Isabella Zammit, Friday, 15 November 2013
This article is part of a series of 8 articles about buying property in Malta. The other articles in the series cover the following topics:
Buying a house in Malta requires multiple checks on you and your ability to pay. The contracts and various pieces of documentation can fall into two
categories. Firstly, there are the documents you need to buy a house and become a resident of Malta. The other category is where you have to gather
together documentation to support a mortgage application.
We’re going to focus on the first category with a short section on the second one. It’s mainly geared towards EU citizens with no restrictions. If
come from a country with sanctions, the situation might differ slightly.
You’re always going to need a valid passport to prove you’re from where you say you’re from. It proves you aren’t a criminal and you’re a stellar
buyer. It will also support your application as an EU citizen.
The passport is the single biggest form of documentation you can have due to the benefits of being an EU citizen. For example, if your passport shows
you’re an EU citizen, you only have to pay a stamp duty of 3.5% on the first 116,500 Euros of your house, as opposed to the standard 5% for everyone
Acquisition of Immovable Property Permit
You need an Acquisition of Immovable Property permit to own property in Malta. There are a lot of conditions relating to this permit, though.
you’ll need to attach your application form to the preliminary contract you sign with the seller of your desired property.
Assuming the application is correct, you’ll receive your permit in less than 35 days, as prescribed by the Quality Service Charter. You should attach
the contract, a photocopy of your passport, and two passport-sized photos.
To get this permit your property must be valued at a certain price. As of this writing, it’s 173,129 Euros for a purchase of anything other than a
maisonette or flat. It’s 103,906 Euros for a flat or maisonette.
To gain a permit, you need to make it clear the property is for residential purposes. You can’t sell the property in part or rent it out to any third
The Land Registry of Malta shows who owns which properties on the islands. Your notary will first come into contact with it when he submits a Form E
on your behalf. This process is used to confirm the seller owns the property.
After signing the final contract, your notary will have 15 days to enrol your new deed at the Malta Public Registry, Gozo Public Registry, or Land
Registry. This confirms you own the property. Whilst this document is essential, it isn’t your responsibility initially.
Supporting Your Mortgage Application
Whenever you apply for a mortgage you’ll need to have some documents to hand immediately. Here’s a brief breakdown of what your bank will ask you to
- Evidence of your income, usually in the last six months to a year. A wage slip will be fine.
- Your passport or identity card.
- Copy of the preliminary agreement.
- Documents from your architect relating to whether the building gained the required permits and the estimated value of the property.
There are other things you’ll need to prove, but the bank will help you with these. For example, your bank will search for your credit score by
Your Two Contracts
You’ll sign two contracts during the buying process. The first contract is known as the preliminary agreement. This preliminary agreement legally
binds you to purchasing the property. The seller must also agree to sell the property. You’ll pay a part of your deposit, at the moment this is 10%
the property price, plus 1% in stamp duty.
Your second contract is the final agreement. You’ll pay the remaining balance and any taxes due, including another 4% in stamp duty. Your seller
at this point, no longer own the property. They’ll transfer the deeds and the keys will be yours.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Sign the Contract?
You don’t need to have your own lawyer if you don’t want to. A bank supplying your mortgage might offer to supply a lawyer for themselves. At the
signing, the lawyer reads out the contracts and confirms you understand what everything means. It can cost less than 100 Euros for this short
You’ll sign the contracts and everything will be completed.
From a legal standpoint, you don’t need a lawyer to sign the contracts. You can walk in by yourself and sign them if you want. We wouldn’t recommend
this, though, if only for your peace of mind.
Lawyers inspect the contracts and make sure everything is full and proper. You don’t want to improperly sign the contracts and realise a few months
later the transfer never went through. This is an extra layer of safety which costs very little. It makes no sense to not employ a lawyer to save a
meagre amount of money.