One major difference between the American and Israeli real estate markets is that in Israel, there are no contingencies when signing a contract.
What does this mean, and how does this affect you?
In Israel, you need to have all your finances in order before signing the contract. What this means is that you need to organize your money from abroad, as well as obtain pre-approval at the bank for your mortgage and understand how quickly you can pay to make sure you can keep to the terms of the deal.
Even when buying into a project, although you are paying over 2+ years, you must be able to pay by all the deadlines, or you will be in breach of contract.
Getting your new apartment inspected is highly recommended by me and most attorneys. The role of the inspector is not to find a list of little things that are broken and need fixing, but rather to determine if there are any fundamental structural issues with the apartment.
Infrequently, there will be an issue, but this is why it is crucial to bring in the inspector before signing the contract.
It is prudent to evaluate the property you would like to purchase through the bank before signing the contract. It can be a bit more expensive; however, it will show the bank’s thoughts on the property through the valuer.
This is crucial because if they undervalue the property, you must find a way to finance it in other ways before signing the contract.
In Israel, it is not mandatory to prove that you have the finances to buy, nor is it mandatory to bring an inspector. However, good brokers and most lawyers will want to make sure both are taken care of before signing the contract.
Not everything is as it seems—what if they say they renovated the apartment two years ago, and everything looks new, but they did not disclose that they are still using the piping from 20 years ago, which is not a dealbreaker but is crucial to know before purchasing?
I am currently selling a brand-new apartment in the German Colony that is on the ground floor, and my client brought in an engineer to check to make sure there would be no issues with moisture.
The inspector determined that everything was in order, which gives the buyer more confidence in his purchase. Bringing an engineer can only protect you and there is no downside to it.
In America, people purchase properties subject to contingencies, and then after signing there is time to do all sorts of inspections and mortgage approvals.
In Israel, once you make an offer in good faith, you have time to do your checks, but once you sign, you are nearly locked into the deal, so do your checks properly before signing!
This article is based on the opinions of CapitIL Real Estate CEO & Co-Founder Ben Levene. Ben Levene is a Jerusalem real estate expert with over 10 years of experience, specializing in helping Anglos purchase real estate in Israel. To start your Israel property search, please contact Ben at +972-53-822-4336 or [email protected].