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I have had a personal request to compare the different roles of UK and Israeli lawyers when purchasing a home. I am not a lawyer, but I have now worked with lawyers in both countries when purchasing a property and have my own opinion on this. This is shown below.

I will start with the similarities – lawyers of both countries are required to protect the interests of their clients when purchasing a property as well as drafting a contract that both purchaser and seller agree to.

The difference between the lawyers in both countries is the practical/legal definition of protecting a client’s interests. In the UK the lawyers frequently spend months obtaining searches to make sure the property has been paid for and is legal for sale, that all changes to the property have the required approvals, obtaining warranties on any extensions and proof that all gas appliances are legally and correctly installed, doing ground searches for placement of utilities, obtaining maps from the land registry confirming the borders of the property and who owns which fences, creating a list of objects within the home that come with the property, working with the land registry to check and then change the property ownership, payments of taxes to the government, managing the finances of the purchase by looking after deposits and managing transfer of all monies from purchaser to seller.

In Israel, the lawyer does check that the person selling the property can legally sell it (although I have heard that not all lawyers are quite as rigorous in this as mine was), works as an intermediary to arrange payments between the two parties (in the uk you pay a deposit and then pay the final amount at purchase – here there are regular payments to the seller throughout the whole time of the contract) – but the lawyer does not handle any of the monies themselves. The money is transferred directly between the purchaser and seller.  The lawyer also notifies the seller of the tax that has to be paid on the property within 50 days of signing the contact and where/how to do this. I have been told that the lawyer will also (eventually) register the property with the correct land ownership departments – but I have not got to that stage yet. I am sure that there are other steps – but they were transparent to me, if there are any Israeli lawyers out there then please correct me so that I can update this page correctly.

In the last blog, I said that I would clarify the payments that I have made so far (or am aware of) on the purchase just to help notify you of the costs involved:

1. Lawyer. The cost is arranged between you and the lawyer – I am not aware of the standard fees, but make sure you use a lawyer recommended by family or friends.

2. Estate Agent. The estate agent charges 2% of the purchase price of the property plus vat for his services from both the purchaser and seller. The estate agent may work for one or both of these parties. If you are friendly with your estate agent you will be able to see properties before they are advertised. This is what happened with us on this property.

3.Owner. The owner takes money for the property from the purchaser at signing, during the contract and at the purchase time. From what I have been told, the standard deposit at signing is 20% – 30 %. We actually only paid about 17% now, with about 65% to be paid in mid-March and the last amount on the day of purchase.

4. Tax. The amount of tax can be calculated at this website. It is due within 50 days of signing the contract on the purchase of the property.

5. Interior Designer. This is obviously not a requirement of purchasing a property in Israel but we have a lot of work to do and we will need as much help as possible. From talking to designers, it seems that the average cost appears to be about 250NIS/hour or you can arrange a fixed price. I have arranged with Tamar (our interior designer) an actual fixed price, another designer we spoke to wanted a percentage of how much we spent on the work plus on the materials purchased.

As an aside, whilst writing the previous sentence I was phoned by the Kablan the seller’s lawyer mentioned (see last post) trying to get the renovation work!

That’s all for now folks,

We will add an update next week once things (maybe) are starting to progress.


Adam & Joelle.