More crooked dealings in real estate market

Bernard Raskin, regional owner of Remax Israel, urged real estate agencies to crack down on the "chapperim" operating in the market in an effort to fight flourishing black market activity.

By SHARON WROBEL
November 20, 2007 08:28
2 minute read.

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Bernard Raskin, regional owner of Remax Israel, urged real estate agencies on Monday to crack down on the "chapperim" operating in the market in an effort to fight flourishing black market activity, which he estimated is involved in between 40 percent to 50% of all deals on the country's real estate sector. "With much regret we are seeing a growing phenomenon of "chapperim" (grabber in Yiddish) operating in the real estate agency market, who are taking commissions under the table without paying taxes encouraging black market activity, which I estimate happens in 40 to 50% of all deals," Raskin said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. "Nobody wants to talk openly about this issue because it's an embarrassing phenomenon, which reflects badly on and damages the reputation of the real estate agency market. But I believe that we can't fight this phenomenon alone." Remax Israel, which has 76 branches and 500 agents in Israel, reported that revenues in 2007 increased 21% compared with last year, while the number of transactions rose by 18% during the same period. "I am bullish about a booming real estate market in 2008, there is huge demand and not enough to sell on the market," Raskin said. "Similar to 2007, we expect property prices to go up by between 10% to 30% in the popular areas. While booming sales are good news for the market, Raskin appealed to all agencies to implement high standards in fighting black market activity, including ethical codes of conduct and investigative accounting procedures, and advised consumers to work only with real estate agency chains and licensed reputable agents who operate in accordance with the law. "To my dismay, I found that many so-called real estate agents are truly amateurs and operate without a license saying it was not necessary in Israel to have one," a veteran US real estate broker, and recent immigrant to Israel, told the Post. "For the past four months, I have been seeking to rent property in the areas of Haifa and Caesarea through real estate agencies but every time I turn around I am being messed with. In one deal I was pushed into paying the commission fee in cash, the real estate agent didn't want to give me a receipt and when the transaction fell through at the last moment the same agent refused to pay back the fee. Only after several phone threats was the fee returned." The former US real estate broker, who did not want to be named, was concerned that other house-seeking olim are being ripped off by the common phrase "this is how we do things in Israel." "Clearly something needs to be done, for example formal education and testing for all real estate agents, because I can see how new olim can easily be taken to the cleaners by the large number of unscrupulous real estate agents here in Israel," he said. Hanan Schlesinger, CEO of Anglo-Saxon, said that his real estate agency chain has a full electronic reporting system to record all deals and a fierce internal accounting system, making it virtually impossible for agents to engage in any black market activity. "I believe that black market activity occurs mainly among privately-owned and small real estate brokers and less among real estate agency chains, but I don't believe that the black market figure, which is difficult to measure, is that high," he said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
April 30, 2015
Teva doubles down on Mylan, despite rejection

By GLOBES, NIV ELIS