Being a responsible seller pays

Happy couple holding for sale and sold signs

It always pays to be a responsible seller, especially in a Malta real estate market where the Seller is depended on so much.  This much I realised recently when I was talking to a friend about a property we had purchased some years ago, and whose previous owner remains one of our most reliable contacts. This friend commented how often-times, a property seller may well become your most resourceful and valuable assistant in getting you settled quicker in your new home. 

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Green Fingers for your Malta property?: written by Marika Azzopardi

When you first walked into your new Malta property, you were faced with a bare paved back yard. It could have been a bare terrace, or a bare patio. Whatever sort of outdoor space your piece of real estate in Malta could boast of, was very outdoor but also very bare. Glum predicament, and although the Malta real estate agent tooted about it and its potential, now that you’ve bought it, you still have to find a way of arousing that potential. If you don’t exactly have green fingers, then you will need some practical advise on the easy way around getting it revamped.

First consider how large your given space is. Then determine what you want to do in it. If its small size fluctuates somewhere between that of a spare bedroom and a bathroom, then you are probably just hoping for enough elbow space in which to stretch out and gasp in some fresh air. But don’t lose heart – even the pokiest outdoor space can be totally transformed if you only put your mind to it.

  1. Clear up the space from any rubbish in the corners and take stock of the character of the place. Does it have high walls all around? Does it have a balcony which overlooks a lovely sight or one which overlooks more brick and mortar? Does it lead anywhere else?
  2. Is the outdoor space very sunny, semi-shaded or very shaded? This will determine the kind of plants you will need to include when you start off your greening list.
  3. Decide on a colour scheme. You might fancy terracotta walls or whitewash, or a primary colour like blue. You might decide to have some sort of mosaic detail on one wall or perhaps just leave the walls in natural stone and decorate with the greenery. One of the most exciting walls I have seen was a whitewashed backyard wall carrying an impressive collection of terracotta sun plaques.
  4. For those who are faced with four bare walls, the good news is that bare walls are excellent for climbing plants. These can be helped in their climbing by the addition of pretty wooden or plastic trellises that can be easily attached to the wall. If you seek the advice at a reliable nursery, you will be able to get a fast-growing plant which potentially also produces flowers, such as the white stephanotis. Using this plant against a terracotta coloured wall is great for visual impact.
  5. Choose succulents such as the Paddle Plant or the Sempervivum for sunny areas. These grow so easily in Mediterranean Malta. If you manage to get cuttings of varied succulents from the neighbours, just leave each cutting sitting on a ledge to dry in the sun, and once the cut-off stem has dried out completely, plant in the soil and water sparingly. You can plant multiple cuttings in one trough or large round pot, to eventually get a lovely crowded effect. Succulents grow with minimal care and thrive best in sunny places which offer just some dose of shade during the day.
  6. Get hold of geraniums. Geraniums, both regal and not, will grow brilliantly and thrive where there is sun. Don’t try to plant them in shady places – they will just wilt away.
  7. For shadier places choose simple things like the Asparagus Fern, Flowering Begonias, Spider Plants or Umbrella Grass. The latter loves having its tootsies immersed in water.
  8. Choosing pots that complement your idea of a haven. If you’re after a modern look – choose elegant stream-lined shapes and bold colours. If you’re after a more country-fairy look, choose natural terracotta and rounder shapes. For the classical look try porcelain pot holders. Always put saucers beneath the pots as Maltese summers are very dry and water must be conserved as long as possible. Once the rain starts, turn the saucer upside down and put the pot on it like a pedestal.

Adapt garden furniture according to your space. A hammock can be hung from two sturdy hooks on either side of the yard; a small round garden table and a couple of chairs; a wooden bench in one corner. Try wind chimes, plaques, festoons, hanging flowering pot plants and coloured cushions to make the transformation complete. 

Redesigning or nuturing your backyard/terrace will not only benefit your well being but will also add to the value of your Malta property, especially if it is flourishing during the time that you are selling your property in Malta.  A buyer would definately appreciate what they see and won’t get a bad impression if your were to leave it bare.

Marika Azzopardi is a freelance writer and journalist. A frequent contributor to national English language papers and magazines, she writes about a bevy of topics including art, people and life in general. She is also the author of children’s books and short stories, delving into adult fiction from time to time.

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Buying your first property in Malta

Buying a property is one of the most important decisions of your life. It combines your personal hopes and dreams with wanting what’s best for you and your family. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy a trouble-free journey to your new home.

Figure out how much you can spend

If you start shopping for homes without knowing how much you can spend, you will not only waste time looking at the wrong homes, but you may ultimately be disappointed at what you can actually afford. So take a good look at your financial situation and speak with your bank manager to determine how much you can afford.  This will minimize the fear of being rejected for a home loan when the opportunity arises. 

Many mistakenly purchase expensive homes, and can barely afford the payments. Avoid becoming “house broke.” Ideally, loan payments should be no higher than 35% of your total monthly income. This way, you can comfortably pay your mortgage and care for other household expenses.

Make a Wish List

Given your price range, start writing down the things you’d like in a house: number of bedrooms, garage, views etc. Prioritize each item as either a “must have” or “would like to have” so you can determine what is most important and which items you are comfortable sacrificing. Try to be realistic! Decide on the type of property. Do you want a modern apartment or a house of character? What locations are you ready to  consider?

Choose a Real Estate Agent in Malta

Do you have the time, energy, sources of information, and market knowledge to find the right property in Malta for you? That’s why it’s in your best interest to choose an experienced real estate agent  in Malta who listens to and understands your needs. Having a skilled agent on your side can help you avoid making costly mistakes, especially if it’s your first time buying a home. A real estate agent will:

     Give you a wider choice by showing you a large selection of properties

     Explain all the procedures and expenses involved in buying a property

     Negotiate the right price for you

     Suggest a reputable notary

     Keep you informed as new properties come onto the market

 Remember… a skilled and knowledgeable real estate agent will save you time and money.

The “Red Shoes” Experience

Women will relate to this. Say, you need a new pair of red shoes. At the first shoe store, you find a fabulous pair of red shoes. You try them on. They fit perfectly. Priced right, too. Do you buy them? Of course not! You go to every other store in Sliema trying on red shoes until you are ready to drop from exhaustion. Then you return to the first store and buy those red shoes. Do not shop for a home this way. When you find the perfect home, buy it.

Begin the House Hunting!

Now comes the fun part. But don’t try or expect to view 25 properties per day! Although it’s physically possible to do so, your brain will be overload and you probably will not remember specific details about any of them. An experienced estate agent will probably show you 10 of the best properties on the market. If none of these meet your expectations, the agent will analyze your feedback and prepare a new list. When viewing properties:

     Always bring a digital camera

     Take notes about the pros and cons of every property that you see

     Pay attention to the home’s surroundings. Are the views guaranteed? Do you feel comfortable with the neighborhood? What is next door?

     Immediately after leaving, rate each home on a scale of 1 to 10

     Never focus on the problems. Focus on the possibilities.

View Top Choices a Second Time

After touring homes for a few days, you will probably instinctively know which one or two homes you would like to buy. Avoid making snap decisions. Ask to see these properties again. You will see them with different eyes and notice elements that were overlooked the first go-around.

A key question to ask during your second visit is how long the house has been on the market. The amount of time will give you an idea of how flexible the owner is on price. If the house has been on the market for a month, the owner isn’t going to be very flexible. If it has been on the market for a year, flexibility will definitely exist.

Noise is another big issue to consider. If you are serious about the property, make sure to drive by during the evening and weekends.

In the euphoria of buying a property, practical issues can be missed. A big one is traffic. Specifically, what is the commute like between the house and your place of work? If you don’t have a car, how far is the house from the village square, the shops and the bus stage?

A Final Word

Once you have found your dream home it’s time to put a serious offer. The estate agent will probably do all the negotiations for you. It’s human nature to try to strike a deal, but if your offer is not accepted and it seems to be priced correctly, consider buying it at the full asking price rather then risking losing the property altogether.

Get your home inspected by an experienced architect who will impartially check the structural condition and verify all the necessary MEPA permits.  After all, it will give you the peace of mind of knowing what condition the home is truly in. Remember, there will always be another house to come along. So even if you miss one due to your cautious approach, another home will be right around the corner.

Common Mistakes

     Imagine the property vacant. Don’t be swayed by beautiful furniture… it usually leaves with the owner!

     Make sure you have enough funds to finish and furnish the property especially if it’s still in shell-form or unconverted state.

     Keep in mind the closing costs before you sign including the stamp duty and notary fees.

     Carefully consider your income level and living expenses. Take into account future considerations such as getting married, having children, etc.

·           Your dream home is certainly worth a sacrifice but don’t mortgage your entire future for it.

     If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist. All promises and discussions are to be in writing. Don’t make any assumptions or believe any assurances.

The Biggest Mistake of All

”We didn’t buy. We were afraid of making a mistake”. Don’t let worries overwhelm your ambitions. If you have an opportunity grabs it! Remember… dreams move on if you wait too long!

Mr. Cauchi is a property consultant with Re/Max Gozo, specializing in residential sales and property management.  (Mob: 9945-9426 / Email:

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Real Estate tips from RE/MAX Tigne, Malta


Buying a home is an exciting experience, however at times it can be overwhelming and extremely stressful.  The perfect situation would be if there was someone you can count on to help you through it all, someone with the right experience, specialized in the field, to totally guide you through the entire process.  

When looking to purchase your new home, the ideal situation would be, to be able to count on someone you can relay on with a back ground of extensive experience, attitude and professionalism. At RE/MAX our tailor made services will help you identify the area you want to live in and provide you with the possibility of finding you the perfect property to suite your requirements/ Budget at the best possible market value price.

To make it easier for you, you can also search for properties in Malta through our user friendly website to see if there is a property that suits your needs.


When it come to selling your property, we at RE/MAX Malta have the right background, reputation, locally and also overseas with 35 years of experience in the field.

Having one of the largest databases of property in Malta is certainly a major attraction to all buyers and sellers.

We create tailor-made marketing plans for individual properties together with current market analyses, distinguishing it from other properties.  Part of our marketing also includes advertising in the newspaper, posting your property on the Internet, holding an open house, promoting it at property fairs locally and abroad, and more. We also provide you with a free market valuation, and attempt to guide our sellers of the current market value of their property with realistic time frames of the market. Our objective is to sell a home at the best price possible in the shortest amount of time, and we work with you in order to achieve that.

If you market your property in Malta at the correct market value price the chances of a quick sale is very probable if the right buyer is approached, on the other hand if your property is overpriced by a 10% increase the chances of a sale are of 60%, if your property is 15% over market value you then have a 40% chance of selling, and finally if your property is 20% ( or higher )  over its calculated value you have 0% chance of selling it.

 A Few tips that can help boost your property’s first impression.

1.     Ensure your home is clean, tidy and presentable

2.     Tidy up outdoor areas, Gardens/terraces/yards

3.     Fix leaky faucets

4.     Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to

        purple or pink walls

5.     Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no

6.     Make your bathrooms sparkle

7.     Clean off everything on kitchen counters.


8.     During the day – open windows and let the sun into your home, light is essential

9.     In the evening – turn on all your lights both inside and outside

10.    Get rid of clutter. Clean out your closets, garage and basement

Written by:

Mark Micallef, Branch Manager

RE/MAX Tigne

52/1, Tigne Seafront,



Office: +356 2265 0000

Mobile: +356 99423070



website: RE/MAX Tigne page

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