Shia Getter

The 9 Keys to a Successful Real Estate Purchase – Key 7 The Tower of London

What the Tower of London Has to Do With Buying an Apartment in Israel

Every night at the Tower of London, at exactly 9:53 p.m., the Yeoman Warders perform the ancient Ceremony of the Keys, following an exact script as they “lock up” the Tower:

“Halt! Who comes there?”

“The Keys.”

“Whose keys?”

And so on.

If you’re wondering what this 700-year-old British military tradition has to do with buying an apartment in Israel, you’ll soon learn that there can also be a “Ceremony of the Keys” (of sorts) involved. It’s just more high-stakes — and a lot less pomp and circumstance.

When a buyer purchases an apartment on paper and it is nearing the final stages of construction, the developer often encourages the buyer to come and take possession of his keys. The buyer is usually more than ready to get those keys in hand, likely having waited a good few years or more for his apartment and having suffered through numerous delays. Knowing that buyers are desperate to finally feel their keys jangling in hand, some developers unfortunately manipulate buyers into taking those keys as quickly as possible, even before an apartment is really ready for habitation.

As soon as the keys are in the buyer’s hand, the buyer must take full responsibility for coordinating the finishing touches on his apartment. Surprise! That means he must schedule all necessary repairs — and be present during them. If the developer sends various workers to make those updates, and the developer does so on his own schedule, the buyer can find himself doing a lot of waiting — and experiencing much frustration. If the developer still has the keys in his possession, however, he is the one who has to schedule, coordinate, and supervise the improvements.

When the buyer takes ownership of the keys, the developer is released from the bank guarantees (and major pressure) related to that particular apartment. Surprise again! That means he often lowers the priority level for finishing work on that apartment, preferring instead to complete diras for which he is still legally bound.

Unaware of this “ceremony” (more like a game of hot potato), many individual buyers end up unwittingly celebrating the acquisition of their keys (oops!), when in fact they should be trying to push off receipt for as long as possible. (Who would have thought?).

Mr. Shia Getter is an authority in real estate and buyer protection in Israel. He founded The Getter Group to help homebuyers secure their interests and avoid pitfalls when buying in Israel. Enlist the experts. Contact The Getter Group today at 718-473-3950 or via e-mail at

This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide legal opinions, or to serve as a substitute for professional advice. The author does not guarantee that the information contained herein is complete or accurate and does not assume any liability for any loss or damage caused by errors, inaccuracies, or omissions contained in this article.

About the Author
Shia Getter is known in Israeli real estate circles for “the man with common sense.” Having moved to Israel 12 years ago, Shia understands what rough experiences many people not used to the local ways of doing business can get entangled with. His company, the Getter Group, is Jerusalem’s #1 sales and brokerage services company, and trusted source of information, ensuring clients get the right investment, covering their bases and checking that they are getting full value and security for their hard earned money.
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