Buying your first home ever is always a great milestone and a pretty exciting time in life. Most people look back on their first-time property purchase with wizened mind, knowing full well just how many things they could have done differently for a smoother or easier outcome. Having been through the process with many first-time buyers in Malta we've put together some great for you to follow to make your experience a special one.

Start small

It may be idyllic to dream of a three bedroomed, two storey house with front and back garden, three car garage and pool, but if you are just starting out in life, it may be simply more practical to buy a modest apartment with two bedrooms and work your way up the property ladder in tandem with your steps up the career ladder.

Bargain hunt with awareness.

Where property is involved, not all bargains are good bargains. When a price is way too low in comparison with the market, it would be wise to double check things and not rush in. Speak to your real estate agent and get advice. 

Think of your budget

Before you embark on house hunting expeditions, think of how you will be financing the purchase. If you envisage a bank loan, shop around the different banks to see which bank will be willing to lend you money and to what extent. Once you have this loan amount in mind, you can proceed to decide what you can actually afford. Don't forget the costs of Notarial Fees and Stamp Duty, whilst you will need a deposit of minimum 10%.

Select a reputable Real Estate agency

The right agent can make it all come together brilliantly. The house hunt and house viewings, the relationship with the sellers, the legal aspects, the bank loan, and the works. Don't proceed without the guidance of a good estate agent who knows his or her stuff well and is especially knowledgeable in the localities and property genre you are after. 

View at different times

Ask to view a property you like at different times of day to see the light levels and get general feel of the property throughout the day.

Seek expert advice

Once you find a property you like, take an architect of your acquaintance along to inspect the property for you. The seller might offer to send you his or her trusted architect but it is the unspoken praxis in property buying, that the buyer brings his or her own architect for an unbiased opinion. The architect will gauge safety issues, structural issues, ask the seller pertinent questions related to building permits.  He or she will note things you will not, and  advise you accordingly. Eventually if the purchase proceeds, the architect's assistance will be invaluable in the process of checking planning authority permits, applying for new ones and obtaining required documentation to complement the final sales contract.

Take a Step Back  

The property you want to buy may seem like the dream of your life, but take a step back before agreeing to anything. Take time to check the neighbourhood at different times of day and different days of the week. Rowdy neighbours may only get rowdy late at night when you would want to rest, and if this happens every day of the week, you'll have problems. Does the supermarket round the corner have a store across the street from your front door? Does this mean you will have trucks and vans unloading merchandise all day long, Monday to Saturday? What will the parking be like? Obviously viewing on a Sunday will not expose any of such weekday activity.

Check what is common

If you intend to purchase an apartment in a block, ask to read the common parts condominium agreement and note whether any of the conditions are being respected. Common parts play a vital role in the happy sharing of an apartment block and disrespect of such conditions may become cause of disputes.

Check what stays

Before signing agreements, sit down with seller and take note of exactly what the seller is promising to leave behind - water heater, air conditioners, kitchen appliances, any furnishings. It will save you a lot of expensive surprises. 

Leave deposit with the Notary

During the promise of sale agreement you will be required to pay a deposit to the seller. It is wise to leave the deposit in the custody of the notary until the final contract is written and signed. This to safeguard you in case the sale falls through and you need to get your deposit refunded.

We hope that the above ideas may guide you more carefully in finding your first home without any unnecessary disappointment that may arise without knowing understanding the nooks and crannies of purchasing a home.  First time buyers do not have to fall in the traps if they deal with a professional real estate agent.

We've put together a great list of first-time buyer properties for you to kick start your search:

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