'Home-buyers often don't read the fine print - and lose out'

Anglo-Saxon's Ronen Shitrit "10 commandments" prospective home-buyers should observe.

Ronen Shitrit 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Ronen Shitrit 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Buyers of real estate - particularly apartments - tend not to read what can be termed the fine print, according to Ronen Shitrit, head of new projects at Anglo Saxon. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Shitrit explained that "most people buying a new TV or refrigerator will [look into all the] details, even though they do not have the remotest idea what the technology is all about. Not so when buying a house or an apartment." In most cases, the buyers do not examine the details - but they should, because for many of them, buying a house or an apartment will probably be the biggest transaction they make. With real estate prices ranging from NIS 800,000 to NIS 1.5 million, a mortgage could last a lifetime. "In my 15 years of experience, most buyers of real estate take a superficial view of what they are buying, and this can cause problems in the future," says Shitrit. Shitrit has compiled a list of the "10 commandments" prospective home-buyers should observe: 1. "I strongly advise home-buyers to demand the necessary guarantees [that are] their right according to law. By my reckoning, only 70 percent of those buying a dwelling from a new project ask and get a guarantee; 30% do not. The collapse of the Heftsiba Construction and Development company is ample proof of why such a guarantee is essential." 2. "Most home-buyers have a hard time negotiating the prices of the apartment they want to buy. But in most cases, it is a waste of energy. Instead of negotiating the price of the apartment or house, they should be negotiating the cost of the property. If one can negotiate an inexpensive mortgage, the savings involved are substantial - and if on top of that, one can negotiate an additional credit from the developer, this can be more important and lucrative than a 5% discount." 3. "Never make a distinction between a property which is being bought as an investment and a property which is being bought as a residence. In both cases the appreciation in value is the same, but buyers of property for investment purposes are usually influenced by the short-term yield and less by the long-term increase in value." 4. "In real estate, location is everything, but a good location is a different location for different buyers. Young couples should overcome the temptation to buy a small apartment in an expensive area in, say, North Tel Aviv, because in no time at all children will come along and they will have to move to a larger apartment, probably in the suburbs. For such a hypothetical young couple, it means a lot of financial problems, because moving entails costs of at least 15% of the cost of the new apartment." 5. "The same holds true for the over-45 [crowd] - those couples whose children have flown the paternal nest. They have a nice apartment in the center of town, but they decide to buy a large penthouse on the outskirts because of the relative low price. This is a mistake, because this hypothetical middle-aged couple is a heavy consumer of the services which are within walking distance of the center of town, such as theaters, concert halls, etc. In most cases, these middle-aged couples come back to roost. And the expense of moving twice in a couple of years is great." 6. "Many buyers disregard the inner design of an apartment, and all they are interested in is the number of rooms and the floor area. But the inner design or layout of the apartment is important, because it should be adapted to the needs of the buyer - a separate en suite parents wing, a kitchen which is not part of the living room, a WC which is separate from the bathroom, a large terrace." 7. "The location of an apartment with regard to social and communal services is also important when choosing a home. A family with small children will want a home which is near a kindergarten or elementary school and parks and places where children can play... A religious family will want a location which is near a synagogue or school. All are interested in a location which is near a shopping [or] commercial center." 8. "At these times of rising gas prices, it is important to find a home which is near one's place of work. This holds true even for families in which both parents have a car, because then the gas bill can be prohibitive." 9. "Location should also be adapted to the person's socioeconomic standing. Lawyers will want to live in an environment which is inhabited by people they can socialize with, and [will want] their children [to] attend schools in which they will find children [similar to themselves]." 10. "Decorating one's new home is also important because an apartment is also a home and in consequence should be made to feel like a home. And that is what decoration is all about."