Historically, Britain and Malta have long had close ties. There are many different reasons why their history has been so entwined. Like Australia, Canada, and India, a former part of the British Empire and an English-speaking territory, Malta remains a popular holiday destination.
In fact, an increasing number of people are investing in property on the island. If you own a property on the island either in whole or in part, you can choose when you go on holiday.
Other benefits of owning property on Malta are the country’s excellent climate, favorable tax regime, and exquisite cuisine. And that’s without even mentioning the breath-taking landscapes which are found across the entirety of the island. Malta is a stable place politically and, despite its small size and agricultural economy, it offers all the amenities you would expect of a European capital city.
If you are interested in purchase property on Malta, then the following guide is for you. These are the steps that you need to take before you commit to any purchase.
Finding a good deal
There are many different companies that sell real estate on Malta. It is always worth looking around and seeing what is available from the different real estate companies on the island.
There an increasing number of online services designed to help you find the right property. These can help you to obtain the luxury Malta lifestyle for a fraction of the usual cost. You can find cheap luxury estates like Maltasothebys is offering it. These properties don’t have to set you back as much as you might think.
Hire a Lawyer and a Notary
A notary is an impartial individual who is entrusted with the enrolment of public deeds. It is important that if you hire a notary they are impartial. Therefore, avoid hiring anyone who is recommended to you directly by the estate agent and instead look for an independent party.
You should look for a lawyer who specialises in property transactions, ideally one who already has experience negotiating property deals on Malta. There are certain rules which will apply to the transfer of ownership or subletting a property on Malta by a foreign resident. You want to work with a lawyer who already understands all of this. As with the notary, you also want to ensure that your lawyer is an independent choice.
Get a Permit
Citizens of the EU, which for now includes the UK, who are purchasing a property on Malta that is not designated to be their home residence, will need to obtain an acquisition of immovable property permit. These permits are issued by the ministry of finance and you’ll need to apply to them. This is something that your lawyer can help you with, so it is worth asking them and insuring that you’re applying for the correct permit.
If you are outside the EU and are intending to make the property on Malta your main home, you do not require any kind of special permit.
Sign an Agreement and Pay the Necessary Fees
After you’ve settled on the perfect property for your needs, and you have made an offer which has been accepted, it is time to sign a preliminary agreement between yourself and the seller. This is a document which is valid for three months from the date of signing and which binds both parties to the transaction based on a set of terms they will already have agreed upon. Needless to say, your lawyer should be involved in helping you to ensure that the agreement you sign is one that is fair and balanced.
Prior to agreeing to the final deed of sale, but after signing the preliminary agreement, a series of checks and searches into the property will be carried out by the notary. This will ensure that everything is in order before you proceed and, crucially, before you hand over any money. At this stage, there are a few taxes which will need to be paid. Firstly, a percentage of stamp duty fee will need to be paid to Inland Revenue. In addition to this, 10% of the deposit amount needs to be paid by the buyer. The remainder of the stamp duty will be paid upon the issue of the final deed.
Problems to Watch Out For
Generally, investing in property on Malta is safe. It is very rare for someone to actively try to swindle you out of your money. However, there will always be a small possibility of something like this occurring. It is, therefore, important that as well as doing all of the due diligence outlined above, you ensure that you keep your eye out for a few common problems.
First of all, one of the oldest real estate scams which are still occasionally perpetrated on Malta involves what is known as a defect in title. This is when the person selling the property is not, in fact, the rightful owner of the property and, therefore, has no legal basis for arranging the sale.
Another potential pitfall is that a creditor may have already obtained some kind of judgement against the seller. This can mean that when the property is sold, this debt effectively remains with the property and, therefore, is on your shoulders. Fortunately, having your lawyer and notary do their jobs properly beforehand should ensure that this is picked up before it can become a problem.
As long as you do all of your due diligence, you should find buying property on Malta a painless experience.
Elena enjoys Sunday hikes, champagne brunches, baking, and anything related to luxury travel or fashion. Stay tuned for her take on fashion, relationships, beauty and more.
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