Why Buying a New Home in Malta Could Be Right for You

Although older homes tend to have character and charm, there are several pitfalls that people don’t necessarily consider before they purchase. These include the need for modernisation and renovation, maintenance work and possible problems with ensuring that all the paperwork pertaining to it are in order.

This is why you should consider buying a new home in Malta. There are numerous benefits to doing so, which we’ve outlined for you below. Here’s why we believe that buying a new home in Malta is the right decision for you:

Less Maintenance

Older homes in Malta tend to require much more maintenance than a brand-new home would. In fact, if you buy a brand-new home, you probably only need to worry about minimal maintenance work for the first few years of ownership.

Modern Conveniences

Is an en-suite bathroom a must? Perhaps you’re insistent on a built-in dishwasher, or having CCTV coverage and the ability to swipe yourself into your apartment block. A new home in Malta is much more likely to have most, if not all, of the modern conveniences that we’ve all become accustomed to.

Increased Energy Efficiency

New Homes in Malta are likely to have insulation in the walls and ceilings, as well as double-glazed windows. In some cases, it’s also possible to buy properties that have solar panels and solar water heaters for the best-possible energy efficiency. These energy savers are usually not part and parcel of an older home.

No Need for Renovation

An older home in Malta is likely to need substantial renovation work when purchasing it. This is generally the case as there are probably rooms to be brought up to modern standards, roofs to be repaired, plumbing to be changed and electrical wiring to be redone in order to make it habitable. This will not be the case when purchasing a brand-new home.  Another benefit would be that the layout of a new home can be altered to your taste. 

Everything is Brand-new

From the paint on the walls, to the fixtures and fittings in the bathroom, to the kitchen appliances, a brand new home is just that – brand new. That means that there’s likely absolutely nothing you have to do in order to move in to the place – except, perhaps, choosing the must have furnishings you’ve been eyeing!

Increased Affordability

As a result of all the above, a new home in Malta tends to be a whole lot more affordable than an older one, simply because there is much less to be done when moving into a new home, if anything at all.

GAP Homes – Homes For Today, and For Years to Come

At GAP Homes, we pride ourselves on our varied and high-quality portfolio of new properties that we have available for you to view. We are committed to helping you find that perfect place you can call home – both now, and well into the future.

How to Make Working from Home Work for You

The advent of the coronavirus pandemic has altered our lives in ways that were previously unimaginable, not least our working lives. If, like so many of us, you happen to be working from home these days, you might be asking yourself how you can create a dedicated home working space that works for you. Here are a few things for you to consider:

1. Choose Your Space

When it comes to a choosing a location or space for working from home, try to choose somewhere that’s as far away from your main living space as possible. This will allow you to avoid distraction from other goings-on in your home. You’ll also need to consider the distance between your WiFi router and where you’ll be sitting – it might be worth investing in a WiFi extender if needed.

Also consider setting up your home working space near a window that allows you to see out. If said window overlooks some greenery or has a nice view, all the better. Allowing yourself to see out as you work will have a soothing effect on you.

2. Pick Your Furniture

At the most basic level, you’ll need a good desk and a comfortable chair for working from home. Try going for a desk that’s height-adjustable to prevent sitting hunched over, and which allows you to work standing up if you feel the need to.

An ergonomic swivel chair will save you plenty of discomfort and backache – consider just how much time you’ll actually spend sitting in it throughout the day. When it comes to these two essential pieces of furniture, it’s better to spend a little more money – it will do wonders for your productivity.

3. Lighting

The key here is to have a working from home space that’s exposed to as much natural light as possible. This is because working in natural light will be great for your eyesight, as well as have a positive effect on your mood and productivity.

When it comes to the electric lighting you use, consider buying an articulated desk lamp for focusing your attention on particular tasks. Also think about where shadows from your lighting are going to fall as you work, as well as whether your computer monitor will be exposed to glare from a light source.

Working under the direct glare of overhead lighting is a no-no – try using lampshades for your light sources, as well as upwards-shining floor lamps to bounce light off of walls and ceilings. You should aim to illuminate your entire space without creating a glare or casting shadows.

4. Storage

If you’re working at home, you’re bound to have important documents and other items that you’ll need to store. Go with a set of labeled shelves, or get yourself a nice set drawers and/or a little filing cabinet. Unless your job requires specialised storage, having these items will help you keep organised.

5. Add a Personal Touch

Some ideas for adding a personal touch to your home working space include adding a photo frame or two with photos of your favourite memories, a home-made desk decoration made by your kids (if you happen to have any), placing your favourite motivational quote on the wall, or even incorporating your favourite colours into the space by adding soft furnishings, stationery, coasters and wall prints.

GAP’s 5 Top Tips for Home Working in Malta

One of the biggest areas of many of our lives impacted by the coronavirus pandemic is our working lives. There are many individuals that are now working from home on a permanent basis. Here’s how to get in the zone with GAP’s top tips for home working:

1. Create the Right Workspace for Home Working

You’ll likely be spending a fair amount of time seated at your workspace, so make sure you have a height-adjustable desk and an ergonomic chair for home working. Use soft lighting that doesn’t cause any glare or shadows as you work, and try to set your workspace up in such a way that you’re abler to look outside. Having adequate storage is also important for keeping yourself organised. A potted plant or two, along with personal touches such as cherished photos or motivational quotes, won’t go amiss.

2. Separate Working and Living Spaces

One of the best things you can do to create an effective workspace for home working is to separate the concepts of “home” and “office” as much as possible. Even if you don’t have a dedicated room that you can turn into an office space, aim to dedicate a corner or area of a room to your work. The key here is to allow yourself a transition between your work life and your home life. Ensure that your workspace is as far away from the main living space in your home as possible.

3. Be Disciplined With Your Time

Separating your working and domestic lives can be a challenge, not least when it comes to time management. Be sure to work when you’re supposed to be working, and living the rest of your life when you’re not. In other words, start working at the time you would if you were still at the office, and stop working when it would be time to leave. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take regular breaks or get some fresh air if you need to – the intention here is prevent your work and recreational time from spilling into and mixing with each other.

4. Set Clear Goals for Yourself

Reaching your goals in any aspect of life is about breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps, and formulating a plan that allows you to achieve each of those steps in turn. Try planning your working week on both a daily and weekly level, and divide the tasks you have at hand in two – smaller tasks and big-picture projects. Set individual deadlines for individual goals to keep yourself productive and motivated.

5. Place Emphasis on Your Mental Health

Use the breaks you allow yourself to do some exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block or some stretching. Not only will help you physically, but just a little time spent exercising each day can improve your memory, boost concentration and help your mental health. You should also consider your individual needs, for instance if you happen to be somewhat of an extrovert, dedicate time to spend with family and friends after your working day is over.

Finding Your First Home on the Maltese Property Market

Searching for your first home on the Maltese property market can be a daunting prospect, but it really doesn’t have to be if you break down the process into small, manageable steps. Here’s how to get the ball rolling when buying your first home on the property market:

Check How Much You Can Borrow From a Bank

If you’re considering buying your first home, you’ll likely need financing to be able to cover the balance additional to your down-payment (deposit). You will need to provide proof of employment and declare what other monthly expense you have. The amount that you can borrow will be calculated on that basis.

Save Your Deposit

In Malta, the minimum down-payment you can make when purchasing your first home from the property market is 10% of the purchase price. The most popular and convenient method to save money for your down-payment is to create a special savings account and transfer a fixed amount of money into it every month. Other things you can do are skipping a vacation or two, lowering your current expenses to allow yourself to save more, or get a second job.

Decide What You Want Based On Your Budget

Consider what you actually want from the property you will eventually call your first home. Perhaps outdoor space is a priority, or maybe you need plenty of storage space. Depending on how big your budget is, you’ll likely have to compromise on one or more aspects of your first home. Think about what is most important for you to have, and what you can manage without.

Start Your House Hunt

There are plenty of places to search for properties in Malta, not least right here at GAP Group. In addition to numerous real estate agents, there are many Facebook groups and individual sellers that are geared towards the local property market. Truth be told, you’ll be spoilt for choice when house hunting in Malta!

Arrange Viewings

Create a list of five or 10 properties you found on the property market that you’re interested in seeing, and begin arranging viewings with the listing agent or owner. Be sure to take your time when viewing properties. Although you might walk into a property that you immediately fall in love with, or find an absolute bargain, it’s always a good idea to give yourself at least a little time to reflect on what you have been viewing.

Arrange Second Viewings

After you spend a little time reflecting on one or more properties you like, go ahead and arrange second viewings. Try an approach a second viewing from a more critical perspective so that you can spot any things not to your liking that you might not have noticed when you first viewed the property. If you’re going for second viewings at multiple properties, compare and contrast your findings to determine which property is going to be your first home in Malta.

Reserve Your Home

When you’ve made up your mind on the property you want, it’s time to put in an offer. You make the offer to either the owner, developer or to the real estate agent who negotiates on your behalf (if you’re using one). It’s commonplace to place an offer on a property that’s no more than 10% less than the asking price, then negotiating from there. Once agreement is reached, the next step would be to sign a Promise of Sale agreement to reserve your first home.

Buying a Property in Malta: What is the Process?

Buying a property in Malta is a fairly straightforward process that can be completed in a few simple steps. This guide will inform you about the exact steps you need to take when you buy a property in Malta:

Check with a Local Bank about Financing

The first thing you should do is check with a local bank to determine the authorised loan amount that you can obtain. If you find terms that are agreeable to you and the bank gives you the go-ahead, you can begin your search. Should you be a cash buyer, you can naturally skip this step.

Find a Property in Malta

The Maltese property market always has plenty of different kinds of property on offer. The biggest challenge you’ll have is finding something you really want based on the authorised loan amount the bank has chosen to lend you. When you find something you like, make the seller an offer, and if the offer is accepted, you’ll want to sign a Promise of Sale agreement (more about that later) in the presence of a notary.

Find a Notary in Malta

There are many reputable notaries in Malta that would be more than happy to assist you with the purchasing process. You need to visit a notary to define the terms of the agreement you will enter into with the seller, such as the length of the Promise of Sale and subject to bank finance on the property.

Promise of Sale Agreement

A Promise of Sale agreement is an agreement signed between the buyer and seller that is designed to protect both parties in the transaction – the buyer is protected because the seller is bound to sell the property only to them, whereas the seller is protected because the buyer is bound to not back out of the transaction.

The minimum term for a Promise of Sale agreement is three to four months. One of the key terms in this agreement, if applicable to your particular case, is that the sale is subject to you obtaining a bank loan.

It normally takes a bank a minimum of eight weeks to approve a loan and issue the associated sanction letter. A Promise of Sale agreement can be extended if both parties involved in the transaction agree to do so.

Notarial Expenses

When signing a Promise of Sale agreement, you are required to pay a deposit of 10% of the value of the purchase price. This is usually payable by cheque, which is held by your notary of choice until you sign the final contract, or until the sanction letter is issued. Should the sale fall through for any reason at law, the deposit will be paid back directly to you.

You will also have to pay a notarial fee (which is set out by law) and administration expenses. This payment is usually made at the end of the purchase process. Bear in mind that when all is said and done, this expense can amount to a few thousand euros. Please refer to notarial fee guidelines for further information, however you can also check how much these fees would be on your property in Malta.

The Promise of Sale is signed. Now what?

During the period that the Promise of Sale of agreement is in force, your notary will conduct searches on the property. These searches are done to ensure that the current seller is actually authorised to sell it and there is no outstanding debt on it.

You should also seek to take out a life insurance policy to cover the value and contents of the property you’re about to buy. This is a requirement requested by the bank for purchasing a property in Malta, however the bank that you take out a loan with (if you are doing so) will usually have its own life insurance provider to recommend to you.

Although it isn’t absolutely necessary, it’s a very good idea to employ an architect to check the property over to ensure everything is built according to Planning Authority approved permits.

Bank Confirms Loan and Issues Sanction Letter

If all of the above goes smoothly, then your bank will notify you that it is issuing the loan for your property in Malta, together with a document containing the terms and conditions of the loan, which is known as a sanction letter.

When you have this letter in your possession, hand it to the notary to prepare for the final contract. This usually takes place in the presence of a legal representative of the bank issuing the loan (if you’re taking one out), the notary, the buyer, seller and real estate agent.

Congratulations! You’re a Homeowner

It’s now time to consider the interior and exterior spaces of your new property in Malta. Did you buy something furnished? Is it brand new and needs your own personal touch? Do any refurbishments need to be carried out?

You’ll also be looking at moving your possessions into the property. Depending on how much stuff you have, it might be worth thinking about which moving company you’re going to entrust!

15 Interior Design Tips to Maximise Small Spaces in Your Home

Good interior design can make a world of difference in your home, especially if you are constrained in terms of space. The key thing to keep in mind when working with small spaces is to be resourceful with the square meterage that you have available. Here are fifteen interior design tips to maximise small spaces in your home;

Kitchen

1. Use Magnetic Strips

Magnetic strips are a great interior design tip for maximising space on your kitchen countertops. Keep your knives and other stainless steel utensils out of the way by sticking them on your wall.

2. Maximise Open Wall Space

Store pots, pans and light appliances on floating shelves. You can also consider using a pegboard or a rack to hang coffee cups and other loose items from.

3. Think Carefully About Colour

Light, bright colours are the way to go in a small kitchen. You can use your countertops to add in a pop of colour should you wish.

Living Room

4. Get Those Legs Out

A great interior design tip for maximising the space in a small living room is choosing furniture with exposed legs. You can couple this with seating without arms to enhance the open feel.

5. Mount Your TV on the Wall

Do away with the need for a TV table or wall unit by mounting your TV on your living room wall.

6. Think Strategically About Storage

Maximise floor space by doing away with bulky storage pieces. Use floating shelves or a built-in bookcase instead. Also consider multipurpose furniture pieces that can be, for instance, both a seat and a storage solution, such as an ottoman.

Bedrooms

7. Use Multifunctional Furniture

A headboard with built-in bookshelves, or a bed frame that incorporates drawers, are both clever interior design solutions for maximising a small bedroom space.

8. Make It Float

Replace conventional nightstands with floating shelves, or do away with shelves and nightstands entirely and simply hang two wall sconces on either side of your bed to use as your bedside lighting!

9. Consider a Wardrobe Wall

It might come at significant expense, but consider using a wardrobe wall in your bedroom to maximise space. Wardrobe walls are shallow in depth, yet run the whole length of a bedroom wall to create a cosy feel while adding storage space and taking up a minimal area of the floor plan all at once.

Bathrooms

10. Use the Space over the Toilet

A little shelving unit that fits neatly over your toilet is something to think about, as is a heated towel rail for storing your towels out of the way.

11. Pedestal Sink/Floating Vanity

A pedestal sink or floating vanity sink are both excellent for making the most of a small floor space in a bathroom. Having one of these kinds of sink will give you additional space for placing wash baskets.

12. Install a Pocket Door

A pocket door is a door which slides into a wall, as opposed to swinging inwards into your bathroom like a conventional door would. This is an awesome little trick to maximise bathroom space.

Outdoor Spaces

13. Grow a Vertical Garden

If possible, use walls to grow plants upwards to save as much floor space as possible. Not only will a vertical garden along a wall of your outside space look fantastic, it’ll do wonders for your sense of wellbeing.

14. Solo Bench – With Accessories!

A small solo bench will hardly take up any space, and can be dressed up beautifully with an ottoman or two, and pillows, when you’re having guests over.

15. Bistro Table

If you intend to do some al fresco dining in your small outdoor space, consider going for a bistro table. Not only will it look super chic, but it can fold away and take up a minimal amount of space.

GAP Homes – Malta Properties with Efficiency in Mind

GAP homes are designed with your needs in mind and incorporate well-thought out interior design, so every home makes the most of space and provides maximum storage. Find homes in a variety of different locations from every region throughout the Maltese Islands.