There are countless websites, resources, and tools for networking and finding property in Israel, it sometimes seems unnecessary to pay an agent to do the work. In some cases this is true; however, good real estate agents in Israel can be invaluable for the following reasons:
– Save time and energy by narrowing down the search for relevant homes in Israel;
– Have access to properties in Israel that may not be publicized on the Internet or in newspapers;
– Work b’shituf pe’ula (in cooperation) with other agents so you don’t have to work with multiple agents;
– Help overcome language and cultural differences between buyer and seller;
– Provide additional background information on properties and their surrounding area;
– Assist in negotiations on price and terms.
When dealing with Israel real estate, in order to act as a broker and charge for services, agents must pass a licensing examination. Before working with a real estate agent in Israel, you can check that they are indeed licensed by the Registrar of Real Estate Agents.
The commission is paid on both sides of the transaction (i.e. by buyer and seller). In the case of a sale/purchase, most real estate agents in Israel charge both parties 2% of the property price; but often this is negotiable and can be bargained down to 1.5% or lower. For rentals in Israel, it is customary to charge one month’s rent where the lease is for one year or longer. In the case of a short-term lease, agents usually charge 10% of the total amount paid during the term of the lease. In all cases, Value Added Tax (VAT) is added to the commission (17%, as of 1.1.21). Full payment of the commission is due upon the signing of a binding agreement to purchase/lease a property in Israel.
Agents are required by law to obtain a signed document from their clients setting forth the amount of the agreed commission. Also included in this agreement should be the personal and contact information of both client and agent as well as a list of properties shown and dates of viewings. I always advise my clients to make a note of all properties viewed and keep a copy of such commission agreements. If you sign an agreement on the same property in Israel with more than one agent, you may find yourself liable to pay commission more than once!
It is important not to rely solely on the technical or legal information that agents provide you with but rather to seek pertinent information regarding the property from relevant professionals such as lawyers, engineers, and architects.