Bargain Hunting – Choosing Properties on a Shoe String

  • 26.November 2013
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190151-shopping-trolleyYou want to buy real estate in Malta – perhaps your first property, perhaps not. You most definitely cannot afford to spend too much and your budget is somewhat tight. As you skim through the property ads you probably resign yourself to the fact that you cannot afford to buy a property after all. However this may not be the case if you know how to look, what to look out for, and where.

Over recent years, property prices have spiked dramatically, stalling to accommodate the recession occasionally and are now sliding back up the scale. This is especially true in areas of the islands where property construction had boomed in a bid to accommodate the pre-recession frame of mind. Alternatively, prices have lowered in areas which may be considered as being unsuitable for investment. You have to tap into what others are not considering right now, what others have left aside, what others do not want and once you find it, you have to turn it around to make it feasible for you.  People will follow suit and before you know it, you may have just started a new trend.

One way of seeking out bargains when looking for real estate in Malta is to identify localities which you are interested in and actually taking to the streets to check out what the different neighbourhoods offer. Don’t overlook the back streets, the little alleys or the downtown areas. Arm yourself with pen and notebook. Watch out for the ‘For Sale’ notices that seem to have been stuck on property windows for quite a long time. On those houses or apartments where a myriad of estate agent notices are stuck, look out for the older and the newer of the lot and take note of both numbers. Call each one and see if the price at which the property is listed with either agency is the same. Chances are, you can find a lower price, which is the latest reconsidered price at which the property owner is willing to sell.

Long-standing unsold properties may indicate one or more of several things –

  1. the owner has put an unreasonably high price on this property and thus failed to find a buyer;
  2. the property is in need of substantial repairs;
  3. the property may have potential which is overlooked for the most banal reasons;
  4. the property has a ‘history’ to it;
  5. the estate agency unprofessionally failed to invest the right kind of energy to sell it;
  6. the property is being contended between two separating partners who are not agreeing on the price.

Then again, all of above reasons may also trigger off the acceptance of a lower price because…..

  1. the owner may be fed up of the wait;
  2. the owner may be willing to reduce the price to allow buyers to renovate;
  3. you may be the one buyer who can see the potential beyond the banality;
  4. the ‘history’ may actually excite you;
  5. the agency may be assigning the property to a fresh agent or want to reduce the number of properties pending on its books;
  6. the separating partners may be tired of warring.

Once you identify a few Malta real estate options which look promising, make appointments to view. Be prepared to take stock of the requirements needed to get each one back on track, and make your offer irrespective of the price the seller asks for. If the property has been on the market long enough, the seller might be willing to take on your offer. If not, keep searching. Be prepared to search long and hard and this means that not being in a rush to buy may be helpful.

Alternatively seek out a reputable estate agency. Make sure you put the agency clearly in the picture as to the limitations of your budget yet tell them what you can happily live without. Then let the agency search for you. Make sure you follow up with the agency by calling your assigned agent once a week to remind him/her that you are still waiting for the bargain property of your dreams. Tell him/her you are willing to dare; that you are willing to see every and any property he/she can show you; that you are prepared to make compromises. Chances are the compromises may work out to your benefit.

 

This article was written by Marika Azzopardi, 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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