Posts By: Luke Scicluna

Staging A Home For Sale

Staging a Home for Sale

Staging a Home for SaleWhen guests are coming to your home, you probably go to great pains to prepare for the visit even if they are just popping in for drinks, a bit more if they’re invited to dinner, let alone if they are staying for a whole weekend. Preparations are made to tidy the house, to clean out the bathroom, to remove clutter, and perhaps to add a few touches to make the house look even better that it usually does. In short, you set the stage for a warm welcome.

Fast forward to preparing your home for a sale, where things are just that little bit different. You are not welcoming guests, but rather expecting to open your home to total strangers. Yours will be just one other property on their list of properties to view for the day. They will step in, look around critically, spend a few minutes whispering between themselves and asking questions to you or the estate agent, and then walk back out again. A few minutes and it’s done. If they like it, they will stay longer and show some form of interest. If they don’t, goodbye and carry on.

What does this mean? Basically that in order to make a sale, you need to impress the people who walk in. The quicker you do so, the quicker you sell. Therefore, you need to set the stage for a sale. That is basically what staging is all about.

Staging experts do exist and you might be inclined to ask your Malta estate agent to recommend somebody who is proficient in staging properties, especially if you have very little time to dedicate to this process. However if you can dedicate time to stage your property yourself, there are simple and straightforward steps which you can adopt and carry out regularly to keep the house ship-shape as long as it takes to secure a sale.

  • Look at each room and picture a photo of it in a magazine. Would it look right? If the answer is no, start correcting the correctable. People love stepping into a clean and uncluttered home but before you start cleaning you have to clear up. Clearing up is not just about putting things in their place although that is technically the first step in the process.
  • Put everything in its assigned place, then proceed by checking damages. Soiled things must be cleaned, replaced or removed. Broken things must be removed whilst they are being repaired, replaced if they are indispensable. Things which look worse for wear, such as frayed carpets, should be removed immediately.
  • Try to maximise floor space in each and every room. Remember that clutter also refers to things which are not positioned in the most suitable place in a room. So for instance if you have excessive furnishings around the room, no matter how stylish they are, if they are taking up space uselessly, perhaps you should move them elsewhere or give them away. Give each room space to be appreciated.
  • Polish key items in a room. Mirrors, glossy furniture, glass, crystal…. Anything that is supposed to have a high shine, should be just so.
  • Air each room for some time every day by opening up those windows and letting fresh air come in. This will give the house a chance become refreshed from stale smells and fumes that build up when a room is not aired on a regular basis.
  • Add fresh plants and fresh flowers to the rooms which are most prominent – hallways, living rooms.
  • Fix lighting where it does not function. It can be embarrassing to be asked to light up a dim room and find the lights are just not working.
  • Freshen up the front door with a new front door mat, polish the brass knocker, clean the door from soiled finger-marks. Add a potted plant.
  • Make sure the bathroom is tidy. Prepare some perfumed candles and light them up before the guests arrive.
  • Get all the family to collaborate on the staging process. Even small children will join in to help if you turn it into a game – pretend it’s a competition, that the visitors are judges deciding who has the best house of all and that you want to win the competition!

Remember, when you are actually selling your home you have to take an objective look. Look around and try and put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. We totally recommend that you see further advise from a Malta real estate agent.

RE/MAX & Friends Supports Pink October

RE/MAX & Friends Foundation, the charitable organisation recently founded by RE/MAX Malta, the real estate company, is supporting “Pink October”.an endeavor in aid of breast cancer awareness throughout the month of October.

As part of its corporate social responsibility programme, the company launched the foundation this July in the presence of Her Excellency, The President of Malta, Mrs. Marie-Louise Preca and were officially presented with the certification at the end of September 2014. The RE/MAX & Friends foundation was founded to raise funds to assist individuals and foundations that are battling against chronic diseases.

This is the first official supporting role as a charitable organization and it is very close to the founding members hearts.  Kevin Buttigieg, a member of the board of the foundation said, “Pink October is in line with our foundation’s objectives to give back to the community part of our profits.

RE/MAX & Friends Foundation is presently funded solely through real estate transactions, whereby from each sale or rental of a property, the RE/MAX office that made the transaction donates a percentage towards the charity.   Pink October is the start of something according to RE/MAX may raise in access of €70, 000 in its first year in operation.

Speaking about RE/MAX and Friends, foundation board member Michael Bonello said, “We are very please with the results so far however we plan on coordinating events and other fundraising activities in the future.”

First-Time Buyers Trends In Malta

With first-time buyers taking up a good solid chunk of the real-estate market, and with the year 2014 coming to an end, estate agents take stock of how sales in this segment have fared and why. Fact is that all first-time buyers have enjoyed making property purchases all through the year, thanks to the November 2013 budget proposal which was further extended into 2015 as announced during the recent November 2014 budget. This proposal has seen would-be property owners enjoying an exemption from duty payments on the first  Euros 150,000 spent on the purchase of a first property.  This tangibly translates in a saving of some Euro 5250 for each buyer, whether the buyer is a Maltese national, a foreigner  or a non-resident. RE/MAX estate agent Patrick Spiteri  of Re-max South  confirms, “Whether single or whether as a  couple,  first-time buyers are usually hampered by a number of punishing elements mainly their limited budgets.

A typical first-time buyer is usually young, and even if in a professional status, he/she finds limited funds with which to start off  property shopping. However, this tax concession has helped a lot of people to invest in their first property with further ease. The extra saving is used to fund furnishings or to purchase a garage or perhaps invest in a slightly larger property.  First-time buyers normally seek two-bedroom apartments with properties in the south generally starting in the region of  Euro 100,000 – Euro 110,000 ,  going slightly higher in central and northern Malta at Euro 130,000 – Euro 150,000.

These price brackets are determined by location, finish of property, number of bedrooms, whether the property is furnished or not…. ” Mr Spiteri explains that young and inexperienced property buyers often come up with very strange requests, expecting  to purchase something which is very attractive, but not realising that they are going completely out of budget. “At RE/MAX Malta we help our clients contact banks and other professionals such as notaries or lawyers so that they start their experience in the world of property search on the right foot and well-informed with full awareness of their monetary limitations. We are very aware of property laws, which I for one have learned over my seven years of experience with RE/MAX. Yes indeed, some do strike lucky landing exceptional price reductions on properties which are being sold by owners who need to cash in quickly or want to get sell a property fast. But striking lucky does not happen often.”

From a totally different part of Malta, Dirk Debono an estate agent based at RE/MAX in St Julian’s,  says, “It is very fortunate that the tax concession on stamp duty has been extended since we have experienced a huge boom in first-time property sales this past year. First-time property buyers are not just single people or new couples, but sometimes we get clients who seek to purchase a property as a rental investment, especially since rentals are very strong at the moment. We have a lot of people who come to Malta to purchase property, especially people who work in i-gaming, or people who come from the Middle East. ”

Mr Debono points out that some unexpected locations are becoming increasingly in demand as rental investments, such as the location of Gzira since it is close proximity to the University of Malta and to the Sliema/St Julian’s area. “People who intend to purchase a first property as an investment are careful to purchase where there is high renting potential. Obviously, a three-bedroom  apartment in Mosta  or Naxxar may be bigger in size but not necessarily enjoy renting potential as would property in key locations such as Msida, Floriana, Valletta or Sliema.”

 

Article by: Marika Azzopardi

Marika Azzopardi is a freelance writer and journalist. A frequent contributor to national English language papers and magazines, she writes about a bevy of topics including art, people and life in general. She is also the author of children’s books and short stories, delving into adult fiction from time to time.

RE/MAX Opens Office In Portomaso Marina

RE/MAX Malta has expand its operations with the opening of new office at the Portomaso Marina.  The office aims to cater for the needs of the strong high-end client base as well as those customers located in the central areas of Malta.  The office will form part of RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists, which is located in Tigne Point.

RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists, Tigne Point were recognised last year as the runner up in total volume sales and the winner in property sales per capita within the RE/MAX Malta group.  The franchise owners are made up of Mauro Sammut, Philip Incorvaja, Darren Frendo and Kevin, Jeffrey and Joe Buttigieg. 

Speaking about the new franchise, Kevin Buttigieg, CEO of RE/MAX Malta said “At Portomaso we will be in a position to offer a holistic real estate service to a vast selection of clientele including those interested in high-end property investments such as Portomaso. “ Mr Buttigieg added that, “It is a great achievement for RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists to be opening their second office and we are positive that it will be a great success.”

The company is already operating with seven associates under the guidance of co-franchise owner Mauro Sammut, the office manager.  Mr Sammut said, “We have recruited a mixture of seasoned agents as well as promising associates that have a future ahead of them. In the near future we plan to recruit more associates to our team.”

This year RE/MAX Malta has opened RE/MAX Bay Street, RE/MAX Executives in Ta L-Ibragg, an office in St. Paul’s Bay and now RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Portomaso.  The RE/MAX Malta network today consists of seventeen offices and over two hundred and twenty sales and letting associates.

For information about properties in Portomaso go to RE.MAX Malta Website page: http://www.remax-malta.com/portomaso-malta-search.aspx