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Top Things to Consider When Buying Real Estate in Israel

Real Estate * Investments * Property Management

Photo by Lielle Feder www.eyepicz.com

Are you looking to buy an apartment in Israel?  The following list includes just a few of the many things to consider when purchasing real estate in Israel.

Location-Geographical Region

The first and most important rule for purchasing real estate is the location. While Israel is a small country, the regions where you choose to live will differ significantly. The weather up north is very different from the arid Negev region. The Tell-Aviv ( Merkaz/ Gush Dan) will be very, very different than a settlement in Judea and Samaria.  Once you have chosen a geographical region, then you must drill down to specific neighborhoods and maybe even streets.

 Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods offer different amenities, and individual characteristics make them unique. If you’re new to an area, check out a neighborhood guide to learn more, or ask your real estate agent. It’s best to know the type of community you will be living in, before buying. For example, there are neighborhoods in Jerusalem that are ultra-orthodox, and driving on the Sabbath is prohibited, and there are a few secular neighborhoods, where religious families may not feel comfortable. If you have children, you may want them to attend a specific school. If so, you may need to look at particular neighborhoods that are in the proper schooling district. A real estate agent can inform you which communities are in the desired school district, or vice versa.

Getting Around

Israel has improved and continues to grow its transportation system from the suburbs by use of the Israel Train.  A commute from Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv by train is a reasonable commute, and traffic jams on the freeway are avoided.  With most major cities spending on better and efficient infrastructure such as light rail trains, living out in the suburbs is within reach. I would also like to point out that parking in some neighborhoods is a catastrophe. It is definitely worth your while to look for a home that has designated parking.

Needed Space

If you’re looking for a property for a primary residence, you should use your current needs for accessing requirements, since you already have an idea if you have enough space. Typically, in Israel, space is limited, and therefore land prices and properties are at a premium. If you need space for a growing family, you may need to move further away from the center. Choosing such a property will usually provide for a larger home for less money.  When buying, you should where your needs will be in the next  10-years. Many things can occur during this period. Do you plan on children,  pets, hosting parties, space for entertaining, or will you need a home office?  The future cannot be determined, but based on your personality and interests, you can assume what you may need. Take some time to consider where you would like to see yourself in 10 years, and what you would enjoy doing; this should provide a good assessment of what your needs are.

Vacation Homes

Holiday and vacation homes will have different needs compared to a primary home. You might desire just a family getaway or enough space to host a large group. Another aspect to consider is storage space, will you be using the vacation home for holidays? For example, if you want to host parties during holidays, a large sukkah balcony is popular. Additionally, you should always consider a vacation home as the potential of your next primary home if you decide to move there long-term.

Investment Properties

If purchasing real estate as an investment property, you want to consider the investment value over the next 5 or 10 years. Instead of focusing on your own needs, think of what people renting or leasing your property would need. For example, location is not likely to change with time, and higher-end neighborhoods have less risk of property values decreasing over time long as no major unexpected events occur.

With location, your investment goals will be reflected based on the type of investment, capital growth, or rental income. In Israel, there is often a low rental yield, while there is high capital growth.

Also, you have the advantage of taking opportunities that residential buyers are not able to or do not want to make. For instance, various buyers would turn down a property due to noise and disruption possibilities for planned construction in the area. Therefore, prices will usually be temporarily lower before experiencing an uptrend in value once construction is finished.

Timing Considerations

Just like with anything else, timing when you buy a home is important. Not everyone has an unlimited amount of time when moving, but if you are not in a hurry, this can be an advantage as you can spend more time negotiating for a better offer without being forced to accept something quicker to move within a deadline. However, if you’re pressured by time it you may pay the penalty if the other party knows you’re in a rush, then they have the upper hand. A real estate agent can assist you in advice with this.

Other factors to consider concerning time is the length of time the process can take, specifically on the secondhand market. You must first go through negotiations and offers; then there is still the lawyer’s part, property inspections, or surveys if needed, then moving in.

Sellers may also be under the pressure of timelines, too; this can limit your timetable for a specific property. Sellers may not be willing to move out before a specific date or waiting to move until finding another property, and that could be months later. Therefore, if the timing could be an issue, let your real estate agent know so they can pinpoint properties that match your needs better and assist you in a faster process if possible.