Buying your first home is always a monumental achievement, but getting there doesn’t have to be a mammoth task. Here are some great tips on how to get on the that ladder. Buying a property has never been easy, but with rising unemployment rates and the rising cost of property, it has also never seemed as shaky or as shady as it does now. But that shouldn’t put you off! Home ownership is a great idea and a fantastic step. Over 93% (See Malta Market report) of Maltese believe in owning as opposed to renting a home and if that’s not a vote of confidence that what is? So what are the insiders’ tricks for getting started? Research: It is not unheard of that people check out 30 to 40 properties before they finally say ‘I do’ to a place. Do your research and go to as many home viewings as possible. There are many tools that can help you with your search, including the Internet, leaflets and estate agencies. All this will give you a clear idea of what’s out there, and you may even find the gem you’ve been looking for!
Estate Agents: Real Estate agents in Malta are there to help you out with this sort of thing. Make sure you find one you trust (so get recommendations from family and friends, and use a trusted company), and explain to them what you are looking for and where you’d like it to be. Be open to any suggestions they might have, even when it comes to location or property type – you never know! Also be honest, the agent will absorb every word you say and the last thing you want to do is send them down a beaten track. It would be an injustice to yourself and to the estate agent.
Be Reasonable: If you’re a first-time buyer with a regular salary, then chances are you cannot afford a three-bedroom flat in the very best area, or a detached villa in the countryside, but you may be able to afford a townhouse elsewhere. When looking for a property to start off with, be sure that you know exactly what you need and how much you can spend, but remember that unless your budget is substantial, finding the perfect home may require compromise. Check with your bank manager with regards to what you can borrow so that you do not set your expectations too low or too high!
Shared Ownership: When taking out a loan, banks will look at whether you have the 10% deposit, how much disposable income you have per month and any debts that feed off that. Being by yourself – particularly if you don’t bring in five-figure bacon – may make it difficult to purchase a property on your own. Buying one with a partner or a spouse, however, may give you the added financial boost and back up you need. The trick when it comes to this is that you always have everything in writing.
With the right mind-set and guidance, however, it is not impossible to purchase your first one – even if you are self-employed, young or not earning quite as much as you would like to. Don’t hesitate – or procrastinate if you have the financial stability to buy a property in Malta now. Up till the end of December, if you are eligible, you may still benefit from the government subsidies of stamp duty.
If you do go down the solo-buyer route, seek the advice of an accountant, bank manager and real estate agent so as to get a full idea of what to expect.