Buying Real Estate in Israel: Complete Guide

Editor’s Note: Please welcome BJN’s newest advertiser, Sabra, Buy Home In Israel.

So, you’ve decided to make Aliyah and embark on an exciting journey to Israel! Whether you’re a seasoned property buyer or a first-time real estate explorer, be prepared for a unique experience unlike any in your home country. While it may be customary in the US to spruce up your home before selling, in Israel, you’ll often find properties sold “AS IS,” with minimal repairs and a cozy, lived-in feel. This guide will shed light on the process of buying property in Israel and help you navigate the intricacies of the Israeli real estate market.

A.  Embrace “AS IS”

When buying property in Israel, it’s essential to understand that most sellers won’t go the extra mile to repair every flaw in the house before selling. Typically, contracts state that the property is sold “AS IS,” meaning you’ll encounter a more authentic, unpolished approach to showcasing homes. Don’t be surprised to find toys on the floor or unmade beds during property tours – it’s considered a sign of a home filled with life and warmth.

B. Get a Home Inspection

Unlike in some countries, sellers in Israel rarely perform home inspections before listing their properties for sale. Therefore, don’t expect to receive any documentation detailing the property’s condition. If you wish, you can hire an engineer to inspect the house at your expense to gain peace of mind and ensure you’re making a well-informed decision.

C. Masters of One

As you venture into the world of Israeli real estate, you’ll encounter various professionals, each responsible for specific tasks. A mortgage broker will assist you with all loan-related matters, while a lawyer handles the contract. Your real estate agent will be your go-to person for finding the best properties and negotiating on your behalf. A top-notch agent will have a network of reliable professionals and can provide valuable referrals, saving you time and effort in the process.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the steps of buying property in Israel.

1. Set a Budget

Real estate in Israel can be costly, so it’s crucial to establish a budget that aligns with your financial situation and desired location. Consider additional expenses beyond the property’s value, such as taxes, utilities, renovations, and professional services like your real estate agent, mortgage broker, and lawyer. Keep in mind that Israeli banks often offer non-Israelis and new Olim loans of up to 50% (or more) of the property’s value, making it easier to afford your dream home.

2. Choose the Perfect Location

While searching for your ideal home, consider essential factors like the weather and environment. Decide whether you prefer the mountains or the beach. Evaluate transportation options and traffic flow, determining if immediate access to buses and trains is necessary or if driving suits you better. Also, contemplate proximity to your workplace and the type of community and schools where you envision your family thriving.

3. Begin the Search

If you’re not yet proficient in Hebrew, start your search by typing “real estate in Israel”, “properties in Israel” or “real estate in [city-name]” on Google. Alternatively, explore Israeli websites like Yad2.co.il and Madlan.co.il for thousands of properties. However, be cautious as many listings may be outdated or misleading. To save time and stress, partnering with a reliable agent, such as Sabras, who specializes in international buyers, can be a game-changer.

4. Negotiate Smartly

Consult with your agent, lawyer, or mortgage broker to understand all expenses beyond the property price. Bargaining is often customary in Israel, and your agent can ensure you get the best price while helping you navigate payment schedules. Typically, buyers pay 10% to 20% of the sum upon signing the contract, with the remainder divided according to mutual agreement.

5. Master the Contract

Hiring a real estate lawyer specializing in international buyers is essential when dealing with contracts in Israel. Your lawyer will guide you through the intricacies and safeguard your interests. If the contract is in Hebrew, your lawyer can arrange for a translation into your native language, ensuring you understand all its provisions.

6. Finalize the Mortgage

For those securing financing, finalize your mortgage by presenting the bank with the contract, allowing them to transfer funds according to the agreed payment schedule. Promptly provide any additional documents requested by the bank to avoid delays.

7. Handle Taxes

Within 60 days of signing the contract, you’ll need to pay the purchase tax, unless eligible for an exemption. If you plan on Aliyah in the near future, you might qualify for a tax refund. Share your plans with your lawyer to facilitate the process.

8. Moving Day Preparations

Before moving day, ensure all payments have been transferred and confirmed with the seller. Consider scheduling a one- or two-day buffer between taking possession of your new property and the arrival of your belongings, allowing for any unexpected delays or last-minute issues.

9. Transfer the Bills

After the move, transfer ongoing bills (water, electricity, arnona, internet, etc.) into your name, and relish the joy of your new home in Israel – Mazel Tov!

10. Bonus Tip: Learn Some Hebrew

Prepare for your Aliyah adventure by learning some Hebrew in advance. Not only will it help you navigate life in Israel with ease, but it will also create connections with the locals, who appreciate Olim Chadashim responding with “sababa” to their falafel invitations.

Best of luck on your exciting journey!

Sabras – Making Your Dreams Come Home.

About Staff

They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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