Finding living accommodations in Jerusalem is very tricky and very expensive. We initially rented a two bedroom apartment in Rechavia through a Craigslist ad I found in the comfort of my home in America. When we got here we found things we liked about the location and things we didn't like about the location and decided to find a different place to live.
Logan spent several days and evenings searching online and cold calling property managers trying to setup viewing appointments of apartments all over town.
We were torn on where we wanted to settle. We liked Nachlaot a lot. The old winding streets and homes echoed the Old City, while neighboring the shuk. We wanted a garden apartment, a bathtub and two bedrooms. There was exactly one apartment in Nachlaot that matched our criteria.
We toured the apartment shocked at how expensive the rent was relative to the dilapidated state of the structure, the mess of things the owner left everywhere and the enormous dumpster directly in front of the building stinking up a major section of the abode. We walked away disappointed.
We decided to widen our search and look at apartments along Jerusalem's light rail. We found an apartment within our price range and within walking distance of one of the light rail stops and it was a horror story (as my mother would say). We found another apartment in the city central, brand new and perfect. Once all the fees were added in I could not in good conscience rent out the place while living off of savings.
Apartments in Jerusalem are EXPENSIVE.
The rental market is nuts. When you rent a place you pay rent, typically a full month's rent to the property manager, property taxes and HOA fees. Once all of those fees add up you are easily paying hundreds of dollars per month over the rental price you see on the ad. Most of the properties we saw were investment vehicles. Jerusalem is not a big place. I wonder what percentage of apartments are owned by investors looking to make a profit in the real estate market.
I can't blame people for wanting to make money but I really feel for locals who have to compete with Westerners with Western paychecks who can afford the crazy rental prices. Incomes in Israel are much lower when compared with incomes in Western countries.
Renting here is really a crazy process. You have to repeatedly call property managers to get anyone to pick up the phone. And when they do pick up the phone they say, "I will call you back," and then they never call you back. You actually have to call them again and hope they will speak with you. No matter what you are discussing, if someone's cellphone rings, they will pick up their phone while you stand there in mid-sentence.
Also, property managers do not bother dressing up for you. Gym shoes and sloppy clothes are perfectly acceptable. Bicycles are preferred methods of transportation.
Everyone has kids. One kid, five kids, doesn't matter and they all love kids. One property manager gave us his sister's phone number because they have kids and we would like them and we should get ourselves invited over there for Shabbat.
When a place is listed as two bedrooms it's really one bedroom and a living room. One place was listed as two bedrooms, it was actually one bedroom and the owner said he really wants to list it as 2.5 bedrooms because it's the size of a 2.5 bedroom apartment. The rental market and Israel as a whole feels like a crazy place where everyone makes up their own rules.
However there is one rule most of the units we saw followed. All apartment furniture, walls and floors must be white. Again, it's a horror story. I have two kids, one who is bat shit crazy and has a fetish for covering everything within his reach with food.
Oh and garden apartment does not mean you don't have any stairs. The garden apartment we are currently renting has two flight of stairs. It doesn't make any sense. Then again, nothing in Israel seems to make any sense anyway.
Meet the Blogger!
I'm a mom. A writer. A lover of good fantasy. A proponent of nursing when possible. A birth advocate. I am absolutely horrible at keeping my house clean or the dishes washed or the laundry done. I strongly believe in women having a positive birth. When we start to respect women's rights to birth the way they want, we can start to treat women as equal people in this world.
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