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I wished to technically get a full day’s work in this morning – in my company this means that I need to work at least 6 hours (I will make up the last 3 hours at some other time) – so I started at 5am as I needed to leave at 11am. Joelle went to work as normal and just happened to have one of her busiest mornings in the last 6 months. I guess that most paediatricians hate working just after the weather has changed.

In case you haven’t guessed in the last couple of days we have gone from unseasonably hot weather to just unseasonably warm weather with a hint of rain if you search very hard. Mind you any rain is good.

So, on this clement afternoon we went to our lawyers office for the culmination of 8 months of house hunting. We were planning to sign the contract and pay our initial deposit on our house.

This house is on Rechov Hagitit, for those that know the area, overlooking the wadi between Klei Shir and 07 in Ma’ale Adumim. The property has a built in granny flat for my mum and will give us the space to have guests, a bedroom for each kid (again – I still am not sure how we have survived the boys killing each other on a daily basis at 5 in the morning over the last 4 years), a study, a utility room and possibly a playroom. Please notice the priority! A room for guests. We have missed being able to have a flow of our friends and family spending shabbatot and holidays with us whenever they wished. Please G-d this will change soon. You are cordially invited.

OK. So back to the lawyers. We got there 10 minutes early – and rang the bell for 5 of those until the door was finally opened. We went in and quickly found out that this wasn’t going to be a 2 minute signing and then we could carry on with our afternoon.

We started off with some chit-chat: the seller’s lawyer heard that we were going to be completely renovating the property – so in true Israeli style he gave us the name of his kablan (contractor) who is obviously excellent (and a relative of his!)

The final nuts and bolts of the contract hadn’t been decided! So now, instead of us getting the home on March 1st – nope, sorry, that was changed to April 1st. We are now getting it on April 15th. But, that is erev Pesach. So how about May 1st when the last tenants leave? No they may delay…. The final date is up to the 15th May. With 7 days leeway just in case the tenants need to extend a little! But we may get it earlier…. In other words we still do not know when we will be getting the property. Just when the seller will be breaking the contract!

The next thing to discuss was the payments. We had agreed that we would pay a deposit (no amount had been specified) and then the final amount was to be paid on the day of completion –  but as there is now 3 months between signing and completion the seller wanted the majority of the money earlier as he needs it to buy another property. SO the lawyers started quibbling about when to pay the instalments and how much each payment will be. We just sat there through 30 minutes of discussions that was basically irrelevant to us as we have already arranged our finances and they will be available when needed. And now we had to agree to two kitchens being removed and a doorway being opened up in the property to avoid extra taxes. If this wasn’t done both us and the seller would be charged tax on 3 properties. Unsurprisingly we agreed!

Next they asked for Teudat Zehut and I gave over my driving license which is always accepted instead. The driving license is not allowed in this situation. As I didn’t have my Teudat Zehut on me  I said I would scan it and email it back when we got home (Our lawyer is a close friend of the family – as is normal in Israel). Then they asked for the bankers cheque for the amount of money that hadn’t been agreed upon before we got to the lawyers! We didn’t have one (or a cheque book) as nobody told us to bring cash with us – we assumed that we could arrange to transfer the money as is the norm in the UK. We agreed that we would leave the lawyers after signing and walk over to our bank just 5 minutes away – Mercantile on Rechov Yaffo – and send the money.

Now we eventually started signing the paperwork. We all had to initial each page of the full contract 5 times. It took at least 15 minutes.

Eventually after 90 minutes we left and ran to the bank, made the transfer and ran back to our car.

We drove to Talpiot and gave Toyota our 4 year old pick up and picked up Joelle’s new car – a yaris hybrid. I said that we had a big afternoon!

We eventually managed to get Joelle back to work – only 20 minutes late, but thankfully the patients were late too! I wonder if they also had as busy an afternoon.

The next step is to pay all extraneous fees and taxes and confirm with the interior designer that we have signed and we are going ahead with the renovations! We then will be adding her to the list of people that will be draining our bank account over the next few exciting (and expensive) months. Stay tuned…