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Selling an Inherited Property

inheritanceWhen an inherited property lands on your lap, it often seems reasonable to reach a final decision to sell it off. Perhaps it is superfluous to your needs, too large, small, old, expensive to maintain or just not something you could use at this stage of your life.

According to Maltese law, as an heir to the property, you would have had to prepare a valuation of the property, apart from having an official Land Registry site plan endorsed with proper site measurements by an architect. These documents would have been presented to the notary in charge of preparing the necessary deed, by virtue of which the property was devolved to you.

If the immovable property was the residence of the deceased person, then you, as a direct descendant, would not have had to pay any tax on this part of the inheritance.  Once all the inheritance procedures are followed and complete, you will be in a position to resell the property.  Your notary will have guided you on aspects related to the valuation of the property, and advised you accordingly. This means that you will have researched and asked around, to find how much the property stands to be evaluated at the current market conditions.

The previous law stated where the majority, but not all have agreed to sell, it restricted the heirs to sell the said inherited property only after five or ten years depending on when the inheritance took place.  This had caused numerous grief for the community not to mention the vast number of vacant properties.

In the latest 2016 Budget, this period of time was reduced to three years, thus encouraging heirs to agree finally and speed up the process of making available more properties on the market.

Within the White Paper, the Government also reduced the stamp duty to 2.5% on the value of the property if the contract of the new property is executed between the 1 January and 31 December 2016. Furthermore, the rate of final withholding tax that will be levied on transfers of restored property, effected in 2016, will be reduced from 8% to 5%.  The property must be within an Urban Conservation Area (UCA).

The above incentives have been created to further entice heirs to sell their properties, take ownership, restore and increase the supply of saleable homes on the market.

It is probable that the property will need to be cleaned and cleared of personal belongings, and possibly also completely vacated of furniture and furnishings prior to a sale.  If it does not interest you to carry out this chore yourself, there do exist individuals and companies that will come to the property and vacate it at a pre-established fee.

Alternatively, you could approach an auctioneer to try and sell pricier and finer items at a profit.  If need be you could also organise a garage or house sale which you can advertise locally and enrol some family members to help you on the day or weekend assigned for this event.

Once the property is empty, you should approach a reliable real estate agency to provide you a market value again.  At RE/MAX Malta, we have an extensive history of properties that have are on the market and that have been sold which  may guide you through a proper comparative market analysis in order to value your property correctly.

If the property is pretty run-down, we may advised you to give it a quick facelift in order to make it more attractive to possible buyers.  This should not alarm you because many times a property can be excellently embellished by a few simple and easy steps, such as cleaning the front garden of dead vegetation, and INHERITANCEreplacing broken light bulbs. Any junk or remaining clutter should also be removed.

When the property is still in a relatively good condition, and if it still includes some furnishings, our selling experts may suggest that you go along with the proposal of staging the property in a professional way.

This will entail the involvement of staging experts, namely an interior designer and photographic services (all organised by the agency itself).   Staging will do a world of good for you if you want the necessary exposure to the property and sell quickly.  In this case, we may suggest that you enroll in the Exclusive Added Value Listing programme, which is a dedicated Selling system which has proven to sell homes within 90 days.

Contact one of our offices today to understand your possibilities more clearer or send us a request via the request form.

Choosing the right agent to sell your property

real estate agent - best choice in Malta

real estate agent - best choice in MaltaReal estate agents should be your ideal guides when you start preparing to sell a property of any kind. A reliable agent should transmit efficiency which entertains the trust that he or she will know how to go about promoting your property effectively and through the right channels, in order to secure a sale. Whether you need to sell something as small in size and price as a one-car garage, whether it’s a a two-bed penthouse, a residential villa, an office block or an industrial warehouse, an estate agent should be there to help you throughout the entire process.

Easier said than done, and one main dilemma revolves around finding the right agent, man or woman,  to sell your property for you, so we here passing on some suggestions to help you along.

Find a real estate agent who represents an agency whose website you like and enjoy browsing through. If you find the website easy and pleasant to surf, and if the information pertaining to advertised properties is clearly depicted, fully detailed and accompanied by high resolution images, then it stands more if a chance of attracting potential buyers. Research the website for all the information which might possible assist you sold-finding-realestateagentin making your choice.

Word of mouth does help. Asking people you know for recommendations means you are getting a contact who proved to be invaluable to somebody who sold their property successfully. Ask about the level of confidentiality and courtesy, about the number of viewers the agent brought along, about the pre and post sale liaisons which contributed to making the agent worth recommending.

Identify the category of properties within which your property could be placed.  A town house in Valletta sells differently from a similar town house in Qrendi. The differences are several; city vs village; outskirts vs core; finish vs converted, unconverted, semi-converted, furnished, un-furnished; age;  potential for further development, restoration, embellishment;  size. This information will arm you to better discuss sale potential with the agent you choose.

Try to find an agency which may typically specialise in the kind of property you aim to sell. Certain agencies have specialised departments dealing with categories of properties, price ranges, localities, markets. This will address the right buyer immediately, promoting your property where and to whom it is most likely to sell.

Consider selling your home exclusively with one estate agency.  This will get you added benefits and greater attention from the agent and agency since there will be more scope towards investing energy in clinching the sale.  Advertising your property with multiple agencies on an open agency basis, may become counter productive, since yours will be just another property on the list, and not one which is getting the full focus it deserves. An Exclusive listing with some real estate agencies also comes with a marketing package where your property will be exposed to several marketing channels.

A good estate agency will also come prepared to meet you with relative information that would assist you in pricing your property correctly.  Comparative pricing metrics will assist you in understanding where you should place your price on the market.  You may even find out that it’s not worth selling at this time, or on the other hand realise much more potential.  One of the biggest pitfalls when people sell their property is that they price their property without the adequate guidance.

Quiz a potential agent by asking advice on typical selling prices, on staging the property, tips on what would improve or add immediate value to the property. A good agent will not shirk from spending time to explain things to you, to view your property carefully and ask relevant questions. Before he or she leaves your property, they should know it well, so that they can explain its characteristics to potential buyers, clearly and efficiently.

Preparing a property for sale

Preparing Your Home For Sale - House of Character

Preparing Your Home For Sale - House of CharacterIn the fast-paced real estate market, selling a property is a big deal. This is not only because of the market’s competitive nature, but also because of the preparation that has to be undertaken with the property itself. When selling a property especially one that has been lived-in, such as a family home, it is imperative to present it in the best way possible.

Cleaning may not be enough—it might just be the time to put yourself in buyers’ shoes, and prep up your property for selling. Considering the large number of properties that viewers get to view when on the hunt for the right property, it becomes clear that to make your mark on the market, first impressions really do matter.

It is very common that viewers get a strong feeling about a property just from viewing the outside, mainly because this is the first thing they see. So first things first—take a good look at the facade and exterior of your house and make sure to clean the windows, fix the chipped stones, trim and prune the plants, and give a good scrub to the porch and face of the house.  If its an apartment, make sure your welcome mat isn’t in tatters and the walls are painted clean.  Adding some colour in the shape of flowers or potted plants helps to add vitality and give a feel-good vibe to viewers entering the property for sale.

Upon entering a house, the first thing someone perceives is usually the space, and what makes up this space? Light, furnishings and colour. First of all, you want to make sure the light is right, by fixing any light fixtures and removing or changing any heavy curtains that are obstructing natural light from flooding in. Since natural light is an utmost priority, avoid viewings which happen in the evening after dark. According to a recent real estate insights survey brightness is the major aspect that either turns on or puts off the buyer.  Then make sure the furnishings aren’t too big for their rooms—too much furniture may take away the merits of a spacious, well-lit room, as well as make viewers feel cramped.

If you have any pending paint jobs you might as well go ahead and paint over in neutral colours. As much as you like your rainbow living room, it might put off potential buyers, as it all boils down to individual taste.  When selling your property you must always think as if you were the buyer.   After scouring clean thepreparing your home for sale - property in st. julians house it might be time to get into the details. Take some extra time to tighten up all the little loose ends of the house—missing screws from doorknobs and hinges, loose or squeaky furniture, fixtures (bathroom faucets) that need replacing, and so on.  Another important detail is to take away some of the very personal items like family photographs, any wild pieces of art or furniture. Leave only items that are neutral. Neutrality is important because it helps viewers envision themselves inside the house.  Indeed a clean palette allows for better visualisation of what could be and could become.

On the other hand, if you think that the house feels too empty or impersonal, adding something as simple as indoor plants can change how a room looks and feel.  Making potential buyers envision themselves living in the house is crucial— and is part of the process of selling your home. Here are some simple tricks that can help you achieve this. Try and make some spots around the house look appealing for specific activities by placing two or three items related to said activities—a book and coffee tray next to soft furnishings for a reading area. Be aware that viewers have all their senses pricked, and will be out to notice especially things that are off colour, so be sure to avoid obvious oversights. Don’t cook anything with strong odours before viewings are due, enquire whether viewers like pets beforehand, and close the toilet seat!

You need to get the price right.  No matter what changes you make, how nice you doll up the house, or tricks you may utilise to sway a buyer, if you do not price your home correctly – your home may stay on the market.  Read our for page on Pricing your property correctly for more information.

Finally, be nice to potential buyers, offer some refreshments and share some nice stories about the house, and you should be set to make some great impressions!

Maximising the Price of your Property

Here’s 5 simple ways to get your home tip-top before putting it up for sale.

Brightly-lit-propertyWe all spend years turning our house into our home, and we get so used to it, that we sometimes fail to see the simple things that are bringing its price down in the eyes of potential buyers.

These five simple tips will help you maximise your home’s potential and boost how much you could get for it.  You’ll be amazed what these modest hints will do to the price of your property.

Clean Up: When trying to sell your property, make sure it’s spotless. Sweep the floors and sterilise toilet bowls, remove cobwebs from the ceiling and make sure the windows are flawless. Leaving a place looking dirty will instantly put people off the place, and make them think that there’s more work that needs to be done than there actually is.

Make Sure It’s Brightly Lit: All curtains should be open during a viewing, while you should be sure to remove any net curtains so as to let in as much sunshine as possible. Adding mirrors also helps reflect the light. Why? It’s actually psychological. Light is often associated with opulence – think Versailles and the Hall of Mirrors. The brighter a place is, the bigger and more expensive it will seem!

If It’s Broken, Fix It: Light bulbs that aren’t working, toilets that don’t function, broken tiles, and doors coming off their hinges are never a good sign. We all know that buyers will haggle, and broken things will give them further ammunition.

Update Your Kitchen & Bathroom: While the living room and the bedroom tend to be very personal spaces, kitchens and bathrooms are most likely the last places people will redo 240011054-62– given that the ones available are decent and tasteful. This doesn’t mean you have to buy a whole new kitchen prior to putting your house up for sale, but a new lick of paint or updated counter top may make a whole world of difference.

Add Street Appeal: Most people looking for a house will know if it’s the right one within seconds of seeing it in person. That’s why you need to make sure that your house looks great from the outside. Paint or replace your front door, make sure the façade does not look worn, and keep your hall spotless and welcoming.

Moreover, why not go to an open house viewing and take note of the things that bother you or negatively attract your attention? That’s always a great way of knowing what could be done and what could have been done better.

Take these five tips and make sure you follow them.  They will definitely increase your chances of maximising your property price.  You can also ask your local real estate agent in Malta to guide you accordingly.

The Biggest Seller Mistakes

Property Viewing

Property ViewingThroughout the time I’ve worked in real estate in Malta, the property topic has come up in several conversations I’ve had with many acquaintances, friends, business partners and so on. Inevitably, these acquaintances always know someone, heard of someone – or sometimes even refer to themselves – who have been trying to sell their home for quite a few months but are unable to even obtain any offers, regardless of how luxurious their home may be. This leads to the question “What are we / they doing wrong?” (more…)

Finding the Right Agent When Selling

Selling your property the RE/MAX way

Selling a Home RE/MAX Malta - BalloonThere are so many ways in which people manage to sell their properties, but not all of them are cost effective, time effective, efficient or pleasant. Selling a property, especially a family home, is considered to be one of the most stressful episodes in a person’s life, not only because it equates with a major change, but because it is such an upheaval in the normal day-to-day life of a person not to mention the sentimental value that a goes a long with leaving the memories you may leave behind.

Therefore, finding the right estate agent to help you sell your property can make all the difference to the entire procedure. When you invite a RE/MAX associate to view your property with the intention of listing it for sale within the extremely vast RE/MAX portfolio, you are taking the first step towards a smoother transitional experience, from day one.

Evaluating The Property

RE/MAX sales associates are fully trained in identifying key selling factors in every property they view, no matter how small, large, dilapidated or refined. By talking to you and asking specifically targeted questionsEvaluating a Home in Malta whilst viewing the property alongside you, the associate will be able to qualify your needs and guide you with a plan of action on how to price your property and market it so as to make it more visible to potential buyers. A RE/MAX associate will take location, price and other properties that have been sold as well as listed within the same area in consideration. Special unique characteristics that make your home stand out from the rest will be noted and evaluated.

One must take into consideration that a real estate agent must look at your property from a professional aspect whilst at this stage a home owner is often putting a price on the emotional factors that go with leaving behind a lifetime of memories.

A RE/MAX associate specialises in geographical areas and types of property so that they may focus on understanding the knowledge of a specific market and provide informed guidance. It is understandable to say, “Who does this real estate agent think he is?”, “Who is he/she to put a price on my property?”, But in reality, if the estate agent merely lists your property without asking pertinent questions and does not provide his professional opinion, that should be your cue to ask him/her to leave.

Whilst the property is being listed, the associate will discuss strategy and tips with you so to highlight the most unique aspects of the property. Every property has its very own and unique identifying strong points, but often home owners overlook simple ways they could easily adopt to optimise the value of their property. A RE/MAX associate will help you elevate the property’s standard by providing tips on how to improve its general appearance and how to provide a positive first impression to would-be buyers.

Exclusive Listing Programme – Best Added Value

RE/MAX is the only company in Malta that provides a fully-fledged selling service, which is dedicated to home owners who are motivated to sell. This unique package offers a myriad of marketing benefits including staging and 3D imaging, services the company pioneered in just over three years.

The programme, is an agreement which regulates the relationship between vendor and agency, and provides RE/MAX Exclusive rights to selling your home. An 80% of the homes that are listed into the programme are selling in less than 50 days.

Staging & 3D imaging

Minor cosmetic changes can help stage a property in a big way and the insight of an expert RE/MAX Staging a Home For Saleassociate can quickly guide you, the seller, in the right direction. Owners whose property can be significantly improved in such a way as to impact strongly on the final market value, will be encouraged to make subtle changes so as to show off the property at its very best. Simple basic things such as spring cleaning, changing curtains, moving furniture around and de-cluttering, are the first steps which are generally recommended. Depending on your agreement,the associate will organise a staging procedure, which is included in the Exclusive Listing programme and has proven to be extremely effective. When a property is professionally staged, it can be lifted up a notch or two and attracts more buyers to your door. Another proven method for selling a property is 3D imaging. This procedure is undertaken when a property is not finished or still on plan. RE/MAX will take on the property and bring it to life through digital images.

Questions Answered

Every seller has many questions to ask – Is the price right? How far should I negotiate? What tax implications should I consider? How soon can a contract be signed? A RE/MAX associate will be able to answer all these questions and more. He or she will assist you by making sure to research not only the best way to market the property, but also find potential buyers, fit viewing appointments around your schedule, accompany viewers around the property, advise you on pertinent legal arrangements, guide negotiations, oversee transactions and contractual details, as well as provide practical guidelines linked to the eventual moving of your personal belongings.

More than just a sale

With the assistance of a RE/MAX associate, your property sale experience will be a cut above the rest. Whichever associate tackles your sale, any one of our 220+ associates is fully trained to make sales happen. And with the assistance of a RE/MAX associate, this is not just about the sale. This is all about building a positive sales experience, making your property stand out amongst hundreds if not thousands of properties on the market, and gleaning the best buyer possible.

Definitely more than just a sale.

Selling A Home Professionally

Top of Market Value

Top of Market ValueWhen my son was sick last week I took him to our preferred paediatrician whom my partner and I trust in his competence to diagnose and prescribe any necessary remedies based on his professional competence and his experience in the field of medicine. It is however, not the first time, when my partner and I have decided not to take up the recommendations of a qualified practitioner.

I think that anybody may relate to this story in that we all have an inner gut feeling or an intuition that can sometimes irk us into making our own decisions that we feel are in the best interests of our family.   This analogy can be transferred to several daily scenarios including but not limited to pricing your property.

Just like any professional, the role of an estate agent is to provide a homeowner with the necessary data, market knowledge and experience to make an informed decision. After all, it is the estate agent that views property on a daily basis. It is the estate agent that has historical data to forecast trends and it is the estate agent that has the live database of sold prices of properties in that particular area.

Though probably the most qualified profession to price a property a homeowner will ultimately always make their decision based on a compromise between the advice given from their estate agent, their expectations, the commitments they might have and most importantly their own intuition. More often than not this leads them to try and sell their home at a higher price than that of the market value, which according to statistics from a credible source is on average between 15% and 20%.

Buyer TriangleMarketing a home out of its market value is a common cause of properties remaining unsold for several months. It is proven that the more a property is overpriced the less potential buyers will even want to view a home for sale, whereas the closer one gets to market value the greater amount of potential buyers will want to see a property, enhancing the chances to sell the home. If you see the buyer elimination triangle you will further understand this concept.

Should homeowners consider a professionally equipped real estate agents advice more seriously, they not only would sell their property faster but will also sell at a more reasonable price. This is because potential buyers that view homes for sale marketed on several real estate websites for a long time tend to discount the homes that have remained unsold and eventually homeowners may be subjected to reducing their property price beyond market value. If a homeowner markets their property closer to market value with some room for negotiation the usual occurrence is that the home will sell at the top of market value.

A real estate agent should have the tools to sit down with a homeowner and provide what we call a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA compares property listings that are similar to the home in question against sold properties of the same. By comparing historical data and present market information an estate agent should have the competence to narrow down an accurate valuation together with the homeowner.

The price of a home is one of the major factors that will define the length of time it will take to sell as well as the selling price of a property. There are other factors that will assist you in selling your home, including the presentation of your home and small enhancements that may also improve the value of a property. These tips and more maybe found out by your local estate agent.

The real estate agent is today’s market has changed into a profession where real estate companies are investing thousands of euros in training their staff and associates so that they will be able to provide a superior service to their customers. A professionally equipped estate agent will be able to provide the necessary exposure as well as competent seasoned professionals agents to provide the qualified guidance required in order to secure a timely sale of a property.

This article was published in part on the Sunday Times of Malta on the 8th of February.





Estate Agents | An Uncertain Certainty

Estate agents - an Uncertain Certainty - Honey Valley Mosta

In life there are, as wise men and women say, only very few certainties. One, unfortunately for people who think they will live forever, is dreaded death. The other, even more unfortunately for us all, is unavoidable Estate agency Incertain Certainty tax. Another certainty that can be added is that people don’t really like real estate agents. Some people even try hard to avoid them when selling or buying their property.

People sometimes use estate agents because they feel forced into it—and then gradually they realise that estate agents are hardly ogres who eat in their profits and are in fact good associates. When people use their services they realise that life without them is tough and less lucrative, and as Brian Micallef says “especially if they are as good and dependable as RE/MAX.”

The usual feeling about estate agents—and not just about the rogues out there or the inefficient ones—is that doing without their services means you earn more money. To most people who start dabbling in property the mantra “no agents” sounds like a cash register in their brain.

That was Brian Micallef’s line of thought. Brian works for an established contractor, Devlands, is the son of one of its founders and also runs his own company in construction and property development.

After being gently asked by Carmen Valletta, one of the RE/MAX agents working out of RE/MAX Crown Towers office, to place his properties on their database, Brain gave in and got them listed—a bit reluctantly at first. Soon after the interest in his properties grew and he never looked back.

He now says that the choice of RE/MAX was providential. Sales happened, the way the estate agents operated was close to perfect and he underwent a complete conversion—his aversion to estate agents became a true belief in RE/MAX and all they say.

“The money which seems lost in agency fees is way compensated,” Brian tells me “by the service, the promptness, the advice and the actual sale time. With RE/MAX things move and they know the market inside out. They do not, as I would have done if I did it alone, waste time chasing people who are not the right buyers for my properties. And with their knowledge and sales technique they actually achieve a proper and better deal. So the idea that you make more money without agents is totally mistaken.”

Brian was all praise for RE/MAX but he also said that he now believes that all agents who work professionally render a great service to the developers, the sellers and also the buyers. Less time wasted, more certainty of sale to the right person—what more can one ask for?

Brian is a quiet man but one who is resolute and ambitious. However, his ambition does not make him arrogant and he is very down-to-earth. In fact he phoned me to move our appointment by 15 minutes as he was stuck in traffic while picking up his daughter from school and was very apologetic about the delay, which in reality was no more than 10 minutes.Estate agents - an Uncertain Certainty - Honey Valley Mosta

There are quite a few pointers connected to that phone call. He’s obviously a usually punctual person which in his work as contractor, developer and project manager is a great plus. And as I found out when I checked about him he delivers—on time every time.

The phone call also proved how polite he is. And he takes time off—properly planned—from his busy schedule to meet one of his daughters from school to take her home. And as we talk about family life he goes on to tell me that he does spend a lot of quality time with his children and his wife. Life is hardly just money, apartments and sales—life is about enjoying it.

“The thing that gives me most satisfaction in building,” Brian tells me “is when I start something from scratch and develop it completely. Seeing the land being cleared, the foundations laid, the walls and floors erected. And then being able to compare the empty space that preceded your work with the end result is exhilarating.”

“And what,” I ask Brian “is your main ambition?” I imagined he would mention something extravagant, a tower on the lines of Babel—but all he asks is that his life “is quite comfortable and to leave a few apartments for my two girls,” he tells me most matter-of-factly.

Brian developed a range of apartments in Mosta and most have already been sold on plan by RE/MAX. Brian is full of praise for the whole philosophy of RE/MAX and for their people. In fact he has recommended them to a number of friends and clients—and all have been as satisfied as him.

Life without death and taxes could be interesting. But, without RE/MAX or agents as good as them, selling and buying property would be a major headache.

By Victor Calleja