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Israel - Buying Property

When purchasing a property in Israel there are several regulations that you should be aware of in advance. The first one is to ensure that you have a different lawyer to your buyer. In Israel it is legal for the same lawyer to represent both the buyer and the seller, but having your own will avoid any conflict of interest during the transaction. When purchasing a new build property off plan, the buyer is liable for the legal fees of the builder so having your own lawyer will ensure that this process runs smoothly and fairly.

Costs to be taken into consideration include purchase tax. It is applicable to all property purchases and your lawyer will be able to advise you on the amount you must pay and when. It is dependent upon the purchase price. Legal fees can be as much as 1.5% of the purchase price plus taxes but this does not include fees that need to be paid for registering the property. Expats should also be aware of the cost of transferring monies and converting currencies. There may also be maintenance charges if there are common areas, such as in an apartment building and all homeowners must pay municipal taxes.

Purchasers are protected by law now after the collapse of several construction companies which lost purchasers their new homes. Monies are deposited into a special account, as several payments must be made while the property is being built, and this is protected from loss. If buying an existing property, monies are held in Escrow with the lawyer until all the legalities are completed.

House prices will vary in range according to the size of the property and its location. Small properties in a small town will be much cheaper than a house in a busier area. Many sellers will be prepared to negotiate on price so it is a good idea to make an offer lower than the asking price in the first instance. There are many estate agents located in all the major towns and cities in Israel and most have websites that will list all the properties that they have for sale.

Expats do not tend to have specific communities but will buy in the same areas as there are some divisions in certain areas between people of different religions and social class. This is something that should be taken into consideration when choosing which area to buy in, along with proximity to the place of employment, schools and medical facilities.

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