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The Process of Buying a Home in Israel

FINDING YOUR HOME IN ISRAEL

Like buying a home in America, it is important to be represented by a competent local attorney when purchasing a home or apartment in Israel. Usually, a 2% commission is paid by both the Buyer and the Seller. You can either find a home yourself on www.IsraelHomeGuide.com or have a Real Estate Agent look for a property that suits your needs. The Agent can deal with the individual Agent who is representing the property you are interested in. It's recommended that you let your Agent handle the negotiations. The agents usually prepare the contract. We recommend that you make any contracts subject to the approval of your attorney. Usually the Buyer and Seller have their own attorneys. The Real Estate Agent should provide guidance regarding location, neighborhood, type of property, what's included in the Purchase Price, etc.

ABOVE AND BEYOND THE PURCHASE PRICE

The fees and taxes involved in an Israel Real Estate transaction can be as high as 8%. This includes a 2% Real Estate Agent commission plus VAT (Value Added Tax) - approx. 2.36%, Lawyer's Fees of typically 1% plus VAT - approx. 1.18% and Purchase Tax of 3.5% to 4.5 % of the purchase price.

HOME FINANCING

Banks in Israel offer mortgages for foreign non-residents. The typical mortgage would be up to 60% of the Appraised Value, although you can also use EMI (Mortgage Insurance) as a way to increase the amount of your mortgage. Homes or apartments in newly constructed developments in Israel qualify for a higher percentage of loan to value - sometimes as much as 80%. It's best to contact several banks to obtain the lowest mortgage rates and best terms.

REAL ESTATE OVERVIEW

As befits a geographically small country undergoing rapid economic development, Israel boasts a very active real estate market. Construction and development in the market is dominated by the private sector, while the land market is dominated by the government. The real estate market in Israel has undergone and is continuing to undergo a significant process of maturation, moving from a market characterized by limited choice and options and low quality construction, to one which now boasts a wider range of alternatives in terms of location, size, building quality, and amenities.

The foreign investor seeking to purchase or lease a property in Israel for investment or for corporate use should familiarize himself with the operation of the market in Israel, in terms of pricing dynamics, location alternatives, the types of property available, and the legal and financial framework within which the Israeli market operates.

LOCATION IN ISRAEL

A practical starting point for understanding the Israeli market is from the perspective of the various location and site alternatives which the market presents to the investor and user.

Commercial real estate in Israel is typically found in one of two types of locations, either center city “central business district” locations, or in outlying industrial areas which function much as suburban office parks. The two sources of property serve different purposes and markets.

Center city locations, such as those in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa, cater to financial and service businesses, professional services, media and government offices.

In addition, most retailing has historically been concentrated within the city and town centers, although the past decade has witnessed an increasingly dominant trend of construction of shopping centers and strip malls on the outskirts of the urban areas, adjacent to major highway and road development.

Industrial areas, located on the outskirts of Israel's cities and towns, house a mix of uses, primarily high technology, manufacturing, and warehousing tenants. These industrial areas have also been the site of much of the recent growth in retail development. In recent years, these areas have begun to take many of the characteristics of suburban office parks, albeit with a higher concentration of development as is typical in Israel.

Computer, electronics, and other high technology firms, whether engaged in development or in actual manufacturing, generally seek locations in the industrial and suburban areas, with a preference for industrial areas where other similar companies are concentrated, or separate industrial or suburban office park developments.

This overall trend of office, industrial, and commercial development outside the urban centers coincides with the rising level of automobile ownership and subsequent increased mobility of the country's population and the trend of private home construction and suburbanization.

Real estate deveopment area's : As part of the government's ongoing efforts to encourage industrial development, particulary in small towns outside of the center of the country, the Ministry of Trade and Industry administers development grants and tax incentives for creation of industry in these areas. In addition, companies seeking land in these areas may apply and receive site allocations at subsidized prices for construction of factories.

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