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Challenge for Overseas Buyers: Apartment Registration

My relatives recently sold their apartment, and the contract signing was delayed by over a month because their identification numbers on the apartment registration were from expired passports, which had since been replaced by new passports with new passport numbers.

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2016-12-25 22:25:22
Jerusalem’s Streets: Rechov Hakablan

 Rav Ovadia Yosef lecturing PM Netanyahu. Photo: Ilia Yefimovich/Flash 90

Rechov Hakablan has become one of Jerusalem’s most famous streets, because half of the Knesset’s Shas party members live along this block. The magnet that attracted them was Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l who lived in a modest apartment on the street. 

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2016-11-30 14:02:12
Bnei Brak: Where Past and Present Meet

 Gastronomical delights of Bnei Brak. Photo: Pini

Bnei Brak is Israel’s largest city comprised primarily of ultra-Orthodox Jews. Located a mere four miles east of Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak has become somewhat of a tourist attraction as it offers a glimpse into a distant world or, as some call it, “a shtetl straight out of Eastern Europe circa 1800.”

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2016-11-03 23:53:35
Buying On Paper: When to “Just Say No”

I recently wrote an article called “Buying On Paper: A Success Story” explaining the pros and cons of purchasing an apartment “on paper” or, as the British say, “off plan.” Let’s discuss when one should steer clear of not-yet-built apartment projects.

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2016-10-05 16:13:24
Construction Project Manager: Luxury or Necessity?

 Talbieh, Jerusalem (Photo: Gedaliah Borvick)

My client wanted to purchase an apartment in a particular building in Jerusalem’s lovely Talbieh community but had no interest in doing renovations. “Find me a renovated 3-bedroom apartment in this building and I’ll purchase it immediately,” was his directive. We canvassed the entire building numerous times, but unfortunately no such apartment came onto the market for two years.  Finally, a 3-bedroom unit became available for sale but, alas, it required a complete renovation. I called the client and explained that an apartment with lovely views just came onto the market at a fair price but it needed work. His initial response was that the deal was not for him.

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2016-09-15 11:48:51
Jerusalem’s Streets – Stories Behind the Names

 Menachem Ussishkin Street. (Photo: Shmuel Bar-Am)

My brother-in-law and I have a fun sightseeing ritual which we have been performing for the past number of years. Every time he visits Israel, we grab a few hours – and a few books about Jerusalem’s neighborhoods and streets – and off we trek to another section of Jerusalem to learn about the people whom the streets were named after. 

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2016-08-23 19:33:19
Buying On Paper: A Success Story

 Savyoney Arnona (Photo: Gedaliah Borvick)

Four years ago, we were approached by Africa-Israel, one of the largest developers in Israel, to do pre-sales in Savyoney Arnona, a new 200-unit project located in the Arnona section of Jerusalem. 

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2016-08-07 17:24:35
Bat Yam: A Gentrification Case Study

 One of Bat Yam's Many Beautiful Beaches. Photo: TouristIsrael.com

A little over ten years ago, while attending a real estate event in Manhattan, a significant developer pulled me aside and handed me a paper written by an Ivy League professor. The professor and his students in the urban planning class went on a field trip to Israel to study Bat Yam, a rundown suburb of Tel Aviv and Yaffo situated along the Mediterranean Sea, and created a comprehensive plan to overhaul this tired city into a thriving metropolis.

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2016-06-26 14:52:13
Baka: Evolution and Revolution

 Charming Baka. Photo: Courtesy of Bustan Baka.

Baka is an upscale, family-oriented community located in southern Jerusalem, which has come a long way since its humble beginnings. 

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2016-05-01 21:09:34
Distinctive Properties: Unique Challenges and Opportunities

 The Hasten House. Photo: Jordan Polevoy

Sometimes a unique property becomes available for sale, which requires much thought and creativity to craft the most appropriate marketing program. Such a situation recently arose when we were approached to sell the magnificent Hasten House on Uziel Street in Bayit Vegan, the only mansion in the entire neighborhood.

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2016-04-17 10:37:55
TAMA 38: Protecting Against Earthquakes

 TAMA 38: Before and After. (Photo: Yishai Breslauer)

In 2005 the Ministry of the Interior approved TAMA 38, a plan which created financial incentives to encourage the private sector to bankroll the cost of strengthening older buildings to withstand earthquakes. 

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2016-03-30 14:00:55
A Purchase Tax Loophole

 Efrat, located in Gush Etzion. (Photo: www.ajewishisrael.com)

Imagine my interest when my colleague Joe Offenbacher, the maven of the Hashmonaim market, shared with me snippets from an enlightening conversation with Yariv Aharon, a highly regarded real estate and zoning lawyer. The gist of that discussion was that there is an acquisition tax loophole that benefits overseas buyers.

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2016-03-02 12:40:56
Netanya’s Charm

 Concert in the Square. (Photo: Netanya Municipality)

Netanya is an enchanting city that boasts spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and offers the slower pace and charm of a coastal town. Established almost ninety years ago, Netanya is currently undergoing a major expansion and renaissance.

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2016-02-16 18:46:03
Double Taxation on Ghost Apartments

 "Ghost Apartments" in Mamilla, Jerusalem. Courtesy: Wiki Commons

Over the past half decade, there has been talk to double the property taxes (called “arnona”) on the estimated 10,000 “ghost apartments” or secondary residences in Jerusalem. A ghost apartment is defined as a property that sits vacant for at least nine months a year. These ghost apartments have understandably generated resentment from local residents who claim that these empty units reduce the city’s already limited housing supply. Two years ago, the Knesset Finance Committee approved this law and in January 2016, the Jerusalem Municipality began to implement this law.

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2016-01-17 16:32:25
The Evolution of Machaneh Yehudah

How does a sleepy community become a hot residential destination? Sometimes the addition of a new train station can turn a town into an “up and coming” bedroom community of a thriving metropolis. Frequently the creation of a new business hub or a new mall lures residents to the city. Interestingly, sometimes the rejuvenation of an iconic landmark can help energize a community – as we have witnessed in Nachlaot, which houses the historic Shuk Machaneh Yehudah.

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2016-01-11 22:14:36

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