Most property in Israel is sold through real estate agents. In theory, you can even purchase property in Israel from abroad. However, it goes without saying that buying a property that you have never seen or checked in person might not be the wisest decision of your life.
If possible, you should visit Israel to see prospective properties. As a first step, you can use online databases to become familiar with the market prices and then contact a real estate agent. Knowing what you want in terms of property types, areas and prices will help you when you contact an agent and explain what you're looking for.
Once you arrive in Israel, your agent will be able to show you available properties. However, many properties stay on the market for a short period of time only, so properties you were considering online might be sold by the time you arrive in Israel.
Most real estate agents in Israel are reliable. If you are unsure about an agent, ask to see their professional history and credentials. Real estate agents must be certified by the Israeli government to conduct business, and examinations for this license are rigorous.
Many English-speaking foreigners buy property in Israel, and many real estate agents speak English. Real estate agencies such as Re/max and Century 21 have branches in major Israeli cities. They employ English-speaking agents and list properties in English.
In addition to showing you prospective properties, agents will handle contracts and purchase procedures. A real estate agent's fees usually include a 2% commission on the price of your home, which is paid by the buyer.
Home in Israel are measured in two ways: gross area (bruto) and net living space (netto). Bruto includes the closet, cupboards, hallways, even stairs or elevator shafts. Netto includes living spaces and bedrooms and excludes bathrooms and kitchen space.
Undeveloped land is measured in dunams. One dunam is equal to 1,000 square metres.