From the ground up: Four W’s and an H

Answering the four W’s and the H isn’t always easy, especially when the buyer has limited information and experience in the market.

January 27, 2014 23:58
3 minute read.
Israeli gold bullion coins

Israel gold bullion coins money wealth economy 370. (photo credit: Eli Gross/Keren Or)

When entering the real estate market, many buyers don’t have a clear idea or plan on the direction they want to go. At best, this leads to much wasted time and, at worst, to aggravation and a failed deal. Giving a little more time to the four W’s and an H will make the process of buying a property easier and more successful. So what are these key letters that will help make your search for a home a success?


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Who is looking to buy? Is it the “buyer” himself or is he representing a third party? Is it a parent buying for a child or a child looking for an elderly parent? Many “buyers” don’t disclose that they are merely looking on behalf of a friend or investor and often don’t have a clear picture of the needs of those they are representing, which leads us to the second “W.”


What requirements does the property need to meet? Low floor? Renovated? Size? Number of bathrooms? Terrace? These and a myriad of other factors, some of which may be negotiable and some not must be considered. By defining the “what” as clearly as possible, the buyer can focus on the right properties and not spend precious time touring unsuitable apartments.


“Where” is the twin question to “what.” A focused, serious buyer will have an idea of what areas might be of interest to him and where he definitely does not want to be. Proximity to family, synagogues, schools, commercial centers and public transportation all influence the “where,” as does the nature of the community and the area. Obviously this question is more important to a home buyer than to an investor, which brings us to the final “W.”


Why is the buyer looking to buy? Is he an investor looking for a good return? A homeowner looking to trade up or down? Or an immigrant buying his first home in Israel? Often the lines are blurred – an investor may have plans to use the apartment for himself sometime in the future or a first-time buyer may be looking for something with a good return should he later trade up and turn his first home into an investment property. Of the four W’s, “why” influences the answers to the other three more than the reverse.

However, all four W’s are moot if the buyer hasn’t answered the lonely “H.”


How will the purchase be made? Does the buyer have his own capital or does he need a mortgage? If so, how much will the banks allow? Is a family member helping to finance the deal and when will the funds be available.

Many buyers answer all four W’s and even find their dream property only to fall over the “H.” It is vital to know the “how” before starting the process. The “big H” also influences the answers to all the other questions and usually can be answered relatively easily with a visit to a bank or mortgage broker.

Answering the four W’s and the H isn’t always easy, especially when the buyer has limited information and experience in the market. Here, a good broker will walk you through each question and help build a clear picture of the final goal and, when necessary, arrange to meet with third-party experts so that at the end of the day the buying process becomes easy and painless and, dare we say, even fun. So the four W’s and the H are joined by an F – the right way to buy a property in Israel.

Raphi Bloch is manager of the Re/Max Vision real estate agency in Jerusalem. He previously worked for the Finance Ministry.

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