A tale of a Gem, an Iceberg and a Bargain.

A tale of a Gem, an Iceberg and a Bargain.

I’ve been in property since 2013, just when the boom started to happen. Today all I can say is I finally found a career which is many things, but above all fun. QuickLets was actually launched 4th November 2013 I still remember drilling our first sign into the wall. We then registered our company on the 30th day of December 2013. Back in the day, I remember listing a property for 466 euro per month. A property which was in the heart of St Julians, close to Portomaso, well finished for those days (and still not renovated or upgraded) and owned by a seasoned developer whom actually owned multiple rental properties. Today that property rents for 900 Euro per month. Let me take you back to what happened.

I’ve had many jobs along the way, I started working sunbeds, organising parties and bartending at Exiles water polo club from the age of 15. My first actual job was a Pizza Hut delivery biker at the age of 18, that didn’t last very long, I was fired after 1 month. As the years went by I tried a few different things until I landed myself a career at one of our local banks. It was a great 5 years, I learnt a lot. I had one specific super boss that really helped me find my footing. I worked in the call centre for 4 years, a local one. Here I also had many great team leaders and managers and till today we use many of the techniques and sales incentives they thought me back in my call centre days, we’re also still friends. One of those days back in 2007. I was working the night shift, 24/7, lost & stolen and premier calls. It was late, I was smoking a cigarette in the window on the third floor, all of a sudden I heard a helicopter and then noticed a lot of movement down below. A few cars came in, soldiers everywhere, then a trailer with a delivery - enter the Euro currency. That was it for the Maltese Lira, over the next 12 months the switch took place, by June 2008 Maltese Liri were not accepted by shops and commercial entities. One would have to deposit them the bank.

Why am I telling you all this? The time, not just the time, the years. Yes, there was the Lehman Brothers crash in 2007 which sent the entire planet into a recession. This meant fewer people investing in their business, their growth. Less travelling, less tourism. A ripple effect. 466 Euro is exactly LM 200 (Liri Malti) this is evidence that the rental market from end 2007 (and possibly way before) to end 2013 did not increase. Malta did not take a decline hit in the rental property industry during the world recession but it did not climb. There was also never much demand for ‘Malta’ back in those days. Many people are quick to short sell our beautiful island and quickly complain about many factors, be it traffic, corruption or the common saying “ahna mghandna xejn” (we have nothing). This saying comes from back in the post-war days when many Maltese, as well as Gozitans, had to immigrate from our beautiful island to places like Canada, UK and more commonly Australia (fun fact here, there are more Maltese living in Australia than there are in Malta!) This, accompanied by the old rent laws, left a culture on the island that rental property prices were always affordable, or in other words below international rental standard and expectations. Anyways, once we got our independence back in 1964 and our awesome politicians started to develop our own economy and improve the standard of living on our island, commonly known as “the hidden gem of the Mediterranean”, opportunity started to grow and our island started to flourish. After joining the EU, besides the currency came the funding and of course the foreign company tax benefits, which brought many European companies to our shores. We not only managed to survive but also thrive.

One book I read is about the main factor that makes a business successful. Any guess what that is? It’s timing. The timing of Malta’s economy, tax benefits and popularity all hit at the perfect time. There could have been no better time in the entire history of the human race for Malta, Her expats and the Maltese to prepare for the irrevocable and unforgiving change of… drum roll please, enter the Hashtag.

Whilst most people may not realise this, the hashtag has changed our world forever. When Models, Dj’s, Sportstars, Business Moguls, Students learning English and Backpapers set foot on our island, they go to Riviera or Cafe Del Mar, Valletta, Gozo and Paceville take some photos and update their social media with the new all famous, clickable link #Malta. So Malta, the hidden gem of the Mediterranean. The little quiet island, now part of the EU, 300 days of sunshine, great health care (I can vouch for that!) and of course politicians that since our independence have all the time in the world to prepare the best place on the planet for its moment to shine, It’s audition to world #MALTA. Thank you #RyanAir, as much as I can’t stand you for the bad service you gave me, multiple times, thank you for the cheap connection flights to the EU, and thank you to all those other airlines that have followed and of course our very own #AirMalta.

#Malta, along with #sunset #islandlife #OhmyMalta #Sunrise #SandyBeach #RockyBeaches #Bluesea #Med #BlueMed #Blueskies #Gozo #party #gaming #Valletta #summit #blockchain #IsleofMTV #Crypto #Sigma #yoga #realestate #tech #Paddypower #QuickLets #ZanziHomes :P #betsson and now #Bet365 have put Malta on the map. Bye bye hidden gem, hello facebook and your all mighty pages (@unilad…), Airbnb, Twitter, Snap Chat, booking.com and above all the all mighty Instagram. These social viral media marketing tools have stripped malta of our Her subtle vibe. Today She has become a bucket list phenomena. A thriving experience that essentially breathes on her own.  Everyone knows who Malta is and everyone wants a piece of Her, and guess what? Her doors are wide open for business and her hosts are friendly and welcoming with open arms and above all full of smiles, ideas and pastizzi.

This is why property prices have shot up, yet still better valued than other city centres across the world. Maltese properties come fully furnished, close to all amenities and no need to pay 12 months in advance. The prices in #Malta were underpriced and today have not only become their true worth but are also exceeding everyone’s expectations because Malta has so much to offer, and has become so much more popular, and I believe this is still the beginning, the tip of the iceberg. Malta has very few Mediterranean competitors. Let’s take some of our neighbouring islands such as Santorini or Ibiza. There a business owner rents for a year, but can only operate for 6 months at most. They have seasons, Ibiza and Santorini are dead in the winter. Their staff are stuck or have to travel back home for the winter. Can you imagine the hassle to send your team back home for 6 months of the year and hope they return for the next season? Alternatively, you can pay them for 6 months to make sure they don’t find another job and never return, leaving you to retrain new employees and experience this nightmare every season. A business owner in Qawra opens 12 months a year, yes winter may be slower but they still open, their staff still have a job, an income to pay their rent. A business owner in Sliema or Gzira? 12 months of record sales. Staff get promoted, new outlets opened. The only places that actually do close are beach lidos. They need some refurbishment anyways.

Traffic? Yet another issue we have in #Malta, or is it? After I broke my neck it transpired I had a fear of flying, amongst many other fears. I’m the type of guy that pushes things to the limit, probably why I broke my neck, but that's another story. I’m also a Jim Morrison fan, and one of my favourite quotes is “Expose yourself to your deepest fear. Then the fear of freedom shrinks, it has no power, you are free. I’ve been obsessed with freedom, ultimately it's all we can ever truly have. Objects and things, although they never let us down as they are what they truly what they appear to be, are not really ours. We are sort of renting them from our heirs. The only thing we actually truly can ever own is our freedom. So technically if we don’t have that we don’t have anything. So to get back my freedom I booked 38 flights in 15 months to get over it. I went to many seminars, fairs, holidays and conferences. Before you complain about traffic in Malta, go see what other countries have to offer. I’m not saying we are the best, as I haven’t been all over the world, but out of all the countries I’ve been to, #Malta is the best. I spent 2 months in Bali, once on my postponed honeymoon, I had to order a delivery to my car. Hong Kong? Google maps said 13 minutes, it took 2 hours and a half. London ? 1 and a half hours, contradicting Googles 17. I’ve lived in #Malta for 32 years, never have I been stuck in traffic for more than 45 minutes. Yes #Malta didn’t have this traffic issue 5 years ago, and yes something has to be done, but it really is not as bad as we think it is. It can get much much much worse. Hopefully, the government can fix this “issue” before it really does become an issue.

End 2015 we launched Zanzi Homes. This is a company that specialises solely on property sales. We believe a lot in specialisation. We have taken on the ‘House of Brands’  strategy, unlike my idol Sir Richard, who owned the ‘Branded House’ strategy #Virgin ;) This is why we have other brands like www.officefinder.com.mt we believe in specialisation and market segmentation on a brand defined level.

Once we launched Zanzi Homes, we started to really have some awesome fun. We built a team of elite Real Estate specialists, I mean these people have grit and drive that you cannot imagine. Today 90 legends strong, we have state of the art technology, respect from suppliers and above all a culture like a cult. Together we train, almost every day, hours on end. Not just field training but motivation and specialisation. In the beginning, it was hard, today its simple. Not easy, but simple. We know what we have to do to achieve our goals, we work day in day out, no weekends, hours on end to find that bargain. That lifetime deal. This is what Zanzi is about. We train every day, like gladiators, not to entertain or fight but to provide. Provide opportunities and find bargains for our clients. We don’t sell property, we sweat day in day out, all day every day, sometimes all night to be able to offer our clients that once in a lifetime property bargain. Here today, now, and not in an hour. Gone are the days for us when clients complain about high estate agency fees, gone are the days when our clients say that Real Estate agents charge to much. Today we have a team that is so motivated and well trained that all they do is create opportunities for their clients. We invest in state of the art technology to be able to acquire thousands of listings and run that data without business intelligent software. We invest AI and VR to be able to innovate the Real Estate industry and offer our clients that one in a lifetime bargain. In 2018 not once have I had a complaint about how high an agency fee was, all I’ve had were compliments about what a great bargain our team has sold to them.

It’s not really in our culture that clients boast about how much an investment a particular agency sold them. Well, that is exactly what we do. We don’t only sell properties, we sell opportunities. Last time I was at a cafe and a person I have never met before walked up to me and said “int taz - Zanzi hux?” - (You from Zanzi right?) Yes I replied, he said "thanks buddy, I made the purchase of a lifetime through one of your team.” I replied, “that’s awesome, can we try sell it again for you?” :) He replied, “not even for double the amount”.

This is what our team does at Zanzi Homes. We call hundreds of people, see hundreds of properties and find the best bargain for our client. The prices are not going to go down. There is no bubble, even if for some speculative reason they do dip by 5, 10% if you use an agent, a well-trained agent, they will find you a bargain and the dip won't affect you. Do your research and get your foot on the property ladder now. Don’t rush into it and just buy the first property you come along. Buying direct from owner doesn’t always save you money. Besides us having a larger database and more experience we are also trained and experienced to negotiate the right price. It’s what we do all day, every day, even on Christmas day. Speak to an agent, believe me, if it’s the right agent you will get a great deal and you will not only be safe but make a lot of money on your investment. The time is right. The budget extended and released some new policies, speak to us. Let’s find you your new home, and this time Freddy don’t use find it!

Steve Mercieca
Written By

Steve Mercieca