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Author Archive Danny Shwedel

ByDanny Shwedel

My Mission Statement

My 5 goals when overseeing your construction project:

  1. I want you to continue your daily routine while I look after your extra workload
  2. I want your project to be executed to your complete satisfaction.
  3. I strive to ensure that the contractor works to his highest possible standard.
  4. I aim for you to get the best product and the best value for your money.
  5. My hope is to make your life easier, I want you to be able to relax while I take care of everything that needs dealing with.


ByDanny Shwedel

5 Tips To Help You Finish Your Appartment Before It Finishes You Off

When waiting for your new apartment to be ready, you might assume that once the shell of the building is finished-it is almost time to move in.


Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. The finishes generally take twice as long as the shell.


The finishes involve choosing every internal feature of your home. From the tiles, the sanitary fixtures, the lighting, the color of the paint, to name a few.

The finishes can be very taxing, physically, emotionally and financially.


So how can you finish-up your building project, calmly, smoothly, and with less grey hairs by the end?


First we must acknowledge one unavoidable fact.


Building or renovating always comes with a degree of stress.


Be it the frustration, when the contractor does not understand what you want (or does not want to understand) or chasing the contractor to fulfill your requests, or even when the budget is tight and you can’t afford the features you would like.


Knowing and accepting that the road to your new home is not always smooth, actually makes it smoother.


However there are also practical ways to alleviate the stresses of the building process.


Here are 5 tips to help you finish your building project before it finishes you off


Find an interior designer who you trust

Your designer should share your taste and style, and actually listen to you. Make sure you hire someone who is available and able to invest time into your project. You want to avoid someone who is juggling too many jobs at once. Your contract should state the number of times he/she will accompany you to the various stores to make your choices. Often interior designers will have pre-agreements with various stores to ensure you get a better deal. Make the most of it.

Hire a personal supervisor

There will always be issues and errors along the way but you can save yourself the aggravation and heartache by having someone else handle the problems instead of you.

A supervisor with experience, can differentiate between a real problem and a minor problem that can be easily resolved.

I was recently in an apartment where they had just finished the interior walls. I noticed that the builder sliced a wall down the middle, knocking half a wall down. I called over the builder to ask for an explanation and it turned out that he had cut a wall in the wrong apartment. Aggravation: YES, Problem: not really I simply explained to him how to rebuild the wall.


Watch your expense

Building /renovating can get pricey. However, it need not finish you off financially. Unfortunately I often come across people have overspent on the finishes, and find themselves in enormous debts

A while ago I met someone who sadly, was selling his freshly renovated house. It was a beautiful home but he had overspent and now could not repay the banks.

How can this be avoided?

We have a very simple rule.

Ensure you have the basic infrastructure, before splurging on the luxuries. You can put in basic features for now, and at a later date, when you do have the means, you can upgrade.

It is worth investing in the infrastructure now, since you can’t do it later (or if you do, it will cost you several times more) – but luxuries, can wait.


A client of mine was building an apartment and wanted to install underfloor heating. The cost of the system that he wanted was 70,000 NIS, which was beyond his budget at this stage. We advised him to install the infrastructure (i.e. the piping under the tiles) now and in a year or two when he can afford it he can put the rest of the system in place. He heeded the advice, and it cost them only 14,000 NIS to prepare the pipes, and he will be able to install the rest later.


Educate yourself

The finishing stage of the construction involves a lot of decision making. To make informed and wise decisions you need to understand what your options are, and how the process works.

Search online, use tools like pinterest, look at pictures, read up about products, get educated and familiar with the entire building project. Speak to people, hear what they have to say, the more informed you are the better your project will turn out.


Have fun 

As frustrating as construction projects might be, try to enjoy the journey towards building your home in Israel. Ride the ups and downs of the process, but don’t let the stress and aggravation follow you into your new house.


With the right support and guidance when needed, you can even enjoy the experience!


We specialize in helping clients find and buy apartments in new projects in Israel, holding their hand along the entire process from purchase to receiving the keys. Get in touch now and see how we can help you with your new apartment in Israel!

Written in conjunction with

ByDanny Shwedel

Buying an apartment in Israel?

Are you looking to buy a property at a reasonable price, without paying an extortionate agent fee?

Below I share some firsthand cases of buyers, who closely avoided purchasing overpriced apartments, and managed to significantly reduce the agent fees.

Follow for some helpful tips on how to get the best price when buying a property.

Case #1

My wife and I were interested in buying an apartment. The asking price was 2.1M NIS. The agent insisted that she had already bargained with the owner. She maintained that there was no way the seller would reduce the price.

I personally paid the owner a visit, withhout informing the agent. I told the owner that the price was a little high, and asked if she was flexible. Ultimately she agreed to sell the apartment for 1.8M-a difference of 300,000NIS.

The agent receives around 2% of the sale price. In this case, 6,000 NIS. If the agent was receiving a percentage from the seller as well, the agent fee would have reached 12, 000 NIS. The agent therefore has little motivation to negotiate a better price.

Tip #1 Do not always leave the negotiation up to the agent. If you have a personal relationship with the him/her and you are sure they intend to get you the best deal, then it may be safe to do so, otherwise send a friend, your lawyer, or go personally to negotiate. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save.

Case #2

A relative of mine approached an agent to find an apartment to buy. He was only willing to pay a certain sum as the agent fee. This was considerably lower than the asking rate. Since this property had been on the market for a while, the agent decided it was better to sell the apartment for a lower fee, than not to sell at all. They closed on the apartment in three weeks, the agent made her money, with minimal work, and all parties were happy.

Tip #2 The agent fee is negotiable. Inform the agent in advance that you will only pay 1-1.5% of the property price. Many agents will agree to this. Make sure the fee is written on any paper you are asked to sign. Remember, once anything is signed, there is no more room for negotiation, negotiating takes place BEFORE you see the apartment, NOT AFTER.

Case #3

I accompanied a close friend of mine to see an apartment that he was interested in buying. The agent told him the property was a 120 duplex. They were ready to sign a ‘memorandum of understanding’ (zichron devarim). The owner presented a copy of the “taba,” the official government description of the apartment. On the “taba” the apartment was listed  only as 95 square meters.
I asked the agent what happened to the other 25 He explained that there was permission to build a balcony of 20 Later it became apparent, that there was no permission, only a request in the city hall, permission was “on the way.”
He continued to explain how and why the steps in the apartment also somehow were included, therefore totaling 120 I insisted that one does not pay full value for something that there is no permission to build. Had my friend taken a good lawyer, he would have caught this almost immediately.

Tip #3 With the help of a good lawyer, check out the apartment very well BEFORE you sign any kind of agreement. Even signing a ‘memorandum of understanding’ will already make you responsible to pay large sums of money.

Tip #4 Make sure you understand exactly what is included in the sale price. If there is permission to build, let the seller show you the signed copy of the permission. If permission is pending, take your own architect to check it out. (I have seen cases when the “permission” had already expired, been refused or was just wishful thinking) If appliances/furniture are included in the sale, this should be included in the document of sale.

Tip #5 Signing a ‘memorandum of understanding’ is a legal document that can hold you responsible for a lot of money. NEVER sign this document without YOUR lawyer giving you the green light. You cannot rely on the sellers lawyer to have your interests as his priority.  I have witnessed agents pushing clients to sign this document, insisting that it is just to hold the apartment until the client makes a final decision. This is false. If you decide to pull out, after signing this document, you can be liable for a lot of money.

Tip #6 A price of an apartment is based on the “legal” size of the apartment. Many apartments (especially in Israel) have illegal additions. If it is illegal the city can pull it down anytime, even after many years) The illegal additions do not have the same value as the legal sections of the apartment. In addition, balconies and service areas do not have the same value as primary areas of the apartment.

In summary: 5 short pieces of advice, to make sure you get the best deal on your property in Israel.

1. Try negotiating the price personally with the seller, although you can’t leave the agent out of the negotiations you can make sure you are getting the best deal by double checking it.

2. Agree on an agent fee before seeing the apartment, and try to negotiate a lower fee than the typical 2%.

3. Illegal additions to an apartment do not have the same value as the legal parts. Balconies and service areas also are valued less than primary areas. Make sure the asking price matches the legal dimensions of the apartment.

4. Make sure you understand what extras are included in the sale price. Do not pay for “building permission” If there is no written permission.

5. Do not sign a “zichron dvarim” or any other agreement until you have the go ahead from your lawyer.

For more advice or if you have a question then be in touch. I will be happy to answer any questions for you.

ByDanny Shwedel

Need advice with your building project?

Are you renovating an existing property? Or buying an apartment on paper.

For advice on your building project contact Tzvi 

On our blog, you will find Tzvi’s latest advice and experience in managing construction projects in Israel.