Guide for First Time Buyers in Malta

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 case when a first-time buyer is purchasing a property.

Confirm Your Budget

It is important to have a budget in mind before searching for first properties in Malta or Gozo. 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. Ask your specialised first-time buyer agent to show you properties below and above with space to negotiate to your threshold. It may be prudent to deduct costs of other items, such as furnishings, notary fees and so on so that you have a more accurate figure. It is recommended that you visit your local bank and confirm the amount the bank will be able to borrow you. If you are buying a property with your partner, you will be in a position to combine the joint income. Read this page for more specifics on home loans in Malta.

Property Needs, Wish List and Searching

Once you have a budget in mind, you can start hunting for a property. To simplify things, we would suggest you make a list of needs and a wish list and follow that up by going online and searching for your minimum requirements. You will eventually narrow this down to properties you’d like to view. The next step would be to contact the RE/MAX Malta real estate agent and schedule viewings for the same or next 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, a real estate agent will accompany you on your visit to the properties and will have the market knowledge when the time comes to haggling the price or negotiating any specific terms.

Make sure you mark the properties you like and remove the ones that didn’t meet your expectations. Ensure you thoroughly inspect the property – any defects or lack of maintenance may allow you to negotiate in property price. Along the way, you will start to understand what type of property you may achieve in purchasing and may start adding those items from your wish list to your search. You will start asking your self questions like “What if I were to purchase a property with heated floors? Would it break the bank? This scenario will be a trial and error until you find the compromise between your needs and wants. It is confirmed through a recent Real Estate Insights report in 2015 that buyers take on average of four months to find their property so if you fall within this category you will have found your first property in Malta before you know it.

Signing your First Promise of Sale

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. Other conditions could be related to the permit of the property or that you actually manage to secure financing for the property. In only certain cases may a promise of sale be extended provided that both parties agree.

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 that the vendor is able to sell the property.

Signing the Contract

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 (presently only 5% above EUR 150, 000 up until end of Dec 2016) 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’. Feel free to contact us so we can be part of your planning process.

Why Choose RE/MAX for Your First Property

At RE/MAX Malta, the first time buyer market is just one of the real estate markets that we have specialised real estate agents working with customers on a daily basis. Our know-how of the market, comprehensive database of properties and reach of twenty-two offices and over 250 estate agents located around the Malta and Gozo will surely be an asset to your property search.

Each office of ours has a number of fully qualified first-time buyer 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 specific properties come available on our database that match your search criteria.

You may find our weekly updated list of properties for First time buyers useful or you may like to receive property update emails of properties that come through our database that match your criteria. If you have a chance, we also have some interesting articles that describe the actual experience of first time buyers in Malta on our blog.

Related Links

Your First Property in Malta Blog

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€50,000 - €100,000

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ZEJTUN - APARTMENT being part of a new and elegant block served with lift and ideally located on a very quiet residential street right on the outskirts of town. Accommodation comprises of a spacious open-plan kitchen/dining/living overlooking a front balcony, main bathroom, two bedrooms and a back more

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€100,001 - €200,000

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XAGHRA - A huge three bedroom Apartment, ideal for a permanent residence, located within walking distance to the sea and restaurants. Featuring generous rooms throughout, an entrance to an open plan kitchen/dining/lounge area leading to a front balcony, a wide corridor leading to the sleeping quarte more

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€200,001 - €300,000

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