Your pilot trip is one of the most important steps in preparing for Aliyah. It’s generally recommended to make the trip within four to eight months before the actual move. See this link from Nefesh b’Nefesh for some great suggestions on Planning a Pilot Trip.
During what will most-likely be a weeklong pilot trip, it is important to research potential communities, school options, cultural/recreational opportunities, employment and whatever else may be important to you. This time in Israel is certainly not a vacation and it can be quite stressful.
On the somewhat overwhelming Pilot Trip To-Do List, many include finding the “perfect” house/apartment rental. That is a lot of pressure to add to an already very busy week, so Step One may be to redefine your goal to simply “finding an available rental the suits our needs.”
Pay Attention to the Details
In the rush (and it always is a rush) to get the rental contract signed while on the pilot trip, many future Olim miss some important nuances:
While “location, location, location” is the most important factor in real estate decisions, there’s actually a lot more to consider. Before signing the rental contract, understand the various school catchment areas, locations of the nearest synagogue that suit your taste and tradition, location of health care facilities, location of parks and other recreational activities and of local stores. Don’t forget to consider public transportation.
Other relevant information to ask includes the amounts for arnona and vaad habayit, the condition of the property upon receiving it, including thorough cleaning, painting and extermination and of course, renewal options. Make sure to ask where the garbage room is, and take the time to see it. (Is it too far or even possibly too near? Is it kept tidy?) Take your time to review the lease conditions and do not feel pressured to sign until you fully understand the entire document. It is definitely advisable to have a reputable real estate attorney review the contract prior to signing.
In Israel, When Things Don’t Work Out
What happens when best laid plans don’t work out? During your trip, you may have found the right community, good schools, and even employment leads. However, it’s entirely possible that you could not find the right rental for when you arrive. Most summer rentals go on the market after Passover, so it is entirely possible that you may have missed out on great rentals. You can plan to return for another week in the hopes of finding something, or you can ask a friend to be on the lookout for you and help find the right property. Real estate agents could be a good source, especially if you find an agent you can trust to look out for your best interest. Generally, real estate agents are compensated by the renter in the amount of one month’s rent. The rental market in Israel is tight, so be prepared to move quickly when you find something appropriate. (Tip – consider giving someone you know and trust legal power of attorney to sign documents in your absence.)
Tamarim Can Help
Tamarim Concierge can help you find your new home in Israel. (Of course, we do that!) We scour the local real estate market and, when a listing becomes available, we quickly contact the landlord and schedule a visit. We take photos and document our observations and recommendations, sending our clients detailed reports. Because we’re not real estate agents and take no commission on rental agreements, our clients can rest assured that we only look out for their best interests. So make the most of your pilot trip and let us help you find your home in Israel, even after your trip has ended.