By Shia Getter
What I’m about to say will make some people very uncomfortable, especially those people who have purchased property with a real-estate broker involved.
Who hasn’t told a real-estate broker, “Tell them I’ll give them up to $1,700,000, but really I’ll go up to $1,850,000.” The numbers might be different in your case, but when a broker asks you what the true maximum price you are willing to pay is, you are likely to answer, because you feel that the broker is on your team.
Here’s breaking news: he’s not! In order to make the deal happen, and to make the seller happy, it’s more than likely that he will tell the seller “They say a million seven, but I can get them up to 1.850.”
After all, he wants to make a deal happen . . . because unless it does, he’s working for nothing.
Buying real estate sounds complicated, especially when compared to a relatively “easy” thing to do like getting on a bus from Malchei Yisrael Street to the Kosel even if you don’t speak a word of Hebrew. However, once you’ve been bitten by the “buyer’s bug” and you seriously start looking around at what is available, you suddenly become aware of the flood of information and the sheer number of people with whom you’ll need to interact in order to make a transaction happen—people from all walks of life and various backgrounds and cultures.
When buying real estate in a new country, a very important weapon to know about is Buyer’s Brokerage. This is a service which gifts you, the buyer, with power in your arsenal. It is someone whose interests are totally aligned with your own. It means that his earnings are not commission based—that he is not affiliated with the seller, or the lawyer, or the bank. It protects you and guides you. As someone who has completed hundreds if not thousands of real-estate transactions, a buyer’s broker helps ensure that you stay grounded at all times and don’t get pressured or pushed around by people trying to take advantage of the “greenhorns” who are clueless to what is and is not traditional and acceptable. And while it may seem expensive, in the $5000-7000 range, the savings you can realize are often several times that amount.
Someone has to keep an eye out for problems in the property—and the transaction’s important points. Without someone on top of it, things can fall between the cracks of the nine (or often even more!) different people involved in a purchase; the buyer, seller, real-estate broker(s), mortgage broker, bankers, lawyer(s), architect, inspector, bank(s) and inspection company.
Whether it is the inspection company that needs to undercover the nicely repainted mold problems, or if there is enough water pressure in the apartment to enjoy a normal shower (This depends on the height of the dira and the water table in the area) or many other things buyers fail to think about, there are hundreds of important points that can be skipped over, but which cause aggravation and headaches later.
It’s also important someone checks (a “mashgiach” of sorts) that the attorney verifies that this apartment belongs to the seller, and that the apartment is in accordance with the zoning; making sure the attorney checks that the entire apartment you see is actually the apartment that is legally registered (if a portion of it is built on land not properly registered as a legal part of the apartment, it can in fact devalue the apartment. Worse yet, it can sometimes be condemned, to be torn down by the city!), structuring a payment schedule according to the needs of the buyer and with the cooperation of the mortgage broker, or amending the contract to include the things that were discovered by the inspection company.
If a buyer’s broker has done other deals with the same developer, they can also ensure that your contract will include the extra goodies negotiated by other buyers, which you’d never know about when going in alone.
One of the reasons people come to my office to represent them is so that there is someone they trust to makes sure that all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed, letting them sleep at night knowing they are in good hands.
I will be in New York November 19–22. I’d be happy to meet with you if you are looking to buy or better manage your property in Israel. Simply email my assistant, Sarah, at email@example.com or call her at 718-473-3950 ext 8.