properties for sale in Qatar, in addition to the new areas that have been announced for foreign real estate ownership.

First and foremost, properties for sale in the Pearl remain some of the most popular units in Qatar. Ranging from apartments to townhouses, properties for sale in the Pearl are some of the most luxurious and sought-after homes in the country. Porto Arabia, Viva Bahriya and Qanat Quartier are all three areas in the man-made island that offer apartments for sale.
Townhouses and villas are also available for sale in the Pearl.

West Bay Lagoon is another area where properties for sale can be found, and these homes are luxurious homes as well. Known for offering lavish homes with 6 or 7 bedrooms, in gated communities, villas for sale in West Bay Lagoon also come with a hefty price tag.

One of the country’s newest areas, properties for sale in Lusail have continued to gain popularity, especially that for the time being, they are considered to be some of the most sought- after properties in terms of investment. Fox Hills, Lusail City and The Waterfront all offer apartments for sale with different sizes and specifications.

Al Thumama is very popular when it comes to finding villas for sale, as well as Al Waab, with both areas known for being family friendly and offering an abundance of homes. When it comes to apartments for sale in Doha, Al Saad is quickly gaining traction when it comes to finding properties for sale, especially as it is now being included in the new areas that have been announced for foreign real estate ownership.

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Earlier this month, a decision was issued on Law No. 16 of 2018 on the regulation of foreign real estate ownership in Qatar. As part of the Qatar National Vision 2030, the decision reflects the future vision of Qatar, and its promotion of the coexistence of different nationalities in Qatar.


The law states that non-Qatari can now own and use real estate in different locations, provided they meet the conditions of the Council of Ministers on the proposal of the Committee for the Regulation of Ownership and Use of Property for Non-Qataris.

Offices, shops and land will now all become available for purchase for non-Qataris, which is a great step that will surely benefit the Qatari economy.  The areas for free ownership are West Bay (Katifiya), Pearl, Al Khor Resort, Al Qassar area (administrative), Al Dafna (administrative), Onaiza (administrative area), Luasil, Khuraij, Jabal Thaileb and Rawdat Al Jahaniyah (Investment Zone).


The areas that were announced for 99 years are Musheireb, Fereej Abdul Aziz, Doha Jadeed, Old Ghanem, Riffaa, Old Al Hatmi, Salta, Fereej Bin Mahmoud 22, Fereej Bin Mahmoud 23, Rawadat Al Khail, Mansoura, Fereej Bin Dirham, Najma, Umm Ghuwailina, Al Khalifat, Al Sadd, Al Mirqab Al Jadeed and Fereej Al Nasr, Airport area.

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By Bashhar Bessisso, DTZ Qatar

When you are searching for your next residence you can look online, ask family and friends or even roam the streets if you are feeling adventurous, but the smart choice is to enlist the help of the experts. By enlisting the help of an agent, you benefit from professional experience, market knowledge and ultimately their negotiation skills.

Another great advantage is the personal touch; professional agents will strive to connect with their client. By doing so, it will ease the flow of communication between the agent and the client and ultimately it will help the agent to better identify the needs of the client and customise their approach to cater to the client.

Professional agents possess market knowledge which allows them to match the client requirements with the right property. An agents knowledge of the market plays a significant role especially for newcomers into the country where matching the requirement can vary from one client to the other; some clients would seek ease of commute to their place of work, others would look for proximity to schools, shopping malls or leisure facilities. In many cases it could be a mixture of factors and that’s where a good agent must first accurately identify the clients triggers.

A common misconception is that agents dictate the asking price for the property. In fact, agents, when representing the tenant mandate, have to act in their clients best interest. Given the current oversupply of the residential market, throughout all sectors, it is usually the case that agents will receive a fee from the landlord  – and in that case the agent should not request a finder’s fee from the tenant; it’s always worth enquiring to the agent as to whether they are receiving fees from the landlord.

Good agents will not only accurately convey messages and requests to the landlord, such as any concerns regarding maintenance work required or furnishing which may need replacing, but will also ensure every request is properly recorded so there is no misunderstanding at a later date.

Finally, it is always sensible to request a copy of your Agent’s Commercial Registration. In Qatar, all companies engaged in real estate brokerage are required to have this activity set out on their company registration. If they are not willing to provide this then it is probable that the broker is acting as a freelancer without any company registration and indeed any legitimacy.

This article was first published in Trends Vol. 2

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By Ramy Wali, The Pearl Gates

A buyers’ market should be just that – a buyers’ market. It’s not a fence or a sitting, waiting, delaying, postponing, hesitating, pausing or foot-shuffling market.

In such markets, even though the opportunity to buy is high, buyer urgency tends to hit an all-time low. The media have become the stimulating purveyor of negative news and uninformed advice, and buyers buy it all!

Not so long ago, in a sellers’ market, prices were escalating and it was perhaps one of the most difficult times to buy for value, and yet, people were buying like there was no tomorrow. Investors were afraid to lose opportunities by not buying, although the advantage was all going to the sellers.

These days, the market has shifted.Fear is still in the driver’s seat but the tables have turned.

The fear of paying too much seems to be the stepping-stone in many deals. At a time when some should have been afraid of paying too much, they weren’t. Now that they shouldn’t be afraid of paying too much, they are.

If a buyer, seller, developer or a broker actively pays attention, they will know that they can never sell at the highest peak, or buy at the absolute bottom. Logic says that you cannot predict the ideal market time to buy at the absolute best price or sell at the highest price.

Simply put, buyers will never be able to know that the prices were low until the prices go back up, but then, they have missed that window. Alternatively, sellers won’t be able to know that prices are around the top, until market prices start to decrease.

There are some indicators that will help point the direction in which a market is going and can indicate how far market prices have fallen or risen. In other words, perfect timing is luck.

Playing in the Safe Zone

The safe zone is where shrewd people plan to buy and sell. Anyone who buys at the top of the market is just unlucky and anyone who buys at the bottom of the market is just lucky.

People who purchase in the buyer’s market are buying in the safe zone and are not greedy. They know they can’t predict the end of the bust, but they can see when the market has considerably fallen. They can’t see the end or the speed at which it will climb afterwards, so they focus on what they can count on.

People who attempt to predict the bottom in a buyer’s market are essentially undecided while wondering, have we hit the bottom yet?

The real players in the market aren’t trying to predict the bottom but are trying to buy smart, because they know that it’s a matter of luck not planning.

Buyers in a such market are looking for a sound decision with predictable results and therefore ask the question “have market prices dropped enough now that we can make a decision on a purchase?”  More often, when they are asking this question they are already in the safe zone and the answer is yes. These are the real buyers in a buyer’s Market.

Investors need professional advice in a changing market more than ever before. The challenge is that most do not realise it. They have read the newspaper, magazines, listened to the news, talked to some friends and family members and formed an opinion.

They believe they have got the entire story about the market and how to approach it. They believe they are fully informed, but they are not.

The media rarely tells the whole story , and most people have limited experience. As a result, they are either half informed or misinformed.

Most people allow their level of willingness to be greatly impacted by the perception of others about the market. Our goal is to round out their economic understanding and market knowledge so they have a complete picture.

A buyers sense of the market can become a tailwind that drives them forward or a headwind that stops them cold. Some people look like investors because they are able and ready to buy, but then you find out that instead of willing to buy they are waiting. Their perception of the market is to wait.

You must help them understand that it is the right time to buy not because it benefits you but because it benefits them. As an expert, you can teach them about realistic economic expectations. They can’t sell high and buy low at the same time.

The extreme mobility of buyers today has led to some unrealistic expectations. It is a case of people wanting to bend market reality to reflect their mobile lifestyle. Somehow, many people are led to believe that they can buy and sell every three to five years and make a gain on both sides. This economic idea is unrealistic. Any successful real estate investor will tell you that real wealth will come from the combination of any appreciation plus debt pay down.

If they sell and then buy during a “seller’s market” they will get more when they sell then pay more when they buy. When they sell rather than buy in a ‘”buyer’s market’’ they will get less from their sale, but are able to make it up with a saving when they buy. In the end, home ownership is best viewed as a long-term investment, just like a stock market or any other sound investment.

Markets always favour one sector over another. High times are for sellers and low times are for buyers. People hesitating to buy or sell will allow time to pass and miss opportunities.

At the end, your ‘buyer willingness’ is about expert knowledge of the market, and careful consultation on their personal needs. As a professional estate agent, you must communicate the economic and market facts, every chance you get. In a buyer’s market the presentation of facts on the market generally adds up to a powerful argument to buy now.

This article was first published in Trends Vol. 2

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By Jeffrey Asselstine, NelsonPark Property LLC

I recently had a discussion with a good friend about what I believe all clients should know before they start looking for a property.  When I phrased my comment in that way he responded with, “but isn’t it your job to educate the customer about what they need to know?”  It was the perfect response to my earlier comment.  So, I clarified my view as follows – these are the things as a tenant that you want to find the answer to, and a good agent will guide you through a series of questions to help you find the answers that you need to know.

I learned early in my professional career that in order to provide excellent customer service you need to be a trusted advisor for a client, and not an order taker. Similar to going to a restaurant, an order taker just receives the order from you, and if you are lucky they repeat it back; you’re even luckier if you get what you actually ordered. Some better individuals would try to upsell you on certain menu options, but often with no idea of how it fits in, just up selling because they have been told to do so.

A trusted advisor though, will present options to you that you have perhaps not considered, and will be there to answer your questions throughout and even provide recommendations to make the experience far more valuable. In real estate, this is what a good agent should be, a trusted advisor. The agent should start with a few key questions, but then ask more probing questions to really understand your needs, to allow you to be able to better choose your future home.

What are those questions that you need to know the answer to, and why are they important?  Before I list them, I should add that I don’t think that any of these questions are necessarily more important than the other. It is really down to each individual client’s requirements. In other words, although everyone says that price is the most important, very frequently it is not. If it is the right price, but the wrong size and wrong area, the right price will not be enough. A trusted advisor agent will ask the right questions to be able to help you, and also prioritise which of these key questions are the most important to you as a client.

Timing – Do you need to move in today, next week, next month or in 6 months? Whilst it may be obvious why this is important, we find that a lot of tenants do not necessarily realise that what they may be looking at for rent today, may not be available in 1 weeks’ time.  Having a good understanding of the time scale will help the agent show you properties where the landlord may have a greater probability of allowing you to book the unit long before the actual move in date.

Budget – Again, it may sound very self-evident why this is important, but the “budget” is made up of a lot of things that a tenant may not think of immediately when calculating it. The headline rent is just that, the rent, but there are a lot of other things to consider and a good agent will be able to explain this to you. Other things to consider in addition to the rent amount:

Is there a free month available at the beginning or end of the tenancy, or “smoothed’ into the payment plan?

Are utilities paid for by the tenant or the landlord?

Is the security cheque cashed or not? It is normally one month’s rent so the potential cashing of this cheque can be material to a tenant.

Bedrooms – Important for the client, and therefore the agent to know how many bedrooms are wanted? Also, there should be a good understanding of who will occupy these bedrooms? Is it a guest bedroom, will it be used as a home office, is it just for storage? The answer to these questions will drive the choice as to which property is more appropriate.

Location – the old adage in real estate is location, location, location, when it comes to what property to buy. Well, the same holds for rental clients. Although Doha is growing rapidly, compared to a lot of cities that people have come from, it is not that large. Combined with the constant improvements in the road network, it has made what was once a far away location, now only a 10-minute drive. I always like to suggest to clients to take out a map, mark where the location for work is for the tenant(s), mark where the children will go to school (if this needs to be considered) then from those two points, take a view of which area is appropriate. Close to the school? Close to the office? In the middle?

I hope you find these questions useful. The better agents will always take the time to talk these things through with you to really understand your needs. Help them to help you too, provide as much detail as you can. It’s a bit like going to the doctor and not telling them where it hurts; they can only do so much without the full information.

This article was first published in Trends Vol. 2

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