As a homeowner you may be looking at buying a newer or better property or simply want to relocate to another area that is closer to work or family. Many previous first-time buyers may be starting a family of their own and need to be closer to day-care facilities or junior schools and therefore are in the market for a new home. As a second-time buyer we have some useful tips for buying your next property, as the options offered for sale by the property market in Malta are extremely varied. It is extremely important to have an informed opinion regarding the area and property you are about to buy, as making a mistake can have financial implications for years to come.
Are you considering purchasing a new home? Before you do, here are some tips that will help make the process go smoothly:
1. Read, read and then read some more
You may not be new to the property market any longer, but rules and regulations change, laws are updated, and new building legislation is constantly introduced or modified. Your best option is to find and read the latest covering these online prior to buying. The incentives to second-time buyers also change regularly, so make sure you are in the know as to what they are, so you do not miss out on any savings! Also ask your estate agent about these.
2. Make a wish list
Make a list with what you want in your next property. Keep in mind that things like more space, a better location and other plusses all add to the purchase price, so be realistic as to what you can afford. This does not mean you have to sacrifice your ideals just because you have a limited budget. Discuss your wants and needs with your estate agent so they can compile a selection of properties that fulfil all the criteria.
3. Start selecting the right bouquet of properties for you
Your agent will present you mostly with properties as per your wish list and within your budget, but also point out the ones that are unsuitable. This way your agent will have a better understanding of what you are looking for and what you dislike. Sharing your honest opinion about what you are shown will expedite finding the right home for you and your family.
4. Gather important documentation
If you have chosen a particular property as the ideal candidate, try and get as much information on the property in writing. This way you can sit – when you have time – and go through everything in detail, making sure there are no potential issues forthcoming once you go ahead with the purchasing process. If anything is vague or unclear, speak to your agent about it.
5. Communicate regularly with your agent and be level-headed
You will at times risk getting into heated discussions with members of your family about the properties you are viewing, or even have a difference of opinion with your agent, but do not let your heart rule your head. Buying a property is a business transaction, not a love affair and you need to be level-headed and keep emotions at bay as not to cloud your judgement when making important decisions that involve a lot of money.
6. “Buy the worst property in the best area”
This is one of the mantras of the property industry along with “location, location, location”. You can always upgrade the property over time and being in a sought-after neighbourhood will undoubtedly be your strongest asset, no matter what the property looks like. Inexperienced buyers are often tempted to buy bigger properties in the worst of areas, and this can be a costly mistake. As said, you can always upgrade the house but not the neighbourhood and it is very likely that the property’s value in this case will remain stagnant for years to come.
7. Look for future potential in your next property
Properties in Malta are usually generous in size, but when you are in the market for your next home be on the lookout for any property’s potential over the next five years, as your needs will change. Can a wall be knocked down to create an open-plan space and add value? Can you extend the property by building on externally? Does ownership of airspace come with it? Does it have space to install built-in cupboards without affecting the actual living space much? These are just some of the questions to keep in mind when looking at potential buys.
8. Will your next home bring you a profit in years to come?
This should be the case with every property you buy. Inevitably, the price of building materials go up year-on-year, labour costs go up and this all contributes to properties becoming more expensive over time. If you have a property that does not keep up in value or exceed these costs when you sell, it is unlikely that you will be able to buy another property in the same price category or even a more expensive one. So, ask your agent about past sales in the area, about the capital appreciation of the property and speak to neighbours of the home you are interested in to get an honest opinion.
If you are in the market to buy a new home, we at Frank Salt Real Estate can save you a lot of money as a second-time buyer. Interested? Read our “Buy and Sell Through Us Offer” and see what we can do for you!