Buying Your First Property

  • 07.December 2011
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Many people consider the decision to purchase property one of the biggest decisions one will make. This is hardly surprising when you consider the responsibilities that come with this decision. One needs to be aware of the process of purchasing a property, the expenses and charges involved, and what methods would simplify their buying process – even more so when it’s the first property being purchased.

It is important to have a budget in mind before searching for properties. Several people have borrowed funds in order to finance their purchase. If this is the case, the bank is able to give you an indication of your borrowing limit based on your salary, factoring in other expenses you may already be committed to. Remember that this is only an indication so be sure to search for properties priced below this figure. It may be prudent to deduct costs of other items, such as furnishings, notary fees and so on.

Once you have a budget in mind, you can start hunting for a home. To simplify things, we would suggest you make a list of properties you’d like to view, then contact the real estate agent in Malta and schedule viewings for the same day. Several people opt to work with a real estate agent for the simple reason that this scheduling is undertaken by them.  Aside from this, the Malta real estate agent will accompany you on your visit to the properties and will know what to look for and, when the time comes, haggle a price. Make sure you mark the properties you like, and remove the ones that didn’t meet your expectations. Ensure you thoroughly inspect the property – remember: disadvantages may allow for a decrease in price.

Once you have found your ideal property, you can make an offer. Check how much similar properties are selling for in the area before proposing a price. Should the vendor agree, remember that the agreement is – so far – verbal, and despite being given in good-faith, it is non-committal. Once you have agreed on a price, a date is set for signing of the Promise of Sale (“Konvenju”). Drafted up by a notary, this is a contract between the buyer and seller where several terms and conditions are laid out in writing. The contract may be subject to several conditions; for example, the seller may need to finalise certain details or jobs in relation to the property; as the purchaser, you may wish to have the property evaluated by an architect for any structural defects and may only purchase the property should it be of sound structure, etc. The contract would also include a date for signing of Final Deed, and such date would serve as a deadline for both parties. For the purpose of the Promise of Sale, the notary represents the government and is impartial between both parties. Once the Promise of Sale has been signed, you will be asked to pay a deposit (usually 10%) to the seller, and a further 1% provisional stamp duty to the notary. A copy of the contract is then given to both you and the seller. The notary would then need a further 6 weeks to carry out searches on the property – verifying the legal title, ensuring there are no loans taken against said property, and so on.

Should all the conditions written in the Promise of Sale be satisfied, the parties then meet to sign the Final Deed. This would be read out by the notary and again signed by both parties. At this stage, you will need to pay all pending balances – including the remaining balance on the property, the remaining balance on stamp duty and 1% fees to the Notary Public. The contract is then registered at the Public registry, and the keys to the property are handed over to you – a proud home-owner. Your next headache is moving all your personal items to your home!

The process of property-hunting may take anything from one week to several months, and is dependent on your urgency to find a property. Should you be in a hurry, or are planning ahead of time it is important to bear in mind that property searches and signing of contracts take an average of three to six months months. Feel free to contact us so we can be part of your planning process. At RE/MAX Malta , the first time buyer market is just one of the niche Malta real estate markets that we have specialised real estate associates attending to on a daily basis.  Our know-how of the market, comprehensive database of properties and reach of eleven offices around the Malta and Gozo should surely be an asset to your property search. 

Each office of ours has a number of fully qualified sales associates available to attend to your call.  You will find that our associates are very professional and will not waste your time.  We are proud to say that we do our utmost to listen to your every request and take the time to guide you through the process.  Our associates are also assisted by state of the art technology which alerts them when a property comes available on our database within your search criteria.

You may find our weekly updated list of properties for First time buyers useful.  You may also like to receive property update emails of properties that come through our database that match your criteria.

We sincerely wish you all of the luck in your endeavour to find the right property in Malta.