I decided I’d write a series on how to buy a home in Israel and the shenanigans that sometimes/often accompany the process. This column is being formatted in a Q + A style. Each one of these questions/points are worthy of discussion. Some questions may be grouped as the points get addressed in upcoming posts…
1–Where are you looking to buy? Near water, Old City/Jerusalem, the Spiritual North, arid desert, tech/cosmopolitan city?
2– In which type of neighborhood would you prefer to live? Amongst Israelis, Americans/Anglos Europeans, religious, mixed?
3–If you are a shul (synagogue) goer which kind of davening (prayer service) do you prefer and how close is it to where you are hoping to buy?
4–Which type of accommodations would you like to be in? High-rise or low-rise apartment, penthouse, garden apartment, townhouse, villa (free standing home).
5–Will this home be your primary residence, second home or vacation/holiday home?
6-What size apartment do you want/need?
7–Buy on paper as new construction, or newly built and completed, as an existing shell and finishing it? Buy existing/old and in need of a renovation?
8–What do you need in an apartment?
- Thermopane/weather tight windows?
- Drywall vs cinderblock walls?
- Blinds, manual or electric?
- Security system? Bars on windows?
- Water heater? Solar only, Yonkers/instant boiler, combo?
- Ventilation fans baths/kitchen?
- Parking? Reserved spot, outside lot or covered parking? Non-drivers, proximity to transportation?
- Storage room? How big is the storage area and where is the storage located?
- Is there adequate storage in the apartment?
- Kitchen, kosher/passover?
- Appliances, American /European?
- Electric capacity, internet, cable, underfloor heating, climate control, smart home?
- Elevator, Shabbat/freight?
- Lighting? How many fixtures/cans are in the unit?
- Natural light, sun exposure?
- View? Outdoor space? Terraces, covered, kosher for Sukkot?
- Waste removal/recycle?
Once you have some idea as to what you want/think you want…The following is a general information and helpful hints section:
9-On average how much does it cost to buy a home in Israel? How much does it cost per square foot/meter? To build out/renovate?
10-How do you find a good realtor?
4 room home = living room and three bedrooms. Penthouse is one level below the top, with a half penthouse above. Villa, free standing house. First floor is the one above the entry.
Apartments are sold by the square meter. One square meter = 10.76 Feet (I usually multiply square meter by 10 then add in a tiny bit to quickly get approximate total of size of home for square foot equivalent).
Israeli plans are very different than US standards. Metric dimensions, symbols, scale of plan.
14-When is the best time to look for a home?
15–Check for water issues…
16-Buying on paper… Very tricky business
How do I get a mortgage? How big a mortgage can I get? Set up a bank account? What taxes should I expect for the closing? Get a lawyer to represent my purchase? Transfer money? Get a phone line, internet, security system? Is it difficult for a non Israeli to buy in Israel?
How do I get a designer, contractor?
What is a project manager, do I need one?
Where can I find building materials?
Where do I buy appliances, furniture, household items?
19-Israeli Construction methods: Need I say more?
20–When sending a lift from the US, what is most valuable/practical to send?
Stay tuned for my experiences and thoughts.