One unique practice that is found almost exclusively in Israel and which is uncommon in other countries is that real estate lawyers can (and often do) represent both the apartment buyer and seller. The major advantages that the parties enjoy with this type of arrangement are that the legal costs are shared and any negotiations are smoothened and simplified. On the downside, a legal representative who seeks to be fair to both sides may not be able to give the buyer the best deal possible during negotiations; therefore it is better – whenever possible – for the buyer to get their own representation.

Memorandum of Understanding

In many cases, brokers and sellers of apartments and other real estate will try to push the buyer into signing ‘Zichron Devarim,’ a kind of Memorandum of Understanding that commits the parties to the deal and locks it in, pending final contract. It is important for apartment buyers to avoid signing such ‘pre-agreements’ without consulting an attorney because they are put down in writing and thus legally binding.

Sales Contract

A sales contract is the finalized legal document that contains the details of the agreement between the buyer and seller. It is a document that is negotiated by the lawyers for the two sides. Once the seller has put pen to paper on a sales contract, it means that they have accepted a contractual obligation to the buyer to transfer the apartment. However, finalizing the transfer can be a lengthy process that could take several months to complete, so the lawyer for the buyer is required to file a notice of the impending sale of the property.