Buying property in Israel
Buying any real estate property by nature requires comprehensive preliminary preparation, as the order of magnitude of buying property in Israel is completely different from any other purchase, requiring a thorough legal examination to ensure that the purchase process is normal and that the transfer of ownership is smooth.
Buying property in Israel – Preliminary search.
Although your first instinct might be to approach a real estate agency specializing in marketing and finding residential solutions, you should definitely consider instead a law firm that also deals with the process of finding the property for the client, especially when the purchase is made from overseas, since real estate agencies by nature have an interest and their main purpose is to sell properties exclusive to them, as opposed to a lawyer who is objective and whose purpose is to manage your interests, in accordance with the purpose of your purchase, and who of course will not only take care of the buyer’s (the client’s) interests but will also be certain to act lawfully in the client’s best interest, to look into any matter requiring inspection and to deal with any issue which must be addressed.
A lawyer managing a client’s real estate investments will usually locate the potential properties for the client and will sort them out. After finding the right property, there are several things that must be verified before approval of the purchase in principle. Most of these are found in the land registry extract (the Land Registration Bureau’s record), which may be produced for a fee from the governmental payment service website.
Identity of the apartment owner and type of ownership.
The land registration bureau extract includes the property owner’s identity number, which must be compared with the registered identity number. Sometimes the property is not yet registered in the bureau and the inspection must be completed by requesting a confirmation of rights form from the Israel Land Administration. In addition, the land registry extract will also state the type of ownership of the apartment – it may be a shared ownership or a long-term lease, and the buyer must know what is being offered to him.
Size of the property and attachments.
The seller’s promises about the double parking space or the warehouse must be examined meticulously with the Land Registration Bureau, including, in addition to the size of the property and its attachments, also the full diagram of the apartment, where you can check how the apartment was planned and whether any changes were made in it. In this way, you will not be surprised, for example, by a specific wall in the apartment that is of a different quality, which may start leaking. At this stage, already, it is important to emphasize that although such inspections may also be performed independently, without legal representation, an inspection by a skilled Israeli lawyer is nothing like a quick check limited by time on your special-purpose visit to Israel.
Debts and pledges when buying property in Israel.
An up-to-date land registration record also includes basic information on debts and pledges on the property, such as warning notes, mortgages, charges as well as executions. At this stage, it should be noted that although the property owner probably holds a land registration record, it is recommended to retrieve the up-to-date version for a fee from the website, as changes could take place and it is important for you to know of them all. The pledge registrar also holds records of pledges and debts, and sometimes a pledge or debt is written off from the land registry record but remains listed in the pledge registrar’s records, and vice versa.
Therefore it is necessary to check them both. In addition to the foregoing, the property’s value is also determined in accordance with its surroundings, and therefore it is important to carry out a comprehensive inspection of the condition of the adjacent lots and any construction plans, if any, in adjoining areas, through an inquiry with the local planning and building committee. Buying property in Israel is not a simple process, and it is by default an expensive one, so it is important to look into all aspects of the purchase, and this is exactly the type of overall perspective that a lawyer specializing in real estate and familiar with Israel’s laws and real estate market can offer.
Negotiating and executing the purchase in reality.
After the decision to buy the property has been made, comes the final phase of agreeing on the price and the method of payment. It must be ensured that the lawyer in charge of formulating the contract is well-versed in all of the property’s details, from its planning details through changes made in it to pledges which may or may apply to the property, in order to ensure that the future insolvency of the seller or illegal construction carried out in the property will not adversely affect you in the future.
The best way to ensure this is to have the entire purchase process, from beginning to end, managed by one law firm, in charge of managing the property’s purchase in the best possible manner, while ensuring your various interests as a client, out of an understanding of Israeli law and its implications. A real estate lawyer can also manage the property, especially if you do not reside in Israel, to save you a lot of unnecessary headaches.
Eli Shimony – Israeli law firm represents clients on all legal matters in Israel. For any questions please contact us and we will be happy to assist.
By email: [email protected], By phone: +972-52-2769773, +972-3-5507155.
The above is only general information and does not replace legal advice which is usually necessary before taking legal proceedings.