Ali Al Kulaib

CEO, Real Estate House (REH)
Ali Al Kulaib joined REH, a subsidiary of Beyout Investment Group (BIG) Holding, in 2014 and serves as the Chief Executive Officer. Prior to REH, Al Kulaib was CEO of Commercial Real Estate Company (Al Tijaria) from 2002-2013. He also held the position of the chairman of the board of the Real Estate Trading Company, a member of the advisory committee for the Real Estate Center Fund, the chairman of the board of directors of the Commercial Market Complex Company, and a member of the board of directors of Majan Real Estate Development Company. He started his career at United Real Estate Company in 1995, starting as a real estate manager before becoming a director in 2000.

CEO, Real Estate House (REH)
Buoyed by its successes in real estate in Kuwait, REH is now looking to take its expertise into different sectors and other countries.

As a real estate investment and development company working since 2001, what unique quality does REH offer the Kuwaiti market?

Our main area of expertise is the development and management of buildings. We provide a wide range of support services to our tenants. Our success is measured by the satisfaction and retention of our tenants. We regularly conduct surveys and check the feedback, which leads to the improvement of services and tools. Second, through tracking the length of stay or contract turnover rate, we are able to know whether our services and offer are attractive and successful. In Kuwait, by law, you can only increase rent every five years. If, for example, we increase rent every five years against new services or refurbishments, and the tenant is still willing to stay with us, that means that they are satisfied with our service. For us, the lifetime of the tenant is extremely important. Anyone can offer a great location or a well-designed building. However, services also matter. That is the key thing.

Have you experienced any unique developments or successes in terms of your assets?

The achievement that I am most proud of is the 50% increase in returns over the last eight years. Many of our developments, commercial and residential, have loyal tenants who feel comfortable dealing with us and are happy with the long-term relationship that we have established with them.

COVID-19 had an impact on the real estate and construction market. What was REH’s experience at that time, and what changes did it adopt because of it?

There were two main changes: managerial and financial. We had to update the way we managed the company, including data flow and workflow, and reorganize the financial aspect; for example, rent. It was an unprecedented situation. Instead of making tenants leave, if they could not pay their rent, we waived some of their payments and also gave additional discounts to commercial tenants. This way, from the moment things started to improve, we had full tenancy rates. In fact, we took this initiative before many other companies and saved plenty of capital in the long run. It also increased the loyalty of our tenants because they felt how much we care for them in times of crisis. Overall, it all worked out well in the end.

One of the properties REH manages is Souk Al Mubarakiya. How did the company come into the management of this historic building?

Mubarakiya is a BOT project that we bid for and won. It is an 11-year term, which started in 2017. The footfall of Souk Al-Mubarakiya is approximately around 1 million a week. We are extremely proud of this property, due to its historic and cultural value. It is always rewarding to manage any location that represents the culture of Kuwait, which is visited by Kuwaitis, residents, and tourists. For that reason, we make sure that Al Mubarakiya is well managed so that it portrays a beautiful image of the country and its people.

Are you currently working on any new projects?

We have already submitted applications for several government tenders and are waiting for the results, which should be decided by the end of 2022, or early 2023. We are also looking into diversifying our portfolio by going into the hospitality sector. Additionally, we are going regional by exploring investments around the GCC.

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