In recent years, more and more foreigners have been buying property in Israel. It doesn’t take long to set up the transaction and buyers can expect to spend about a month to conclude the sale.

How it works in Israel:

1. Find a property. A local real estate agency offers properties that match your preferences as a buyer. The city, district and your budget are the main things to take into account. Once you have found one or more options that interest you, the agency will arrange viewings. Don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent any questions about the property, payment procedures or potential discounts.

2. Sign the preliminary sales contract and pay the deposit. Once you have chosen the property, your agency will set up a preliminary sales contract and you will make a down payment amounting to 10% of the purchase price.

3. Do the due diligence. Get help from a lawyer to facilitate the process and organise the paperwork. No matter how you choose to proceed, alone or with legal support, you will need to assemble the relevant documentation proving that all your taxes have been paid to date and that you are not in arrears on any mortgage payments. Once this has been filed it with the fiscal authorities, it will take another 20–45 days to set up the final sales contract.

4. Make the final payment and sign the sales contract. Once all your paperwork is in order and the final contract is ready, you can pay the remaining instalment in either one lump sum or by increments of 10–20%. The payment procedure will be determined by your final sales contract. Expect to pay a purchase tax of 0–7% depending on the price of your property. There are tax rebates for immigrants and those who are buying their first property in Israel.

5. Register your property and pay your taxes. Now that you have bought the property, you need to apply to the Land Registry Office (Tabu) for your property rights certificate. You can also apply for your certificate once you have paid 40% of the purchase price and 15% income tax. Your lawyer can take care of this for you with the state authorities. The Land Registration Office levies a charge of maximum $250 (NIS 1,000) for their services. Properties purchased before 7 November 2001 are charged 7.5% tax. No tax is charged if the seller is a licensed developer. It takes 1–4 months to transfer the property rights after the sales contract has been signed.