Search and Acquisition is a high-touch service – we work with you all the way from the moment you decide to find a property to the day you receive the keys. Our goal is to find and secure the right property based on your requirements.
The process includes:
- Requirements gathering: understanding your needs
- Searching and sourcing: matching your requirements with what the market has to offer
- Due diligence: in-depth investigation of the properties you are most interested in
- Negotiation: we fight to get you the best price and selling conditions, ensuring your complete anonymity if necessary
- Completion: bring the property from agreement to the final contract
The service includes all the work to find and secure the right property for you, at the best price and conditions.
Common questions about Search and Acquisition
What property inventory do you have access to?
In a nutshell, we have access to all public property listings, properties for sale directly by the owners, and off-the-market properties that you will not find elsewhere.
To begin with, it saves a considerable amount of time to have one interlocutor that represents your interests and can introduce you to any property in the market. Traditional agencies sell what’s on their own shelves: agency A sells all properties that are listed with A, and agency B sells all properties that list with B. A will never show you B’s properties and viceversa. We are happy to show you A, B, C and everything else. As simple as that.
Secondly, for a variety of reasons, some properties do not make it to the open market. Whether it is because we have a special relationship with a developer, or because the seller does not want any traditional agencies (and their commissions) involved, we can introduce you to off-the-market properties you would not otherwise likely find.
Is this service suitable for foreign buyers?
Search and acquisition is ideal for foreign buyers who are interested in sourcing a Maltese property while residing in a different country. A newcomer will have to deal with an inordinate amount of work:
- Getting to know the market
- Shortlisting properties
- Understanding fair value market prices, fees and tax
- Arranging visits (and visiting) the properties you prefer
- Negotiating with the sellers (with all the handicap that comes from being a foreigner)
- Finding an architect to inspect the property and a notary – preferably both should be good at their jobs
- Planning to renovate? Finding tradesmen – good ones – and getting quotes
If you can only visit Malta and Gozo a few days at a time, we guarantee you will be better off leaving the hard work of sourcing a property to us, and enjoying what the country has to offer in your days off instead.
Is this service suitable for property investors?
By all means. Our founders have extensive experience in long and short term lets, and can therefore advise on likely yields on investment properties, as well as potential capital appreciation.
Further, we have our own proprietary market data – which you get access to as a client of Property Hunters.
With experience and data, we are able to advise you on potential return for your investment.
Can't I just ask a "traditional" agency to help me?
Sure. Plenty of buyers buy without a buyer’s agent representing them. In fact, we are the only exclusive buyers’ agents in Malta and Gozo.
However, we would not be in this business unless we firmly believed that buyers deserve the best advice they can get. Let’s face it: a traditional agency has interests that are firmly stacked against the buyer. The higher the selling price, the higher the agent’s commission. The sooner a buyer is convinced to settle for a property and sign the contract, the sooner the agency can move on to selling the next property. Sadly, it happens that kickbacks are given to agencies for introducing lawyers, notaries and builders. Do you want the best professionals working for you, or the ones that pay the most commission to the introducer?
Our model is very simple: we make money when you save money, time and effort.
What does the due diligence process entail?
The due diligence process has three components:
- The physical inspection by an architect and/or structural engineer. These professionals assess the property’s condition for your peace of mind, as input for renovation costs estimations, and as leverage in the negotiation.
- The property analysis reveals whether there are zoning concerns (e.g. planning restrictions) or market developments that can impact the value of the property. Imagine a six-story car park is due to be erected beside your dream property. Or that the “agricultural” land 50 metres away is earmarked for a petrol station. You’d want to find out.
- The title search ensures that the sellers are, indeed, entitled to sell the property and that there are no defects in the title or obligations to anyone else (creditors, neighbours etc.). This is carried out by a notary. We are pleased to introduce you to reputable and efficient notaries (and no, we don’t get kickbacks to do so).
How do you handle negotiations?
Negotiations begin, in principle, the moment you pick up the phone to inquire about a property. Stories abound of prospective buyers being given different prices for the same property. In this, being a foreigner is often a hindrance. Not being familiar with the local market is an even greater hindrance.
We handle negotiations with discretion, protecting the circumstances and identities of the buyers. We leverage the buyer’s strengths when we can (for instance if the buyer is a cash buyer, or is flexible with takeover dates) and understand where the seller may be inclined to give concessions. Remember: we make money when you save money, time and effort.
When do you get paid for your services?
Our fees are very transparent. You will know them upfront before we are engaged for our services.
In principle, we get paid when the final contract is signed. Our fees are paid directly to us from the proceeds of the sale.
We charge hourly rates for some extra services such as architectural services, negotiation with tradesmen etc. Even in those cases, we quote for the additional services ahead of time.
How do you match requirements and market offer?
Especially for foreign buyers, used to different markets than Malta’s, there may be a gap between expectations and reality. For instance, an American buyer who is used to lower prices for property located outside the city centre, may find that in Malta it is quite the opposite, and a vast premium is allotted to isolated properties with outdoor space.
The process of mediating the buyer’s expectations and the reality of the Maltese market is part of getting to know one another. Our goal is to provide the buyer with the best match for their requirements. In this, we have two great assets: first, our experience in international real estate markets (our founders have worked in New York and London, among other cities); second, our proprietary market data.
Are there really so many pitfalls in the Maltese real estate market?
We hope we did not frighten you with references to less-than-great tradesmen giving kickbacks to get introductions, or other professionals not looking after the buyers’ interests. There are many honest and reputable people working in the Maltese real estate market. The question is: do you know who to talk to?
Often, mistakes are made negligently rather than through bad intention. A buyer purchases a property in the town centre. However, no one saw that the house is in the list of scheduled (protected) properties. It’s no one’s duty to tell them, really. Now the buyer can no longer make the renovation they wanted, and they’re stuck with a lemon. Another buyer purchases a commercial property and pays 5% stamp duty. Except that the property was in an Urban Conservation Area, and the buyer paid twice as much duty as they needed to. Now they need to get the money back from the Revenue, which costs time, and money.
Avoiding pitfalls takes time and effort. We save our clients both.