Before you think about signing a lease for your first apartment in Israel, here are seven essential questions you MUST ask. Make sure you know the answers before you put pen to paper.
- Can a realtor help me? Maybe yes, maybe no. In some areas, a realtor for rentals may be hard (like outside the centre of the country). If you do find one, they generally charge a fee of one month’s rent. We couldn’t find a realtor, but in the end, I found our place easily on “Yad Shtayim,” one big website for secondhand goods and real estate. I used Google Translate for terms and descriptions I didn’t understand and Google Maps to help me understand where each apartment was.
- Who owns the apartment? Unlike in the U.S. and Canada, buildings aren't usually centrally owned, so each apartment in a building has a different owner. Most buildings have a "Vaad HaBayit" (Building Committee) to make sure central expenses get paid and central issues (like painting and cleaning) are dealt with. Ask, because this is extra on top of your rent.
- Are appliances included? Usually not. Unfurnished apartments don't include appliances like washer, fridge, stove. You will probably need to buy these when you move into your first apartment in Israel (measure first!!!).