You’re purchasing real estate in Israel and want to make the most of your investment; or, you are already a homeowner and wondering whether it’s worth the trouble to add on an extra room.
You live in an old, run down building and you want more space, or to add more value to the property so you can trade up.
In all of these cases, you have at your disposal the biggest investment most people will make their wholes lives—a piece of Eretz Yisrael—and you’re looking to make the most of it that you can—for your personal comfort and for your economic future.
Will it be worth it? How do you do it? Where do you start? Who pays for it?
Here are some of the most common ways of increasing the value of your property in Israel today.
1. Permitting for construction
Every piece of land has a governing Town Plan (TABA) that defines its building rights—how much can be built on that piece of land. If your current property hasn’t utilized all of the available building rights, then with a Permit procedure at your local authority, you can build the maximum on your land or add on to your existing building.
An architect can help you to analyse what rights you have, how much you’ve used, and how much is left. Remember that building costs per square meter are significantly lower than selling prices per square meter, so whatever you put into your home, you’re going to increase the property value by much more.
2. Town Plan Change
If you’ve already utilized all of the building rights available to you, you can apply for a change in the TABA to increase your rights. This process can take longer, but can greatly increase the area of your building and therefore the value. Sometimes this is the only way to increase the size (and value) of your home or asset, and it’s well worth the effort. Even the increased rights, without actually building the extension, are worth money. A built extension doubly so.
Over the years I’ve helped many homeowners, developers, and contractors add to the value of the land they started off with. It’s important to understand the rules, the planning policies of the relevant bodies, and the process, but once you do, this can be the major key to increasing value.
3. TAMA 38
If you live in an older building made up of several apartments, you can utilize the National Master Plan for prevention of earthquake damage (TAMA 38) to significantly increase the size and value of your apartments. You accomplish this by having your architect apply for a permit (without the need for a change in Town Plan) that allows each apartment to add 25sqm, and the whole building to add between one to two and a half floors. Those floors can be used by the original residents, or sold off to pay for the improvements in the original building, or a combination of the two.
This process is most often done by a developer who will take on the costs of improving the existing apartments in return for the profits of selling the new floors. However, it can also be done by the residents themselves, with the appropriate professional accompaniment.
I’m currently working on such a project in Baka in Jerusalem, where the residents will both end up with larger apartments as well as a share in the profits of the sale of the upper floors. In the end, the property value is increased; the structure is protected against earthquakes and the building is rejuvenated (adding elevators, balconies, parking, storerooms etc.) without the residents having to pay for the constructions costs out of pocket.
If the land value is high enough, it’s often worth using the second article of the Master Plan (TAMA 38/2), which allows demolishing the original building entirely and rebuilding with the building rights as above.
This is a government incentive plan that is starting to make huge changes, including in Jerusalem, with the major benefit of being exempted from paying betterment tax.
4. Urban Renewal
If your neighborhood is older, the apartments are run down and not large enough for your current needs, and the infrastructure is out of date, then perhaps the time has come for Urban Renewal (Pinui Binui). This is somewhat of a national priority right now. Older buildings are demolished and rebuilt allowing residents to upgrade their homes to larger apartments in newer buildings, with parking and storage rooms attached, without incurring personal costs.
I’m currently involved in two such plans in Jerusalem, having received initial permission from the committee for urban renewal, and moving forward matching up the needs and desires of the residents, the municipality and the developer. The catalyst for starting such a project can come from the city, a developer who’s identified a good location, or from the residents themselves.
Could any of these approaches be right for you?
ABOUT MILES HARTOG
Miles was born and raised in Sydney, Australia with a short spell in the UK. He started his architecture degree in Sydney and completed it in Israel at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Miles has been working in the field of architecture in Israel and overseas since 1992. His 25 years of experience has provided Miles with an extremely broad palette for design and problem solving which he now apples to every project large or small.
Miles can be reached at 054-436-4492 or through his websitewww.mileshartog.com