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:
Your real estate agent will guide you through the process of buying a house and speak to the seller on your behalf. There are so many benefits to
using an estate agent over doing it all yourself. Let’s take a look at how you should go about employing an estate agent in Malta as a non-national.
Should You Go Malta or Go Home?
As a foreigner, you might be wondering whether it’s best to opt for a Maltese estate agent or an international estate agent. In the majority of
the latter is best. They specialise in dealing with non-nationals.
The buying process differs for foreigners and there are different restrictions on what you can buy and what you have to pay. Whilst a Maltese estate
agent will be proficient in helping non-nationals, an international agent specialising in foreign transactions will have more experience.
What Can They Do For You?
An estate agent will save you a lot of time and hassle. They have access to an unmatched number of properties. They’ll also be able to speak to the
seller for you. This is highly professional and it increases your chance of buying a highly desirable property. Some people might favour buyers using
estate agents over private buyers.
They can also point you in the direction of notaries, architects, and other professionals. They might not be associated with them, but they usually
have a list of connections which they’ll recommend to buyers if they want to ask.
Different Types of Property
Estate agents differ slightly in the sort of commission levels they charge, based on the type of property. It really depends what they’re registered
as. Here’s a breakdown of the options available to you.
- An open agency will be advertising properties available on the general market. These properties will be available with any agency. These are
the most popular arrangements for sellers who want to get a quick deal. There are non-compete agreements, so if you view a property with one agent
can’t view it with another.
- Sole agencies have a range of properties exclusive to them. There are lower rates of commission associated with these.
- Private brokers charge the lowest commission rates of all, but they might not have the same range of services as the other agencies.
If your sole aim is to save money, you should go for the agency which charges the lowest commission on property purchases. We wouldn’t recommend
though. It’s worth paying extra to have the buying process run smoothly and access to a better range of properties.
How to Choose a Great Real Estate Agent
There are many criteria you should take into account. It’s not particularly difficult to do, though. We list the main things you should look for in
your estate agent before choosing them to help you make the move to Malta.
The first thing to look for is recommendations. Customer recommendations say far more than any marketing email can. These recommendations come from
people unaffiliated with the company and have worked with them before. This gives you everything you need to know about how good they really are at
what they do.
Meet with the associate who you’ll potentially work with. Talk to them about their company and what they can do for you. You’re doing this so you can
get an idea for how well you’ll work together. Some people have clashing personalities and different views of things. If you don’t get a good vibe,
you know to go elsewhere.
You should always be able to contact your associate with ease. If you make a call and it always goes to voicemail, this can cause problems. You might
live a busy lifestyle and you can’t afford to wait by the phone until they decide to answer. You should always have access to them over the phone
during business hours.
It’s their job to get you the best deal. Take stock of their negotiation skills. This is why it’s so important to try to organise a face-to-face
meeting. This is a big decision and you don’t want someone who is inexperienced to take on your account.
How Much Does Price Matter?
Cost is always a divisive issue, especially when it comes to something as important as a property transaction. The answer is ‘it depends’. It depends
on how much you care about and value money. If you believe it’s the most important thing in the world for you, you should put price as the most
We would recommend the exact opposite, though. We don’t believe price should be the deciding factor. Purchasing a home overseas is a stressful
experience and your estate agent shouldn’t make it any harder. They should be taking the stress off your shoulders not adding more pressure.
Remember, you do get what you pay for. Aim for agents offering rates close to the industry average.