Information for Buyers

Buying a property for the first time is a significant turning point in your life. Although this is definitely an exciting period, things may turn out into stressful spells if you are not guided properly to take such an important decision.

Before searching for a property

Although you may have your dream home well illustrated in mind, it is necessary to check out which type of property is within your means. A visit to a bank is highly suggested before starting your house-hunting so that you can make an informed choice and to avoid disappointment. Based on your salary whilst factoring also other expenses which you might have already committed to, the bank will provide you with an indication of your borrowing limit. Moreover, it will be able to highlight to you what other expenses you will incur, once you decide to buy a property, such as bank charges, notary fees, and taxes.

Embarking on your house-hunting adventure

You might try to search for your house on your own. However, the service which a real estate agent can give you will surely assist you to widen your possibilities of finding the right property, and will support you with professional guidance.

A vast online database of the real estate agency showing available properties in various locations in Malta and Gozo, will enable you to explore and select the ones which interest you most in a brief time. Furthermore, photos and detailed information of the properties included in the website will avoid you the trouble of visiting properties which might not be up to your standards. Eventually, you could make a list of the properties that you would like to view and then contact a real estate agent to schedule viewings.

Otherwise, you might begin by contacting a real estate agency in order to discuss your requirements and a real estate agent will provide you with a list of properties that are in line with your expectations.

Once you decide which properties you are interested to visit, the real estate agent will make the arrangements for you to see the properties and will accompany you. Until you find the property of your dreams, a good real estate agent will keep updating you on any new properties which might become available from time to time and are suitable for you.

The duration of this process will mostly depend on the urgency that you have to find a property. This might take just a few weeks or several months. However, you must always keep in mind that besides the time to choose the property itself, an average of further six months will be required thereafter to make agreements with the bank for a loan, for the notary to finish property researches, and to sign the final deed. 

Signing a Promise of Sale agreement

Once your ideal property has been located, it is advisable to view it again with an architect in order to check for any structural defects and also to confirm its market value. Then, the real estate agent will assist you to make an offer to the owner and to negotiate terms and conditions.

If an agreement is reached, a date is set for signing the Promise of Sale (Konvenju) in front of a notary, wherein you and the vendor will define your terms and conditions and will also state the date for signing the Final Deed. Meanwhile, the notary will carry out researches on the property being purchased in order to confirm its clear legal title. If a bank loan is required, you should present a copy of this Promise of Sale agreement to your bank in order to apply for a loan.

Expenses to be paid by you during the signing of Promise of Sale agreement

  • Generally a deposit of 10% of the agreed purchase price is requested by the vendor (this deposit can be kept by the notary until the final deed is settled and will be handed over to the vendor on that day);
  • A payment of 1% of the sale price will be forwarded to the notary as provisional stamp duty in order to register the said agreement with the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.

 The Final Deed

Once all the conditions mentioned in the Promise of Sale agreement are honored both by the vendor and you, you will be ready to sign the Final Deed, and all remaining balances will have to be settled. If a bank loan is being used to buy the property, this deed will be signed at the bank after it has been read out to both parties and both agree on the terms and conditions.

Expenses to be paid by you during the Final Deed

  • The remaining balance of the property price is paid to the vendor;
  • Notarial fees and researches;
  • Bank charges (where applicable);
  • The remaining balance on stamp duty.

Upon buying your first property as your residence, a 3.5% stamp duty is applicable on the first €150,000 of the total price. (Note: This stamp duty has been wavered by the government as an incentive to assist first time buyers, for property purchased before the end of 2016). 5% stamp duty is paid on the remaining value.

Once Final Deed is signed, the notary will register the contract at the public registry.

Finally, the property is yours and you will be provided with the keys.