by Michel Le Brun
Malta, is a small archipelago European Union member(2004), in the central Mediterranean Sea, and is just 316 square kilometres of sedimentary limestone protruding from the beautiful clear waters, a land of rich and has a diverse history that dates back a millennia. Its very own language shaped out of the depths of many different occupations and cultures, past times and traditions thriving in it’s villages not seen anywhere else and yet it is so popular around the world as a go to destination. Therefore, as Maltese people we ask the question, what makes a person want to move to Malta and what does it entail?
The answer to why as you will see, is easy to fathom but the how is always more tiresome for all to get themselves organised. Moving always requires an effort but the why makes is so much easier to jump right into it and get excited about the move.
What makes Malta so attractive, is not only because we have two recognised languages, Maltese and English, the latter becoming official in 1936, its also because we have the benefit of more than 300 days of sunshine a year. The language, the sunshine and the affordable cost of living as well as the favourable work life balance with 14 national holidays a year make Malta a highly desirable place to live in. Our benefits are more. Our multi cultural mix gave us a combination of different cuisines which today we call “local”.
One thing is for sure, even though the island is small it’s made up of multiple historical sites worth visiting, not to mention the 366 churches (that’s one more than a calendar year packed in 316 square kilometres). Malta also offers a first-class healthcare system that is free to locals and EU nationals. Families can also benefit from the excellent educational system from pre-primary to post graduate doctorate, at a world ranking accredited University. Including a stipend for post-secondary education up to post graduate level. For those looking to retire in Malta we have a low level taxation on foreign income (A favourite for retirees).
Whatever your reason is to move to Malta you will be sure to find another and another and another… The question on how to move here though takes a little more planning and dedication. How do you buy a property in Malta?
As a non-Maltese resident buying property in Malta means either you are relocating long term or visiting for vacations, there could be other reasons such as for business or property investment. What ever the alternative the procedure passes through a similar number of steps differing in documentation type and taxes. Timelines vary too, with third country nationals taking the longest.
Eligibility is the first thing people ask; this will normally begin before you arrive in Malta. Either through the embassy or by talking to an immigration officer, or by inquiring through a web portal. Non-residents will be set minimum property values for purchase, values that change from year to year. Once you are eligible, that is, in possession of the correct permit, the actual purchase procedure follows in two steps.
Step one, the “konvenju” / Promise of Sale as it is known in English, is the preliminary agreement that defines all the conditions of the sale. It describes the property in detail and binds the buyer and seller to conclude on a mutually agreed date and at a mutually agreed price. It also begins the tax payment of 1% to the Inland Revenue. The promise of sale is drawn up by a Notary Public but remains a private contract between buyer and seller until the final contract is signed. Typically, the Notary is the buyer’s choice but as all Notaries are impartial, selecting a Notary only means finding one with experience in the locality you wish to purchase.
Step two, the final contract, typically concludes three to six months after the promise of sale, if all conditions are met with agreement the contract is signed, and keys are exchanged. Job done, simple, or is it?
As a real estate agent we help our customers through this process from start to finish. We understand all the pitfalls one might encounter and are knowledgeable in our areas as well as have the experience through an established Agency who is above all sincere and transparent with our clients leading us to smoothly run the transition from promise of sale to final deed.
Choosing the right real estate agent therefore is the most crucial part of the buying process. Any tradesmen will tell you that having the right tool for the job is half the job done. It is the same in real estate, you need that someone who can answer your questions, who knows the tax procedures, gives you the right local information, and is a recognised source of knowledge of the local property market. Therefore, choosing the right agent is where any potential new resident of Malta should begin.
How do you choose your agent? Simple, select a well-known recognisable brand that operates both in your own country as well as in Malta, that offers a strong pro-customer focus, who trains their staff, has good experience both locally and internationally and is always there for you. In short, choose Engel and Völkers!