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RER

SAUDI ARABIA - Real Estate & Construction

Mohammed Hamad Al-Suliman

CEO, National Real Estate Registry Services Company (RER)

Bio

Mohammed Hamad Al-Suliman has broad experience across numerous leadership positions spanning various sectors, including telecom, banking and finance, investment OPS, and more. He has received several awards including 2020 Silicon Valley organization (SVUS Awards) bronze medal for CEO of the Year category in the insurance sector, Best CEO in the insurance sector award by International Business Magazine in 2020, and Excellence in Innovative Operational Implementation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 2021 from British magazine Global Brands. Al Suliman holds a PhD in strategic management and IT from Peter Drucker Business School, a master’s degree in information systems and technology from US-based Claremont Graduate University, and a bachelor of science degree in management information systems from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia.

"RER has facilitated effective urban planning and infrastructure development by ensuring property rights and promoting transparency."
Mohammed Hamad Al-Suliman is CEO of National Real Estate Registry Services Company (RER). RER began operations in Saudi Arabia in August 2022, marking a significant step in shaping a secure, transparent, and streamlined real estate landscape.
Saudi Arabia is currently undergoing a massive boom in real estate development. Can you share with our readers the Real Estate Registry’s journey so far, and what the company’s launch in Saudi Arabia represents?

The journey of the Real Estate Registry in Saudi Arabia spans over 20 years. Initially, there were some experimental exercises that the government carried out for the land registry, but technological limitations hindered progress, leading to valuable lessons. After a few years, new legislation came out nearly a year and a half ago, leading to the formation of a company mandated by royal decree to become the exclusive operator of the land registry in Saudi Arabia. This move aimed to ensure data centralization and national security in real estate matters, considering it a matter of national interest. The company, under the PIF portfolio, operates dynamically, leveraging private sector capabilities. This collaboration involved two key entities: The Real Estate General Authority, responsible for regulations, dispute resolutions, and the monitoring of violations in market movement, and RER, the operator, focused on ensuring the transparency and absolute ownership of the titles that we are issuing locally. The geospatial services we offer work to an average differentiation of five centimeters. These surveys involve drones, manned airplanes, and land surveyors to align cadastral data and plots from Ministry of Municipal & Rural Affairs & Housing, also Ministry of Justice deeds, leading to the issuance of titles. New regulations mandate a detailed first registration process following area announcements. Leveraging geospatial technology, the company assesses risks before registration. This method ensures a comprehensive understanding of potential issues before finalizing registrations. The essence lies in avoiding future disputes due to overlaps or descriptive inaccuracies in titles, impacting investor risk appetite. Even a minor risk ratio deters international investors. The digitization of deeds and cleaning up of legacy systems preserves historical records. This effort allows better readability of old titles, showcasing the evolution of registration practices. Beyond preservation, the initiative simplifies and streamlines the real estate industry, reflected in our new strategy called “EASE”. Each letter takes a segment of a lot of executable elements to build a much more trusted, transparent, and more inhabited real estate market place. RER began operations in August 2022, marking a significant step in shaping a secure, transparent, and streamlined real estate landscape.

The company announced the goal of registering around 350,000 properties by the end of 2023, with a significant portion in Riyadh. Could you elaborate on your strategies to achieve this ambitious target?

When you enter a new proposition, exploration is essential. We started up with a small area of 2,800 parcels. But we have already announced more than 450,000 parcels across Riyadh, Dammam and Madina for registration. This achievement demonstrates RER’s commitment to urban development and land management. RER has facilitated effective urban planning and infrastructure development by ensuring property rights and promoting transparency. This step would not have been possible without the cooperation of government agencies, landowners and people. This important achievement is fully consistent with RER’s mission and purpose. We have overachieved. Despite skepticism about its size, it allowed us to elaborate, brainstorm, and come up with something new; new processes, efficiency, agility, and preparedness for the whole task. This approach mirrors practices in several Western and some GCC countries that initially had to motivate people to engage in land registry. Presently, our system operates predominantly online, showcasing enhanced efficiency and operational strength. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia ranked first regionally and third globally in the e-government services, enabling seamless integration of the land registry with various entities nationwide. This integration simplifies real estate transactions, which promises to simplify matters for the real estate business. Our strategy focused on refining operations on a smaller scale before extensively publicizing the project.

What cutting-edge technological solutions are you implementing, and what benefits do they bring to property owners and investors?

In our operations, technology plays a multi-faceted role, encompassing various segments like e-commerce, website and mobile app services, blockchain, cybersecurity, and risk assessment. Our emphasis on technological maturity and upscaling ensures heightened security for owners and users, as we own and manage our IBS for product development and adaptability. Collaborating with the best companies and industries and prioritizing user experience has been instrumental. We aim to create an engaging, user-friendly website and platform, fostering an enjoyable experience for our visitors. Continual upgrades remain pivotal in keeping our e-commerce platforms at the forefront of technological advancements. Visualization, evaluators, and a marketplace to be created in the real estate industry are endeavors on our horizon. When it comes to the geospatial services, a core mandate in our business, the average accuracy that we are achieving nowadays allows us to see the gaps, the overshooting, and undershooting of the geospatial services, and also to inspect the accuracy and the absolute borderlines of every parcel. In addition, there are numerous engineering ideas. Projects such as NEOM, that works on different multilayers, are much more visionary in the way they do business, working across multiple dimensions (3D to 4D) due to evolving unit positions. This dynamic landscape challenges conventional land registry methods, urging us to innovate and consider detailed solutions to cater to such evolving scenarios. Our digitization efforts and cutting-edge technology have significantly expedited processes.

Can you share with us the strategic partnerships contributing to the company’s success?

We have established multiple partnerships, particularly with governmental entities that play strategic roles. Our collaboration with REGA and the Ministry of Justice, which is the current operator of the real estate business and markets, is pivotal. Additionally, our association with GEOSA, the Geospatial Authority in Saudi Arabia, is fundamental. They standardize our flight schedules and set criteria for geospatial data derived from our flights, drones, and manned airplanes. Collaboration with MOMRA is equally vital as titles have evolved from traditional deeds. Our newly-issued titles provide comprehensive details about the nature of the property. These titles specify whether it’s a residential house, a commercial building, warehouse, or factory, along with municipality-approved licenses. In addition, we will be mentioning the property sheets containing historical data, like sale and purchase records, property values, and a record of licensing, demolitions, and renovations sourced from municipalities. MOMRA involvement is critical in managing this essential property information for our operations.

What are your short-term targets for 2024?

Our ambitious goal is to encompass 80% of Saudi Arabia within the first land registry over the next five years, an accelerated timeline we’re actively working to expedite. Presently, our progress indicates the potential for even better outcomes than originally anticipated. By 2024, we aim to complete a land registry for the entire city of Riyadh and several cities under consideration. So, 2023 and 2024 are going to be what we call building the basics of the organization. Subsequently, in 2025, we transition into a growth stage where the emphasis shifts towards enabling more advanced technologies. This shift will allow the market to align more closely with the objectives outlined in Vision 2030, propelling it further toward those aspirations.

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