Buying a home is a big step for anyone, anywhere in the world. But when that purchase is in a new country, where rules, laws & customs may differ from their familiar home, this process requires information, speaking with professionals and a lot of patience. Buying in Jerusalem, a city of diverse neighborhoods, dramatic price variations and cultural diversity, requires even more research & effort in order to find the best match for each specific buyer. The following are ten tips to help new olim with the process of buying a home in Jerusalem.
- Consult with reputable professionals in the real estate industry. Don’t rely on the opinion of friends; get the facts. Since there is a large range of socio-economic resources, education and religious make-up of the various neighborhoods in Jerusalem, it’s important for a real estate professional to supply this information in order to make an informed decision.
- Choosing a neighborhood: it is important to research the educational facilities, religious observance and complexion, and price range of properties in the area. All of these factors will influence the decision on where to live.
- Financing information: since there are many banks and large variety of mortgage products available today in Israel, a good mortgage broker is a must. Not only will they educate the prospective buyer about the option available, they will also help customize the mortgage to the buyer’s specific needs. A good mortgage broker will also shop around with several mortgage lenders to get the best possible rates & terms.
- Selection of a real estate agent: choose a real estate agent you can trust and allow him/her to research all possible property options through the multiple listing service. Knowing who to trust should be based on personal referrals, experience and history of success, as well as a good rapport with the agent. Trying to work with multiple agents can only cause confusion; stick with the one you trust.
- Choosing a reputable real estate attorney is crucial , so that your needs and interests are protected throughout the real estate purchase. It is important to ask question ad feel comfortable with the patience and detailed explanations that the attorney provides. Laws and procedures for buying property in Israel is very different from other countries, so it is important to understand these differences so you can feel comfortable and secure with the transaction. In Jerusalem, there are many types of land ownership, such as private “tabu”, church land and leased land from various entities. A reputable attorney will explain the differences and research the title of the property to determine the type of ownership.
- Think & assess your needs and desires, and articulate these to your real estate agent. Be specific and as detailed as possible (e.g. # of bedrooms, size of entertaining spaces, need for elevator, if applicable, need for succah balcony, parking, storage space and proximity to schools and/or schuls.
- Determine your budget: since Jerusalem neighborhoods can vary dramatically in price, be prepared to be pragmatic in terms of trade-offs and priorities. Centrally-located neighborhoods in Jerusalem (e.g. Rehavia, German Colony & Baka) can range from NIS 30-40,000 per sq. meter, while peripheral neighborhoods (e.g. Armon HaNatziv, French Hill, Har Homa and Gilo) will usually from NIS 12-20,000 per sq. meter.
- When determining your budget, take into consideration peripheral costs of the purchase, such as real estate commission, attorney fee & purchase tax.
- To renovate or not to renovate: decide if you’re willing to undertake the renovation of your purchase of if you want something in move-in condition. Prices will vary significantly between renovated properties & those requiring renovation. The time, expense & headache involve in renovating may be more than a new oleh wants to deal with. If you decide to renovate, it’s advisable to get multiple quotes from qualified builders & architects before making a final decision.
- Finally, enjoy the search, the process and the final goal of owning a home in Golden City of Jerusalem!
This article was written by Alyssa Friedland, Broker /Owner of the RE/MAX Vision Real Estate office in Jerusalem with over 18 years of experience in Real Estate. She offers free consultation to all New Olim. Her office has over 25 agents covering almost every Jerusalem neighborhood, and she can refer buyers to an agent in any area of Israel.
. For more information: 02-673-4111 or 054-668-4111 or www.remax-capital.com