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Showing posts from 2004

Property for sale Direct from Owner

Three pitfalls to avoid when buying directly.

Owner Direct sales adverts are littered all over the internet.

I have always been in favour of an open market, especially if you, the purchaser, have all the time in the world to sift through the multitude of online adverts, a good 90% of which are never deleted when the owners sell the property, and are therefore outdated.

Time and patience apart however, there are still a number of hurdles ahead. In hindsight these pitfalls look obvious. Unless you are well prepared with a checklist, your emotions and pressure to act fast, can, and do get the upperhand.

Since there are many points to look out for, I am short listing these to the three most often overlooked , two of which concern "noise pollution", one of the greatest stress related causes.

The following apply to apartments.

1) Floorplan. Make sure to check whether the underlying, or overlying apartment has the same floorplan as the one you're interested in. If your living ro…

Small is beautiful - The 1 bedroom market

Bachelor apartments and studios are selling like hot cakes. Independent young people, small investors and seperated couples are all contributing to the bullish market.

(To answer a frequently asked question, bachelor apartments have a seperate bedroom, and sometimes a seperate kitchen and living. A studio apartment has a large room furnished as an open plan kitchen, living and bedroom and only the bathroom or shower is seperate.)

Most investors in the buy to let market are preferring the smaller apartments. They offer flexibility, are cheaper to furnish and equip, and rarely remain empty for more then a couple of weeks unless they're over priced.

Will the market hold out?

In the current unregulated market, the current trend shows no sign of relent. Hundreds of new 1 bedroom properties are being rented out, most fetching around Lm120 to Lm160 monthly in the Sliema area. The older apartments are still very much in demand too, these fetching the same Lm90 to Lm110 monthly also in upm…

The Heat is on!

August is with us, and the high season is in. A brisk trade for all the hoteliers, restaurant owners and beach clubs.
In real estate however this month is synonymous with slugishness. Sales usually drop as most buyers prefer to take to the beach, or retreat to the air conditioned rooms within their homes instead of trawling the streets searching for that elusive dream house at a bargain price.

August however is the month which will reveal the hidden qualities of our traditional maltese houses. I am always full of admiration for those long gone builders and architects who designed, oriented, and built these temperature self regulating houses.

Yesterday I was given the keys to such a property to carry out a detailed inspection and put it on the market. Closed and unlived in for a year now, since the owners inherited another property, this townhouse was still cool and refreshing on the inside, and as soon as I had opened the back door onto the yard, and a couple of windows upstairs, a br…

Road collapse in St.Paul's Bay

A week ago, a nasty incident left two women buried under the rubble when a building collapsed in St. Paul's Bay. A site was being excavated next door. The reason for the collapse has yet to be investigated.

Yesterday afternoon, two wardens were diverting traffic from the direction of Xemxija going towards Veccja, and asking motorists to take the bypass. The road a bit further uphill past Veccja restaurant was collapsing..........yet again.

The problem started last year when an old building was torn down to make way for an apartment block. The obvious happened when all the buildings further uphill and across the road exerted too much pressure down the clay slopes and onto the road, which then, as now, was already excavated and exposed along the other side. A thick wall was built to counter this downward pressure, however one year on this wall is also giving in.

Yet a couple of years earlier, part of the bypass also collapsed, and indeed a section of it is today still reduced to one…
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A lovely maltese traditional house of character I've just put up for rent today. All rooms and terraces overlook the central courtyard.
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Typical entrance to the courtyard of the same house as shown in the top photo.

Commercial Property

Several times in the course of a month, I am contacted by companies or individuals looking for commercial properties to rent or buy.

It is very obvious, and everyone usually agrees, that the nature of one's business is a very important factor and usually determines, and in many cases limits, one's final selection. A retail company will seek passing trade. A legal office, clinic or accountancy firm would usually go for easy parking and easy access, with the exception of cities like Valletta or Sliema. However in the past years, there has been a great increase in IT businesses, or similar companies who do not see the public face to face, but communicate via modern technology.

Here in Malta, perhaps more then other countries, it is very important for such companies to take into consideration a few very vital points, which are:

1. Distance from the nearest sub station, and telephone exchange. Positioning your office far away from these sources will increase your chances of fallin…

Townhouse Apartments

One of the disadvantages of living in a new property is that unless you enjoy open views from your window, there's little evidence as to where you are in the Mediterranean.

The interior stone walls and lack of central heating or double glazing would probably shed some light as to your latitude on the map. However the ceramic floors, painted walls,square rooms and resin staircases are all standard.

This is one of the reasons why more and more tourists visiting Malta are opting to live in older traditional properties for their vacation.

They want to be reminded they're abroad and on holiday even when they're indoors.
They want high ceilings, long narrow windows with lovely wooden shutters, beautiful patterned floor tiles and wrought iron ballustrades.
They want to look out of the back window and see a low skyline and a clear sky.
This is the typical southern Mediterranean architecture they can only dream of back home.

Now unless a tourist is visiting the island with all t…

Tower Road Apartments

The rental market on Tower Road Sliema has been changing ever since the Portomaso project neared completion.

The future doesn't look any much brighter with the MIDI project targeting 2005 for completion of it's first residential units. Tower Road prices have had to be revised downwards, and more stubborn landlords have been left perched on the fence.

Foreigners renting on the island are having more and more choice at hand, and the first properties to be axed off their lists are those with shabby furnishings or with dilapidated common parts and creaking lifts.

Gone are the days when lessors gathered any unwanted bits and pieces of furniture at home and furnished their rental flat with them. Back then, choice was limited and anything rented fast. Summer short lets were fast and furious. Snap up the property now or sleep on the bench tonight sir!

Today the cost of furnishing an apartment has gone down considerably, and the standard of finishing has also shot up. Gypsum walls, fitted …

Property Blogging Launch

I just inspected a very recently built and very sweet flatlet for rent in Swieqi.

Actually the term flatlet doesn't do the place any justice. It does in fact underly the owner's property, however it's entrance is totally private and independent, and what's more, the property is semi-detached!

The ever increasing property prices here in Malta has translated into smaller and smaller residential units, and with this, a gradual corruption of certain real estate terms.

I remember, for example, seven to eight years ago the word maisonette would have certainly defined a property with an independent entrance, and with only one other overlying or underlying neighbour. Nowadays, a groundfloor flat with an independent entrance is also referred to as a maisonette, although I think that is pushing the term a bit too far. In areas such as Swieqi, maisonettes in blocks of 3 are the standard nowadays.

Back to the property I just put on the market. I guess I opted for the word flatl…