Assessing Your Property Needs
Everyone’s needs are different, so ultimately, you’re the one that’s going to have to figure this out. That’s not to say that we can’t help you with that process. Here are some ideas for you to think about when buying an apartment in Jerusalem.
Choosing a location is a very personal decision and there are a number of things to consider.
As with any city, each neighbourhood has its own character and amenities. For more information on the neighbourhoods that we serve, please visit our Neighbourhood Guides page.
For families with kids, being in a specific school catchment area can be a high priority. Your agent will be able to point you in the right direction of what schools are in the area you’re looking at (if you aren’t already aware).
Regardless of whether you drive, take public transportation or walk, getting to the places that you need to go is an important consideration for any purchase. Taking the time to check your daily commute or how easy it is to get to the shops on Google Maps is an important step - it might not be a critical part of your decision, but it can highlight potential issues that would be difficult to fix once you’ve bought.
If the property is intended to be used as your primary home, you are able to make an assessment based on your current needs - you know what you have now and whether or not that’s the right amount of space. When you’re renting, it’s relatively easy to make a significant changes on a more frequent basis. In Jerusalem, most people sign a lease for one year at a time with options to extend.
All of the additional costs of buying a property to live in mean that it’s just not economical to move on a regular basis. Generally, once you buy you’re committing to live there for 5 to 10 years and a lot can happen in that time period. Obviously we can’t predict the future, but you can make some good assumptions - are you planning on having (extra) children? will you want space for a home office or studio? do you like to host parties? Will you want outdoor space for entertaining or a pet? There are many more possibilities and while there’s no right answer, if you take the time to imagine what your life might be like in 10 years time, you should be close enough to make a good assessment.
Vacation or holiday homes have different requirements to your permanent home. You may want to have guests to stay over or host large meals. Storage may also be a consideration as you may want to store certain seasonal items out of the way. For many, a sukkah balcony large enough for your family or entertaining is crucial in the decision making process. Also important to consider is that if in the longer term this property might become your primary residence should you decide to move to the country on a more permanent basis in the long term.
As an investment property, you care less about your needs but more about the factors that will affect the value of your investment in 5-10 years time. Things like location are unlikely to change over time - the high end neighbourhoods are unlikely to decline significantly over that period (barring any significant unexpected events).
Your choice of property here will reflect your investment goals - potential rental income vs capital growth. In Jerusalem, rental yields tend to be low, but capital growth has historically been high.
You also have the opportunity to take advantage of circumstances that a residential buyer would not want or be able to - for example with the planned light rail extensions, many buyers would be put off by the potential disruption and noise caused by the planned construction. In these areas we would expect to see prices suppressed temporarily before an upswing in value post completion.
As with all things in life, timing has huge importance with a house purchase. If you have the luxury of time when moving, you have a huge advantage in terms of negotiation and not being forced to take something less than ideal because you have to move within a specific timeframe. On the flip side, if you are under time pressure, you may end up paying a penalty, particularly if the other side knows that and can afford to back you into a corner. Your agent should be able to help and advise you with this.
Things to consider also regarding timing is that the process takes a certain amount of time, particularly in the second hand market. Not only do you have to get through the offer and negotiation to get to the price, but then will come the lawyer’s phase, any inspections that you want to carry out and then the move itself.
The sellers may also have a timeframe that restricts your timetable in that they may not want to move out until a certain date or until they have found somewhere which could be several months away. If it’s an important factor for you, make sure to discuss it with your agent so that they are aware of your needs and can help you speed up the process where possible.