You’re all set to buy a house – as a first time buyer in Malta. Well it needn’t be a house because you might not afford something that big just yet. Perhaps it will be a studio flat, a maisonette or a two bedroom apartment. And it might not have a view, nor be in a prime area, but hey, it’s going to be your first property in Malta and you want only the best. At least, the best you can afford.
There are some things to look out for when making a Malta real estate purchase and chances are few people will tell you about them… until after you’re done. So, just after you’ve toured that property which seems to be just right, here are some eye-openers to keep in mind and to double-check on.
– Check out the neighbourhood. You may have been taken to view the property at a particular time of day. And it seemed ever so peaceful – the perfect neighbourhood. But is it like that at other times of the day and during other times of the week? If you’ve visited on a midweek afternoon, perhaps you’ve overlooked the fact that the house overlooks a Sunday morning market, a school yard, a wood merchants’ warehouse.
– Check out the building from the outside, from the back and sides. The front of many properties in Malta looks pretty neat, then you turn round the corner and you find there could be problems with that building site leaning against your would-be property – is the work on-going; could it cause damage to the property’s structure?
– Roofs and ceilings. Check them out in the company of a trustworthy architect who can advise on how sound a roof is and whether the ceiling of upper or lower storey rooms requires any major overhaul.
– Ask the same architect to check out building permits for upcoming or ongoing works up and down the street. Some pending projects may drastically change your perspective apart from blocking your sea or country view, and blotting out the very reason why you’re thinking of buying that property in Malta rather than another one.
– If you are envisaging major structural changes, check out the original plans to see whether previous changes could have jeopardised what you’re aiming for.
– If a property has been closed for quite some time, check out those water taps, flush those toilets, check the water tanks on the roof. When water pipes have been off-service for a considerably long time, there may be the need to get them professionally checked out to see what sort of expenses are involved to get them going again.
– Check the baths in bathrooms. Cracked bath tub enamelling may indicate that you will need to change the bath before you try to use it.
– If you’re agreeing on the purchase of a property in Malta, be clear as to what the previous owners are actually leaving behind and what not. Home owners have been known to depart carrying off TV antennas and aerials, washing lines, water tanks, telephones….even the oven from the fitted kitchen. Much to the new owners’ dismay.
– Parking space – if you and your partner both have cars and don’t intend to purchase parking space, check that the neighbourhood has plenty of parking slots available – otherwise you might need to do away with at least one of your cars or spend every evening touring town before you find somewhere to leave those wheels.
By Marika Azzopardi
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.