Buying or selling real estate in Israel can be a stressful experience in the best of situations. Here are some ways your real estate lawyer can take away the legal headaches.
- Discover What You Need
Your lawyer should help you ask the right questions and get the answers you need. For instance, if you’re buying a second-hand apartment your lawyer will need to know when you want to take possession, what kind of payment terms would be best for you, how you are financing the purchase, what items you are asking the sellers to leave in the apartment, whether you have agreed on the price, if you are planning to make structural changes to the apartment and more.
- Explain the Process
One of the greatest stress reducers is the ability to anticipate the future. Whether you are buying or selling a property, your real estate lawyer should explain the entire legal process to you in language that is easy to understand. The explanation should include details about the mortgage process such as how to freeze, transfer or lift your mortgage. You should also receive a list of expenses to include in your budget such as legal fees, purchase tax, and fees for the mortgage, registration, assessor, engineer and real estate agent where applicable.
- Check Your Personal Legal Status
Your real estate attorney should ask you for confirmation of your legal status in Israel. Whether you are a foreign resident, new immigrant or Israeli citizen may affect your rights to a mortgage and to a partial exemption from purchase tax.If you are selling an apartment your attorney should check your status with regard to capital gains tax. You need to know whether you are entitled to an exemption from capital gains tax and, if not, how much tax you may be required to pay. Your lawyer should also check how this transaction may impact any future real estate transactions you may already know about in terms of their tax liability.
- Check the Property Status
Your real estate attorney should do a title search to verify the present ownership of the property and determine whether there are any outstanding mortgages, liens or other encumbrances. After checking all the relevant documentation in the title search your lawyer should be able to tell you if there are any issues that might impede the transaction in any way. Your lawyer should also check the issue of betterment tax and how it affects you.
- Negotiate the Contract
Your lawyer should also represent you in contract negotiations. A lawyer who is also a qualified and experienced mediator is often at an advantage when negotiating terms which are in your best interests while, at the same time, fair to both sides in the transaction.Once final terms have been agreed, your lawyer will review the final draft and prepare or review all the necessary paperwork. Your lawyer should be present at the contract signing to deal with any last-minute issues and to ensure that both parties to the contract sign all the relevant documents.
- Deal with the Paperwork
After the contract is signed your real estate attorney should submit notice of the transaction to the tax authorities and obtain final confirmation of payment or exemption from any tax. Without this confirmation, the permanent transfer of rights may be delayed. If you are the purchaser, your lawyer should also register notice of the transaction with the land registry or relevant authority to protect your rights until the final registration of the property in your name.During the transaction your lawyer should help you navigate the mountain of legal paperwork whether governmental or otherwise. For example, your mortgage bank may request certain documents and your lawyer should provide those documents as necessary, along with explanations of why they are needed.
At the end of the transaction your lawyer should make sure that the transfer of rights in the land registry or any other relevant authority takes place. This is a critical step in the process if you are the purchaser. If the property is not registered in your name you may experience problems with your mortgage bank if you want to mortgage or sell the property in the future.
- Troubleshoot Problems
Your lawyer should troubleshoot any problems at any stage in the process. If contractual obligations are not being met, your lawyer should be able to handle any disputes quickly and with the least amount of aggravation. You should be able to rely on your attorney to anticipate and minimize any and all issues so that your real estate transaction is completed smoothly.
With the right attorney, experienced in the finer points of real estate law, buying or selling property in Israel should be plain sailing.