Ian Edelman in Doha

Expat exploits in Qatar


All good things…

A couple of weeks ago, I handed in my letter of resignation to my employer. Over the coming couple of months, I will have to go through the byzantine bureaucratic processes that will allow my work contract to formally end, my visa and residency to be cancelled and permission to leave the country approved. Towards the end of June we will be boarding a Qatar Airways plane on a one-way ticket to London, and leaving Qatar for good.

In the meantime, we have started to sell the belongings that we won’t be bringing home… that is all the furniture and the car, and packing boxes with the things we are shipping back to the UK.

The exit has been planned for a while so we got a head start. Two beds, two wardrobes, a chest of drawers, 8-seater dining table and chairs, sideboard, coffee table and some small items have all been sold. The flat is looking very bare. You can see what’s left for sale on Qatar Living.

Selling furniture has been an interesting exercise. There are two types of buyer. The easiest is the expat who arrives at our apartment at the appointed time, looks at the item, says yes I’ll take it (or occasionally no), and pays exactly what I asked.

The other type of buyer sees the listed price as the starting point for negotiation, often by WhatsApp or SMS. Once the sale is agreed, they invariably arrive at our apartment a minimum of an hour after the agreed time.

The conversation (all actually happened) goes like this…

How much is the wardrobe?
Me: It’s 500QR
What’s your last price?
Me: My last price is 400QR. Please don’t ask for less as I will say no.
I can give you 300QR

What is the last price for your car?
Me: I have it listed for 48999QR but I will sell it for 46000QR
I will give you 44000QR
Me: No, I said 46000QR
But it’s only 2000QR
Me: Yes but it’s my 2000QR

If have been asked for heavy discounts because
it’s a present for my son‘.
Me: But it’s not my present to your son, so pay the full price.

How much is the bed?
Me: 700QR
What is your last price?
Me: 500QR
But I will have to pay 200QR to have it transported to Al Khor (a town outside Doha), so can I have it for 300QR.
Me: No, I will sell it someone in Doha for 500 who doesn’t have to pay the transport costs.

I sold the car for 46000 which was what I wanted. With the change in exchange rate between the Riyal and the Pound over three years and three months that I owned the car, means that the total cost of ownership was only £3400. A rental car for the same period would have cost £18500.

The buyer paid for the car to be examined at one of the testing stations on the Salwa Road. They pointed out the paint job on the doors, but as I had already told the prospective buyer there were no surprises.

He paid in cash with a block of 500QR notes. Using the Metrash 2 app, we transferred ownership at our soon to be sold coffee table. It was as simple as that.

So we still have a few things to sell, some of which, such as the bed, fridge and washing machine that we’ll need to keep until the day before we leave. So why not make me an offer!