These days, more than ever, owning an apartment in Israel offers a dependable haven providing comfort and security for generations to come. For many, owning a second home in Israel also serves to strengthens cultural and traditional ties.
GP Investments, the leading personalized real estate consultancy in Israel, ushers foreign residents along every step of the journey towards making the dream of a home in Israel a reality.
With over a decade's experience in the high-end real estate market, Einav Gefen-Pundak, founder of GP Investments identified the growing need for a professional and transparent full-service agency, helping investors from abroad to purchase property in Israel.
Einav established GPI and with it a forum of experts who accompany the investor, offering comprehensive consultations and guidance from start to finish.
Annette Frommer, an acclaimed interior designer currently working on one of the most talked-about projects in the city of Jerusalem and with a host of GPI projects under her belt speaks with Einav about the process from her perspective.
Q - Annette, who are the foreign investors buying apartments in Israel?
In a nutshell, experienced, discerning investors who expect meticulous interior detailing, translated in accordance to their style of living and timetable. The clients I work with expect exceptional quality and flawless execution. In other words, these clients wish to transfer their ‘headache’ to a trusted person, so they can simply arrive to their new home.
Q - How do you build this level of trust with clients?
Transparency! I update the client on every aspect of the process relevant to their levels of interest. A flawless service first begins with me having to understand the clients' desires and the level of involvement they expect. My skills lie in being unfazed and proficient in the complex realities of working with contractors and suppliers in Israel whilst also assuming full responsibility for the project. Striking this balance is key to building trust.
Q –I assume not everyone wants to be updated all the time, how do you adapt yourself?
From the very beginning, I get to know the clients' expectations, tailoring a bespoke level of reporting. The entire process from planning the design and selecting the materials and suppliers is accompanied by very detailed, itemized lists that not only allow me to keep track but easily share every development with the client. There
are those buyers who like to receive site photographs daily, and
others who like to simply arrive when all is absolutely ready.
Q – So there are clients who give you carte-blanche to carry out their vision with little involvement beyond that?
Absolutely. I'm still yet to meet a specific client who gave me the honor of designing his impressive 750 sqm Jerusalem penthouse. It was an exciting challenge, successfully nailing his personal taste without truly knowing him or even having met him. When he finally arrived with his family to his completed penthouse, I was delighted to learn we had succeeded in realizing his vision.
Q – And for those who do want to be involved, how do you navigate the process around Covid-19?
Post-COVID, we are relying on technology instead of face-to-face meetings and in-person visits to the showrooms. We have adapted without losing the personal touch, professionalism, or fun. Post-COVID, I'd say there are more international clients looking for properties in Israel (either with the view of eventually emigrating here or simply looking for a quiet place they can come to until everything blows over).
In all cases, my job is to ensure that the property fits the experience of a hotel, with the comfort of home and to always adapt to both the client and the situation.
Q – How significant is the design aspect to these buyers?
These homeowners treat their property in Israel as works of art. They take vacations in these homes, host guests, do business, and party. These are discerning clients who want to enjoy the most beautiful, unique home possible, which is where I come in.
Q –How do you ensure a unique and distinct design story?
Many times clients see something I have done and ask for the same feature or style.
While it's often tempting and always easier to copy/paste an idea, this is not an option. Instead, I get to know more about the client's preferences and how they want to use the space so we can arrive at a more personalized and unique expression of who they are.
Q –What concerns these buyers the most?
Based abroad, they are primarily concerned with being deceived. Often they have heard negative stories about builders and contractors who didn't deliver what was promised. So yes, being deceived on quality and price.
Q – Would you agree their concerns are justified?
Definitely, and that's where the need for a company like GPI steps in. Understanding the client long before a contract is even drawn up and having access to the skill set of the GPI Consulting Board takes the worry out of all aspects of doing business in Israel, from abroad. From the design perspective, having an interior designer who understands the business accompanying the entire process and who knows the best craftsmen ensures good quality, honest charges, and a pleasurable process.
Q – On average, how much time does the entire process take?
An entire apartment can take one year to complete. The goal is usually to have it ready for Sukkoth or Passover. Sometimes I even help in organizing the kitchenware and laying out the bed linens so all the client needs to do is arrive, hopefully with a smile.
Q –What are your top tips for international buyers showing an initial interest
Don’t compromise on your selection of professionals or making sure your needs
have been fully understood.
Clients working with GP Investments have the full team of professionals they'll ever need - from tax advisors and attorneys to interior designers etc. so they can enjoy peace of mind and assurance from day one.