Let me share with you an amusing story that recently happened to me. It just goes to again underscore the importance of having a buyer’s broker and how it differs from simply having an attorney and feeling thinking it suffices to protect your interests. Remember, a buyer’s broker is your representative, there to guide and assist you from the time you decide to buy the apartment until you get the key.
So, the phone rings and it’s the developer of a new development in Beit Shemesh where I’m advising a client purchasing an apartment. The developer says, “Shia, the apartment is all ready, so if you hurry down before six o’clock, we can give you the key still today.”
Now, someone on his own would be thrilled to hear such news. Years ago, I would have been too! Now, however, knowing how the system really works, I did not head down there by myself. Instead, a property inspector that I trust came with us to do a proper inspection.
When we arrived, the developer did not realize that my “friend” was an inspector, and let us into the unit, where the inspector began to carefully inspect it. (Working in the unit was a foreign construction worker who was about to “tattle” to the developer, but some good milchig chocolate we keep handy for our tenant welcome packages kept him quiet as a mouse for a full half hour… but I digress.)
Surely you won’t be surprised to hear that the apartment was nowhere near completion. There were plenty of issues that still had to be finished.
The reason the developer wanted us to come out so badly just then, was so he could get his final check for the apartment because it’s “all done.” Were an unsuspecting buyer simply to come with the gelt, they would have had a BIG, unpleasant surprise— and no choice but to either run after the company and try to get them to fix the many issues, or even worse, complete the remaining work on their own — at a cost of tens of thousands of shekels.
When the boss heard the “terrible” news that I had arrived along with an inspector, he went ballistic and literally threw us out of the property! But, ultimately, the purchaser was saved from a much worse situation.
It’s inconceivable to me that some developers actually get away with such outrageous behavior. Some developers seem to feel that “This is the culture here… if they are dumb enough to believe everything we say, then they deserve to lose their money! Freierim!” That attitude does nothing good for people buying or renovating property here.
Did I enjoy getting thrown out? No. But did I save hard-earned Yiddishe gelt from being wasted, not to mention the headaches of dealing with finishing the apartment myself? Yes, I did.
Then again, some people are happier to have headaches and sometimes overpay later for lawyers, electricians, and plumbers than to engage a buyer’s agent, because “it won’t happen to me!” It surely won’t be them who gets shorted by a system and culture that is foreign to them.
There are always things to fix when an apartment is “complete” — the last inspection report I ordered here in Yerushalayim found 17,000 NIS of things to fix!
Many people before you have spent many hours and a small fortune to work out such situations. For some, its worth the gamble. But for others, hiring a buyer’s agent is the smartest decision they can make. As a recent client from Gateshead emailed me “Reb Shia, as I was buying an apartment in a new, charedi development, I figured your buyers brokerage was really unnecessary. What could go wrong? I did it just on a lark. But now, having finally closed on our apartment and looking back at all the guidance we received and how much easier it made the purchasing process, it’s a decision that was worth its weight in gold.”
Shia Getter is the CEO of the Shia Getter Group, a full-range real estate services firm in Jerusalem catering to the Anglo-Charedi Community. He is a noted expert, columnist, and author of Everything You Need to Know about Buying Real Estate in Israel (Feldheim 2014). He and his professional team are Israel’s one and only true seller’s and buyer’s brokerage. They provide a unique service by managing and maintaining your apartment and being completely responsible for the entire buying or selling process.
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