On a day to day basis, I deal with many individuals who want to purchase property in Israel, though they do not live here. The following ten points were written based upon their experience in purchasing real estate in Israel.
1. Be careful. Be prepared. Be informed. – It cannot be overstated or said enough. You, your agent and your lawyer should all do the homework on price, taxes, ownership of any piece of property you are interested in.
2. Understanding Property - Your agent should understand and have seen the property they are representing and be in tune with your needs and requests. Always ask about why a property is costing X even if you feel it is fairly priced. Dig for information just don't accept it. Get a complete picture, one which will make your decision more informed and knowledgeable.
3. Time - Don't let an agent waste your time by dragging you around from place to place without understanding your specific needs. A good agent can save you a great deal of time because they invest the time before they ever heard from you. They scour the market for new and good deals, and meet with owners and plan out time-schedules. They try to prepare as much as possible for your request way before you even knew you would call them.
4. Knowledge of Market Availability - Agents should know the properties available. Not only those which appear in the paper, but those which are never advertised along “normative” routes.
5. Price - A good brokerage firm can often get you a better price than you can get by yourself as they are aware of the “true” market value. And often they can be instrumental in making an owner understand that what you have offered is the best deal all around. It is in the best interest for both sides to be happy, even if the agent represents only one side of the transaction.
6. Positive & Negative Aspects - Because a good agent does research before ever showing you a property, they can warn you of possible problems even when you fall in love with the property. An agent, should without hesitation, list those aspects which they feel may be viewed in a negative light as well. To sing praise is always easy, to be honest and forthright, and warn you that there may be too many stairs, or though the bathroom was just renovated it will still need more work, or the synagogue across the street may prove to be a bit noisy, or during the school year you will hear the chimes from the school down the block - even when you are “in love" is the difficult part.
7. Making Sure You See All The Factors - You should always view the prospective property more than once. At the very least, once during the day and once during night time. This is critical for you to get a sense of the apartment and neighborhood.
8. Real Property Worth - Find out through your agent and lawyer the “real” worth of the property. Do not accept just any figures thrown from a hat to impress you. Find out what other properties in the neighborhood sold for. If the property is appreciating in price. Who the neighbors are and who is buying.
9. Ethics - Agents must be licensed and are subject to laws and a rule of ethics. If you catch an agent in a lie, seek out another agent.
10. Staying Within Your Budget - Do not let an agent push you, nor attempt to talk you into spending more than your budget allows.
In future articles I will discuss taxes, broker fees, and what documentation is required of you.
Ted W. Gross owns Virgin Earth, a real estate brokerage firm in Jerusalem, Israel. Virgin Earth represents residential and commercial real estate all over Israel. The web site for Virgin Earth is: http://www.virginisrael.com . Virgin Earth also maintains an RSS Feed on its current properties which can be found on most pages in the web site of Virgin Earth. Ted Gross can be reached at: email@example.com Ted Gross is also a published author and maintains a web site for his works. This can be found at: http://www.virginisrael.com/twg/iw.html