Sell Your Property in Malta Guide

We get it - selling your house can feel stressful and daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. With the right guidance and preparation, getting a house valuation and selling your home can be straightforward - dare we say, even enjoyable. Read on for our guide to selling your house and discover the steps to ensure your sale goes as smoothly as possible. 

1. Sort out your finances

First, check your mortgage terms (if you have one) to find out if you’ll have to pay any penalties for selling at this point. If you’re on a standard variable-rate mortgage, you should be fine. If you’re still in the introductory phase of a mortgage, ask your lender if you can ‘port’ it (keep your existing deal for a new home). If that’s not an option, you might need to pay an early repayment charge to your lender. 

These charges can be expensive. But it might still be more cost-effective overall to pay them and sell than to stay put, depending on what interest rate you pay now versus what you could get on a new mortgage. 

As well as your mortgage costs, you’ll need to consider whether you can afford to move house. Planning to buy somewhere more expensive? Now's the time to find out how much you can afford to borrow. Remember to factor in stamp duty, estate agent fees, legal fees, and Capital Gains Tax (if the property you’re selling isn’t your main home). It’s worth speaking to an independent mortgage broker who can help you determine how much you could borrow. 

Is your property’s lease coming to an end? Homes with long leases are more attractive to buyers. If you’re selling a leasehold property, paying to extend it now might improve your chances of selling. It’s more expensive to extend leases once they drop below 80 years, so if you only have 90 years remaining, it could put buyers off. And if there are less than 80 years left, a buyer might even struggle to get a mortgage. So if your lease is in the double digits, it’s worth sorting it out now. 

2. Decide if you should rent or buy 

Your choice will probably come down to why you want to sell. You have three main options here:

Sell to buy straightaway

This is you if you want to sell your current property so that you can buy somewhere else and move in immediately. The benefit of this option is that everything is done at once - you can use the same solicitor to sell your property and buy your new home, and you only have to move once. 

But this can be more stressful because you can end up in two chains with more potential for things to go wrong. This also makes you less attractive to buyers and sellers. 

Sell to buy later on

Similar to the option above, but instead of buying a new place straightaway, you move into temporary accommodation first - such as renting or living with family or friends. This can be a smart option if you’re relocating and want to get used to a new area before you commit to buying. It does mean you’ll move twice, but there’s less time pressure on you to find a house you like. Plus, you’ll have no chain when you come to buy, which could help you stand out from the crowd. 

A potential added cost to factor in here is renting. Try not to commit to a long-term fixed tenancy, so you have more flexibility about when you move out and buy again. House prices might go up between you selling your house and buying a new one, and you’ll also need to decide how and where you want to store the money you get from selling your property. 

Sell without plans to buy

The third option is moving into a permanent living arrangement which doesn’t involve buying a house. You may have decided to rent instead, move abroad, or live with family. In this scenario, you don’t need to worry about a chain, and you’ll be mortgage-free. But you’ll want to think carefully about what you do with the money you’ll get from your property sale.

3. Organise paperwork

Your solicitor and estate agent will need various documents and information from you during your sale, so it makes sense to sort these out now. The first place to check is your paperwork from when you first bought the property, as most of what you’ll need now will likely be found somewhere in there.

The paperwork you’re looking for will include:

  • Land Registry title documents
  • Electrical and water bills
  • Planning permission for any major work carried out
  • Building regulation completion and builder’s guarantee certificates (if relevant)
  • Damp and subsidence guarantees/warranties

If you bought your house recently, you should have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). They’re valid for 10 years, so assuming you’ve not done anything to affect the rating, you can reuse the same certificate. If not, now’s the time to get a new one.

4. Get your house looking great

It’s time to spruce up your home! First, remove clutter and get your house looking clean and tidy. You want to create a blank canvas for potential buyers to imagine how they might put their own stamp on it. Remember curb appeal, too - many people will decide whether they’re interested in buying a house before they’ve even set foot inside. So make sure your front garden looks its best, mend any broken fences, and clean your windows. 

Beyond that, you might want to consider some home improvements. Just remember to think about how much you spend on renovations or redecoration, and whether you’ll make that money back from selling your house. And consider cheaper ways to breathe fresh life into the property - a simple lick of paint and some cleverly hung mirrors can go a long way. 

If you suspect your house has some significant issues that will scare off buyers, get a home survey done to find out what the problems are and how much they will cost to fix. Then you can decide whether to get these sorted and factor them into the asking price. 

5. Book a valuation

Getting your asking price right is vital. Too low, and you could sell for less than you should, but price it too high, and you might put off potential buyers. Do your research and get to know the local market - what prices have similar properties sold for recently? And how long did they take to sell? 

Buyers will probably try to negotiate, so factor this into your asking price. But be realistic about your property when making comparisons, and avoid getting fixated on sticking to a higher price if your research says differently. 

Once you’ve done your own research, it’s sensible to get a few property valuations to compare numbers. Don't worry if you use a different estate agent to sell your property - how you sell and who you choose is entirely up to you. Although it’s tempting to go with whoever gives you the highest estimate, remember that somewhere in the middle of your valuations is probably the best and most realistic option. Ask agents to explain how they reached their valuations and how many similar properties they’ve sold in the last few months. Ultimately, what asking price you decide to go with is your decision. However, having estate agent opinions that back up your pricing can help you feel more confident about selling.

6. Market your property

It’s time to choose how you want to market your property. You can sell your home yourself or use an estate agent - either high street or online. When selecting an agent, you want someone who will represent your property in the best possible way. Ask how quickly they sell properties, how many they’ve sold, and how likely they will be to get you your asking price. Remember to find out how easy it is to get in touch with someone if you have questions. 

Agents will usually charge a fee to sell your property. Some base this on a percentage of the house sale, while others use a flat fee. While selling your house yourself is free, it can be stressful and time-consuming, so making the right decision for you and your situation is key. 

If you choose an estate agent, they’ll send a photographer to take professional photos of your home. Make sure it’s spotless and tidy - moving clutter from one room to the next while each is photographed if you need to. 

Estate agents will handle all the marketing for you. They will also usually offer to do the viewings on your behalf, or you can do these yourself. Either way, remember to make sure your house is clean, tidy, and looking its best for every showing.

7. Hire a solicitor 

Not the most exciting step in the house-selling process, but you’ll need to hire a solicitor or conveyancer to deal with the legal work of transferring ownership from you to your buyer. 

It makes sense to get quotes from more than one option, so you can compare fees, quality, and the service they’re offering. You'll need to wait until you have an offer before formally instructing a solicitor. Still, the sooner you choose one, the less likely you will face delays when you have a keen buyer ready.

8. Accept your best offer

With any luck, you’ll soon start getting offers on your property. If you get offers lower than your asking price, you can either reject them or come back with a counteroffer that you would be willing to accept. This starts a negotiation process, which your agent can handle if you have one. 

Remember that your ‘best’ offer is not necessarily your highest. For example, accepting an offer from a cash or first-time buyer with no chain may mean there’s less chance of things going wrong later in the process. So a slightly lower offer from a buyer like this might be better than a higher offer from a financially risky or difficult buyer. 

Other factors to consider include:

  • Is the offer enough for you to afford your next property?
  • Is the offer fair - for example, is it close to the valuation, and what other houses are selling for?
  • If the offer is low, is it for an acceptable reason - for example, the buyer would need to carry out repairs?
  • How quickly do you need to sell?
  • How likely is the buyer to increase their offer?
  • How long has your property been on the market?
  • Are there other potential buyers interested?
  • What’s the market like - are other houses in your area struggling to sell?
  • Have you already reduced your asking price?

Once you’ve got an offer you’re happy with, you’re ready to formally accept. This is a moment of celebration, but you’re not on firm ground just yet. Remember that your property is legally sold when you’ve exchanged written contracts with the buyer.

9. Negotiate the draft contract and exchange

It’s time for you and your buyer to decide: 

What fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale (and how much)

Decide what you definitely do and don’t want to take with you and what you’re flexible about if the buyer makes you a good enough offer. Include in the contract what you intend to leave behind - either for free or for an extra cost - so you have a written agreement with your buyer. 

How long do you want between the exchange and the completion 

Once contracts are signed and exchanged, your buyer pays a deposit, and things become legally binding. This is a key milestone in the selling process and (another) reason to celebrate. From here on in, everyone is less likely to pull out of the sale because doing so is costly. 

Choose a completion date - the date you receive payment and agree to hand the keys over to your buyer - that works with whatever accommodation you're moving into. Let your buyer know if you have upcoming holidays that might affect when you're available to complete.

10. Complete the sale 

The day has finally come - you’re ready to complete. Some people move out on the same day, but you can move out earlier if you prefer and have accommodation ready to move into. Before you leave, ensure you’ve taken all your belongings and any rubbish, and left behind anything that was agreed in the contract. 

Completion officially happens once the property changes ownership, you accept payment and hand over the keys. Any deeds for the house will be transferred from your solicitor to your buyer, and your solicitor will register the transfer of ownership with the Land Register.

A lot of complex money transfers might be taking place on your completion date. Delays can happen, so check in with your solicitor for progress updates throughout the day to help quickly resolve any issues. 

11. Settle your fees

After completion, your solicitor will send a final bill covering all their costs and the outstanding amount on your mortgage - called the redemption fee. Your solicitor will pay the redemption using the money from your buyer. Final energy and water bills can be large - especially if you've been paying for estimated usage and are now in arrears. So keep some money back for these if you can.

Take note of your final gas and electricity readings, too, in case you're overcharged.

Once you’ve moved out, don’t forget to update your new address with the following:

  • Local authorities
  • Utility and water providers
  • GP
  • Insurance companies
  • DVLA (if you have a driving license)
  • Bank account and pension providers
  • Mobile phone, TV, and internet providers
  • Vet (if you have a pet - particularly if you need to change micro-chip details)

Selling your house FAQS

How long have you been in this business?

With over 20 years of experience, our agents are friendly, professional, and keen to offer you their dedicated expertise.

What is the best way to sell your house?

There’s no right or wrong way to sell your house - it all depends on your circumstances. Whether you want to sell your home through an estate agent or do it yourself, follow our steps above to help the process go as smoothly as possible. 

What should you avoid when selling your house?

Our steps above list some common pitfalls to avoid when selling your house. 

What if you don't get any offers?

Don't despair. If your property has been on the market for a while and you haven't had any offers, talk to your estate agent and get their opinion on why this is. You can lower the price, use different photos, or even take it off the market and put it back on when conditions improve. Alternatively, if your estate agent isn't working hard enough, find a new one to relist your property with.

What if there are problems in your chain?

Chains can be tricky because the whole chain can be affected if one buyer or seller is delayed or fails. But don’t panic. Ask your solicitor and estate agent to find out as much as possible about the issues and what - if anything - can be done about them. Once you have all the information, you can decide whether to wait it out or find a new buyer. 

Is it worth doing up your house before selling?

While it makes sense to get your house looking its best before you list it, be mindful that you don’t want to spend more on doing it up than you will make back when you come to sell. 

What is the normal fee for selling a house?

How much you pay to sell your house will depend on many factors, such as if you use an estate agent, whether it's your main home, and if you need to pay early mortgage repayment fees. 

Want help selling your home?

As one of Gozo's leading estate agents, Giovanni Estates knows a thing or two about selling homes. We don’t charge a commission or a percentage of the sale price. Instead, we charge a fair fixed fee, so you know exactly what you’ll pay from the start. 

Our local experts know their patch inside out and are on hand round the clock, seven days a week. We’ll list your property on our books which will be booseted in several social media. So why not book a free house valuation to sell your home hassle-free? 


Giovanni Real Estate

One of the successful real estate agency in the Maltese Islands offering property for sale and turnkey solutions in Malta and Gozo. A vast range of,Apartments, Penthouses Maisonettes, Terraced Houses, Traditional Farmhouses, Houses of character ,Bungalows, Villas, Commercial outlets, property investments and properties for sale are available in Malta and Gozo.

Check out our website, the best place to start your real estate search. You can also contact our real estate agent for a customized selection of the property types you are interested in, including professional advice and opinion.