The “Buy or Sell First” Dilemma

  • 18.July 2012
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If you think buying your first Malta property posed a few challenges, wait until you gear up to buy the second. Aside from the usual work that goes into property hunting, this time you have the added strain of selling your current home – finding a Malta real estate agent that understands your needs, searching for the ideal property, getting the purchase financed and so on. Now, over and above that, you have another dilemma: should you buy a new property first, or sell your current one before?

As you can imagine, there are quite a few advantages and disadvantages to both options. The trick is weighing your options and working from there.
If your new home is being financed by the sale of your first home, selling it first means you know exactly what budgets you need to work within;There are several benefits to selling your home before searching for a new one:

  • You can negotiate better since you have a proper budget (rather than work on indications or make offers dependant on your sale);
  • You can make a firm offer on a house that is immediately to your liking;
  • You can make an unconditional offer on a house, which sellers tend to take more seriously;

As with everything else, there are also disadvantages. The most affecting one is that if you are unable to find a new home by the time the Konvenju on your first home has lapsed, you may need to find an alternative residence for a short period of time.  Should you decide to sell first, be sure you have an alternative solution in mind before embarking on selling your property.

You may, however, feel safer buying your second home before putting your first on the market. This could easily happen if you find a property that is perfectly priced and ideal to your requirements before selling your current home. You need to move fast, make an offer on the home etc. If you feel you have to do this to avoid missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime, make sure you are fully aware of the difficulties that you may be facing, such as:

  • If you are unable to sell your first home in time, you may find yourself financing both homes at once. Would you be able to cope with the financial strain?
  • You cannot be certain of the price you will sell your first home, despite any amount of appraisals you may have carried out;
  • You may find yourself in a risky situation if you make an offer on your second home, and then sell your first for less – especially if your budgets are somewhat tight;
  • If the purchase of your second home is dependent on the sale of your first Malta property, you may find yourself selling at a reduced price, simply to avoid losing out on purchasing the second;

There is another option for you. Once you’ve found a home you’d like to buy, you have the option of making a conditional offer or possibly simply asking for a longer Konvenju period.  A longer Konvenju period should be long enough and mutually agreeable with the sellers.  One may not be in a position to grant you a longer period than six months, which is commonly acceptable but not the rule.   Traditionally a Konvenju is dated for a three month period.

Going to the other option: A conditional Offer.  Depending on the condition you may place on an offer, the seller needs to have some stability otherwise they just wont accept.  Therefore you would have to find common ground with the sellers, whereby there would be a win-win situation.  Common conditions placed on offers are based on a Bank Home /Bridge Loan or Permits but other than that if you can not table a win-win situation, your condition will fall on its face.

As with everything else, always weigh your options before deciding on whether you’d like to buy or sell first. Avoid embarking on any decisions unless you’re completely aware of the possible outcomes and risks you may be taking – especially if these decisions affect people other than yourself.   Speaking to a professional Malta real estate agent will serve you well so that you may understand and take a knowledgeable decision.