Most of us who have relatives or friends living in Israel or looking to live in Israel have their “war” stories about buying a home there. The perfect example is my neighbor, who is still waiting for his new apartment in Jerusalem to be ready, a mere seven years after he put down his first deposit. They still don’t know when they will be able to move in and hope it will be before 2017. I am afraid to ask because I know the subject is a sore one.
Avid readers of Jewish media may find that Shia Getter is a familiar name. His real estate expertise has been appearing in Mishpacha and other publications for years. Shia is the CEO of the Shia Getter Group, a full-range real-estate services agency in Jerusalem that caters to the Anglo community. He and his team consider themselves Israel’s one and only true sellers’ and buyers’ brokerage firm. They manage and maintain your Israeli apartment and oversee the entire buying and selling process.
Shia is warm and open fellow, and his talent and skills come through clearly in a 20-minute phone chat with JLBC. He agreed wholeheartedly that navigating one’s way through the real-estate rental or purchase maze of Jerusalem can be a dizzying and sometimes frightening experience. That’s where The Getter Group comes in. They smooth over the bumps and ridges of the road to owning (and selling) your Israeli home, especially over long distances.
Shia emphasized that his clientele ranges from Modern Orthodox to hasidic and everywhere in between, adding that the core of his business is to help oversee and manage your Israeli home-away-from-home by providing you with dependable renters or providing other services to apartment owners and other homeowners in Israel. He also explained that The Getter Group manages properties everywhere in the country and is not Jerusalem-centric.
His recently published book, Everything You Need to Know about Buying Real Estate in Israel (Feldheim, 2013), is an easy-to-read, 134-page guide to understanding the terminology, the laws, and unique challenges of the Israeli real estate market. The book’s goal is to show others the ropes and pitfalls and help them get the maximum out of their investments. It covers many key elements: What to look for; how to make sure you don’t end up with unpleasant surprises; how to assess apartment conditions, and much more.
Getter also explains the hidden costs no one talks about, and reveals how having certain information can make a major difference in what you ultimately pay. There are many issues facing non-Israelis who buy homes in Israel and he expressed amazement at how many committed Jews want to own a piece of the land of Israel because it is their way of connecting to the land, even if they visit infrequently or rent it out their properties for the long-term. He also noted that more and more of his clients find that once they buy their apartment in Israel, it goes quickly from being a “second home” to a “first home” as they begin to spend more and more of their time in Israel. Often, the buyer’s home outside of Israel becomes a “second home,” even when the buyer didn’t intend it to work out this way.
When I joked that some of his buyers are clearly buying “Moshiach insurance” to ensure they will have a place to live when Moshiach arrives, he said it wasn’t a joke at all! He mentioned that he has at least one client with an apartment who has a “Moshiach clause” in his rental agreement, stating his tenants must vacate his apartment within 48 hours of Moshiach’s arrival.
We closed our conversation on a high note and made a commitment to meet on his next trip to the U.S. between August 19-26 to consult with serious owners and potential investors in Israeli properties.
For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 718-473-3950, ext. 8, or e-mail sarah_shiagetter.com.
By Moshe Kinderlehrer