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Published On: Fri, May 5th, 2017

Buying property guide in Malta

The Republic of Malta is an Island in the Mediterranean Sea areas. It is politically and economically stable and was declared as the 2nd safest country in the world by World Risk Report 2014. The economic growth of Malta is higher than most of EU countries. The Island is many people’s destination choice especially for those within EU because of named reasons.

The Island of Malta has plenty to offer from a pleasant Mediterranean climate, culture, great history, entertainment option, an English speaking nation, high standards of healthcare and education, relatively low cost of living compared to the rest of EU and a broad choice of properties to rent or buy.

photo 401K 2012/2013 via Flickr

For one to acquire a property in Malta, the following guidelines must be followed:

Identify the Location and Home Style

The Island of Malta carry’s a rich history; therefore traditional historic buildings are in numbers. Apart from these old buildings, there are new modern houses located in various villages. Location matters most because different villages feature different lifestyle, e.g. Gozo is a quiet place full of farmhouses whereas St. Julian’s is a very lively area with dance halls and pubs.  Carry out your due diligence before purchasing a property.

Appoint a Notary and a Lawyer

After establishing your best location and home style, you should appoint a notary and a lawyer. A notary is a public officer entrusted with the enrolment of public deeds e.g. sale and purchase of property.  Notary fee is generally around 0.40% to 1% of the property value. They are impartial and are not connected to any estate agent or a developer.

Make sure that your lawyer, who should specialize in property for sale transactions, should be aware of the rules specific to transfer, ownership and subletting of property by an expat.

Get Permit

After purchasing, Acquisition of Immovable Property (API) Permit must be obtained from the Ministry of Finance. That is if you are an EU resident and the property you have purchased will not be your main residence, but if you are an EU citizen and you intend to make the property your main home, you do not require a permit.

Sign an Agreement and Pay the Fee and Deposit

After the previous step is done, a preliminary agreement is signed between the seller and the buyer. This agreement binds both parties to the transaction based on terms and conditions therein. The agreement lasts for three months.

Be Watchful

Irregularities may arise during the process, and that’s why you need a lawyer to protect you. Especially if you are going to purchase a buy to let property and put it on the market as a vacation rental. Some common problems include a defect in title, the right of “servitude” or an ancient house which needs renovation. In case there is a discrepancy, you have the right of law to pull from the preliminary agreement.

Sign the paperwork and Clear Balances

This is the last step. Once everything is settled, and you are comfortable with the whole process, a date is set for the signing of the final deed of transfer. At this point, all balances must be cleared; 1% notary fees, stamp duty to the Inland Revenue which is 5% of the property value, and selling price to the vendor.

Signing the final deed is subject to a clear title and the issue of any other relative permits if necessary.

Author: Elena Thora

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