You must first choose in which area you want to live in, and the services you might want to have nearby (schools, restaurants…). As soon as you have found the property, go and take a look at it and make an offer or discuss the price with the seller. It’s recommended you liaise with an estate agent and use a notary to ensure everything is legal and processed correctly.
Once you have agreed on a selling price, you will have to sign a Preliminary Agreement, also called Promise of Sale, or Konvenju. This document is binding and stipulates the date on which every detail of the sale should be completed, the price of the deposit, the Stamp Duty (Property Purchase Tax) and the terms of payment.
While the estate agent is only in charge of the marketing aspect of the sale, the notary will check for the legal title of the property as well as any outstanding debts, mortgages on the property. The notary will help you avoid any traps you may come across and give you good advice on what to do if you notice something wrong after the sale.
Once every detail is in place, the date of the Final Deed will be set. The deed is usually signed at the bank or at the notary’s office: at this point you will have to transfer the purchasing amount to the seller, the balance due to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue for stamp duties and, finally, the fees for the notary and the agent. You are now the owner of your property and you can move in!
Non-Maltese citizens are usually not permitted to let their residence. When you purchase your house, your objective must be personal residential use. However, properties bought in Special Designated Areas may be leased out when you are away, for example. To let your property in Malta, you will need a renting permit.