Monthly Archives: January 2015

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

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: