We are delighted to invite our friend and newest strategic partner Lyle Plocher, the Founder of Buy Property In Israel. Lyle is a successful entrepreneur and leading expert on the Israel Real Estate Market. At CurrencyTransfer.com, we are proud to be one of the world’s largest non-bank Shekel money transfer specialists. Our rapid growth is largely down to strong strategic alliances in the real estate community. Today, we’re delighted to announce the key CurrencyTransfer.com partnership with BPII, and invite Lyle to tell us his story, focusing on the growth of the hugely successful Israel Property Portal. Here is Lyle’s guide to those looking to buy their dream piece of Real Estate in Israel.
Tell us a little bit about Lyle Plocher
I’m a US Citizen, born in Denver, Colorado. I have spent the majority of my life in the Western half of the US. The majority of my adult working life has been spent in the Real Estate Sales field in three Western states of Oregon, California and Arizona.
What is Buy Property In Israel?
Buy Property In Israel, or BPII for short, is basically a Real Estate Portal with residential, commercial and land listings all over Israel, posted to the website by our Referral Real Estate Agents throughout Israel. It is a place where Jewish people from around the world can learn more about the basics of buying property in Israel and can be introduced to an English speaking Real Estate Agent actively working in the target market of their property search.
Why did you want to start the Israel Real Estate Portal, what problem were you looking to solve?
I first started visiting Israel in about 2002 if I remember correctly. It was during that visit that I started asking myself what it would take to someday move to Israel. Since the majority of my adult life had revolved around the real estate business, it seemed like continuing in that field would be the best way to provide for myself and my family. I wanted to create a business that would provide the quality of service that people from the US and other western countries were accustomed to. The years since that first trip have been spent establishing and maintaining relationships with English speaking Real Estate Agents throughout Israel and connecting prospective buyers from around the world with those Agents.
What trends are you seeing in the Israeli residential property market?
The most consistent trend over the years dating back to 2002 and before has been the ongoing increase in real estate prices in Israel. Some years, the increase has been dramatic and some years moderate but prices have continually gone up. Israel did not experience a real estate crash when many of the countries of the world did 8 or 9 years ago. The trend this past year or so has taken a slightly different twist, primarily because of government attempts to slow down the housing market. The Israeli government has made it more expensive for foreign buyers and local investors to enter the market or increase their holdings by increasing various taxes related to buying or holding property.
What is the best piece of advice to those looking to buy property in Israel?
For new immigrants, their decisions most often revolve around where there employment is going to be, so that narrows their choices. For investors, I think the wisest approach is to consider catering to the Tourists by purchasing an apartment that can be rented out for short term stays or to consider homes in the North of Israel that have additional units on the property, commonly referred to as Zimmers, which can be used as Bed and Breakfast type establishments. The government of Israel is committed to seeing population growth in both the Negev and the Galilee so those are areas that are worthy of consideration and they are markets that are much easier to enter since the prices there are still low relative to the major cities of Israel.
Is it easy for an Oleh Hadash /Foreign Resident to get a mortgage in Israel?
I’m not sure that easy is the best word for it, as it is involved, however, mortgages are routinely handed out to both new immigrants as well as foreign residents. New immigrants are able to borrow a greater percentage of the purchase price, perhaps as much as 75% whereas a foreign resident is usually limited to a mortgage of 50% of the value of the property.
How important is the role of a lawyer when buying a property in Israel?
Using a lawyer to assist in the purchase of property in Israel is absolutely critical. Attorneys perform a variety of functions for the buyer which not only include drafting the purchase agreement, but also checking the status of the property with the government and insuring that proper recording of the transaction is made in the government records. Attorneys typically charge in the range of 0.4-1% of the purchase price for their services.
Biggest tip for second home owners/first time buyers to deal with Israeli Real Estate Brokers?
First of all, before actually contacting a Real Estate Agent in Israel or inquiring about specific properties, I think it’s a good idea for prospective buyers to do a little research on the web about the buying process in Israel so they will know some of the questions to be asking and or certain things to watch out for. There are articles written on several websites with this kind of information. The Buy Property in Israel website is a good resource for this. One of the biggest things that a buyer should be aware of is the Commission Agreement that Agents will ask a buyer to sign. We have some very good information about the form buyers sign on our website, called the “Request for Real Estate Services”.
How much on top of the purchase price should a buyer in Israel factor in?
(e.g. agency fees, lawyers) – A buyer can expect to pay anywhere from 8% to 13% extra on top of the purchase price, depending on the actual price of the property, as Israel’s purchase tax is on a sliding scale. The Purchase Tax often changes so things could be different now that we are in 2017.
What lessons have you learned along the way in terms of starting Buy Property In Israel?
Although strides have been made over the last 20 years, the Real Estate Industry as a whole still has some catching up to do in order to mirror the sophistication of the Industry in the US. There is much improvement needed in the areas of ethics, agency representation for both buyers and sellers and the Israeli public needs to grasp the value of certain practices in the Industry such as “exclusive Seller Representation”. There aren’t any lessons that stand out in my mind but just an ongoing education of how things work in Israel.
Where do you see your Property Portal in 5 years time?
I would like to see the Industry move toward a nationwide Multiple Listing Service, much like you see in states in the US. It would be great to be a part of that. I see our Portal as a one stop site where buyers and sellers can get all the information and assistance they need to confidently carry out their real estate transactions. I will always strive to provide the best possible service to those who choose to utilize what we have to offer. I believe we will continue over the years to change with “the times” and continue to provide more and more valuable services.
About the author
Lyle Plocher is the Founder and Director of the Buy Property In Israel real estate portal. The Buy Property In Israel website provides a place for English speaking Jewish people from around the world to research the process of buying property in Israel and to connect with an English speaking Real Estate Agent in Israel. The website provides an extensive number of property Listings throughout the entire country and includes residential, commercial and land listings..