First, you need to know what kind of property you are looking for. Are you alone or do you have a family? Will you be looking for a flat in the center, or a villa in the mountains, overlooking the sea? Do you need schools, restaurants, shops or markets nearby? Once you have those details in mind, it is time for you to seek the help of a real estate agent.
How to choose your real estate agent
Upon meeting with an agent, it is important that you ask all your questions right away to know what you’re getting into: what do they charge, how do they operate, when can you meet, how can you reach them, are property prices negotiable, and so on.
First, look for a local agent. Malta may be a small country, but an agency that covers both Malta and Gozo for instance probably won’t know enough details about specific areas. So narrow down your ideal location and choose an agent who works in the area you have chosen.
Meet with several agents. Buying property is not a small matter, it is therefore okay to take your time and go with the agent you feel most comfortable with. Be careful, as most agents will of course tell you what you want to hear - if it sounds too perfect, it probably is. Asking your friends or coworkers if they ever worked with a specific agent and if that agent was reliable is not a bad idea either.
Good agents normally don’t stay at their desk all day long. Although you probably will first meet your agent in their office, you should not be spending all your time there. The agent must determine your expectations during the first meeting by asking you specific questions such as: what you are looking for, how much you are looking to spend, how many bedrooms, garden, location etc.
Your agent must be available, use the latest technology, and know what they are talking about. If they are too busy for you or if you seem to know more about the house and neighbourhood than they do, you should find another one.
Ask to see several properties. Even if you think the first one you saw is the one you want, you might want to see what else is available. Your agent should also understand that you need to take your time before making a decision - if they don't have time for you, another one will.
Before you arrive in Malta use one of the many online property portals to check average prices and to get an idea of what to expect. There are numerous dedicated real estate websites and seeing their choice might help you decide if you want to contact them. You can also check the Just Landed housing ads in Malta which has a very active rental and property sector.