Buying a Home in Israelthe English guide
Finding a Home in Israel
Finding Homes for Sale
You might be used to seeing “For Sale” signs in your hometown. While you will also find these in Israel, it is far more likely to find homes for sale in other ways.
Searching online and exploring the neighborhood you want to live in can be a great start. Israeli websites like Yad2.co.il, Madlan.co.il, and Homeless.co.il are some of classic options for finding properties for sale. Social networking sites can also be a great option.
Using a real estate agent is a great way to see exclusive properties that are often perfectly suited to your needs you wouldn’t have otherwise known about. Many agents will even let you have a viewing remotely, which is another advantage for Anglo buyers. Today, many agents provide excellent video walkthroughs of the home which can save hours of time. Agents will also be able to point out homes that match your goals and can help you keep an eye out for new homes on the market, while also being able to incentivize a sometimes needed open-mindedness and flexibility needed when buying a home in Israel. This is the most preferred option for foreigners.
When browsing home listings, remember that you’re not just buying the building; you’re also buying a home that should match your lifestyle. Some aspects to keep in mind, aside from the house itself, include: the neighborhood, the commute, the schools, and the public transportation.
First, decide what kind of lifestyle you are looking for. If you love the city atmosphere with a lively nightlife, then you should consider Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Both cities have multiple areas that offer a higher concentration of English speakers, and your real estate agent will help you look for properties in those areas.
If you are looking for a quieter and calmer lifestyle, then you will probably want to look at Yishuvim or smaller cities. Again, your real estate agent will help recommend properties that fit your requirements.
NOTE: Many Yishuvim will require you to be accepted by the municipal council before you can purchase a home and move in.
If you’re switching locations in a significant way, consider how much time you’re comfortable spending on your commute to work. Are you close to other cities that provide employment options in your field should your current employment expire? Have you explored remote working with your employer? Israeli culture typically does not include long commuting times. Smaller highways at rush hour can be particularly frustrating for foreigners.
If you have children (or plan on having one day), take some time to review the local schools in the area. Even if your family doesn’t involve a future with children, keep in mind that a good school district adds value to the home, thus making it easier to sell at a later point in the future.
Public transportation in Israel is constantly developing, and is far behind in many areas of Israel. There are quite a number of locations that require owning a car. Most major cities are currently expanding their light rail systems, and the Israeli train system is working on connecting more and more cities. However, there is a long way to go and so it is wise to investigate public transportation options in the area for all members of the family.
The House Itself
First things first, we have to schedule the house viewings. Once you find a house you’re interested in, your real estate agent can schedule a time for you to view the house, typically without the sellers or other potential buyers present. If you’re not working with an agent, you can contact the seller’s agent to schedule a viewing. Sellers may also host an open house as a chance for potential buyers to view the house.
What to Look For at the Viewing:
If you decide to make an offer, a home inspector will complete a more thorough review of the home, but there are some potential red flags that you can look for upfront yourself:
Plumbing and Electrical Issues
Check all the light switches and electrical outlets. Make sure the faucets and toilets don’t leak, and look for evidence of water damage on the floors and ceilings.
Old Appliances, Chimneys and Gas Furnaces
If these items are older or haven’t been serviced recently, you may need to have them cleaned, repaired or replaced.
Radon, Lead Paint and Carbon Monoxide
Ask the seller if the house has been tested for any of these. If it hasn’t, you can have these tests done as part of the inspection.
Full or Defective Gutters
If the home’s gutters are full or not working properly, they may be allowing rainwater to pool near the foundation of the home. This can be an expensive problem to fix.
Tree Location and Quality
Try to assess the likelihood that a tree might fall on the house during a storm or strong winds.
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