Advice for first-time home sellers

Advice for first-time home sellers

Do you want to sell your first home but are hesitant to set the ball rolling? You’re certainly not alone. Selling your home can be a roller coaster of feelings for a variety of reasons, both emotional and logistical. You could be feeling upset that you’re going to part with the place that has seen your family grow and where so many memories were made. Or you could be feeling overwhelmed with the whole process – getting the home itself and the paperwork ready, receiving viewers and the planning that it all involves. Rest assured that if thousands have done it successfully, so can you. Here you will find a few useful tips to keep in mind when you’re in the process of putting your property up for sale in Malta.

Be ready and willing

Although selling one’s home is nothing out of the ordinary, getting yourself to do it requires some stamina. You need to have the will and energy to commit yourself and to see it through. You also need to be emotionally prepared to let go of a home that has been part of your life for a long time. Picture yourself letting prospective buyers in and hearing them discussing plans how to turn it into a better home for themselves. How would you feel? If you are quite unfazed by the idea, then, of course, you are ready to sell. Once you decide to embark on the process, focus on the next step ahead and soon you will be able to look back with satisfaction and see the sale of your home as another milestone in your life. 

Get your home ready

If your home is going to be scrutinised by whoever will come to view it, it needs to be shipshape. Go around and see what repairs need to be made. Make sure the structures, like roofs and beams, are sound. Fix any leaky pipes or treat rusty ironwork. Paint all the walls and deep clean every nook and cranny. 

Do not overlook any structures that may have been installed over the years and which might raise issues with viewers. Are all temporary structures, like fences and aluminum extensions, according to regulations? Do all windows appear on the original plan of the home, with the correct measurements? If anything is not as stipulated by the law, seek the advice of an architect to help you put things in order with the authorities. If you don’t, and someone flags it at some point, it could stall the whole process, and the promise of sale (“konvenju”) could be nullified and fall through. And you would lose both time and money.

After the repairs and redecoration is complete, declutter and, while at it, get rid of any unwanted items. This is as good a time as any to start organising the things you have at home as it will facilitate packing and moving out later.

As you are setting the rooms up after redecorating, pay attention to the tiny details to make your home more welcoming. Remove, and perhaps replace, any tired-looking furniture and consider buying new soft furnishings in colours and prints which are in at the moment. 

Also, have a look at the décor. Do you perhaps have lots of family photos? You might be taken aback to learn that it’s a good idea to remove them, as a more impersonal and neutral space helps home viewers to visualise it better. That is, after all, the goal of home viewing. Next have a look at each individual room or space. Is there a part of the room that could do with the addition of a new lamp and some artificial flowers? These small, inexpensive changes can elevate a room and help make the home look more put together.

Collect all the paperwork

When you bought the property – whether as land or already built – you have papers and documents pertaining to it. These are usually: site surveys; the official plans, as registered with the building regulator; any valid permits that were issued, including those that have expired, as they validate any modifications or additions made; and, research carried out by the notary. Having these documents readily available will help make the selling process faster for all.

Your home’s online presence 

Nowadays, when people want to buy a home, the first thing they do is browse online databases of homes for sale. Gone are the days when people seeking to buy a home bought the Sunday newspapers to peruse the Classifieds pages. And this is where real estate agencies, like Zanzi Homes, can really help. They put your home in the limelight by listing it on their websites, targeting an even wider range of buyers than the newspapers ever did. Therefore, it is wise to present your home in the best possible way, by highlighting its best features to draw more attention to it. You can maximise your chance for a quick sell in two ways: staging and photography. 

You can hire the services of someone who specialises in home staging. They decorate your home in a way to make it look good and to enhance its particular features. When a home is nicely decorated, people find it easier to imagine themselves living in it.

Second, and equally important, is the quality of photos you take of the home. Consider getting a professional photographer to capture the natural light that filters inside your home and to pick the best angle for the photos. 

Up your game

Get a valuation of your property from people who have plenty of experience and know the real estate in Malta well, like our team of dedicated estate agents at Zanzi. This gives you a good indication of how much the home can fetch.

Then set a minimum amount that you would be content with and refuse any offers that fall below that. Whether you accept a little or lots above it, is entirely up to you. However, be prepared to negotiate, so hone your negotiation skills, as you neither should accept the first offer that comes your way nor firmly refuse to budge from your asking price. Remember, that it works both ways: you’re going to get back the money you invested in your property, but someone is going to part with theirs. Nobody wants to come out of the deal feeling like they have lost heavily.

Your right to the deposit

According to Maltese law, as the seller, you are entitled to the deposit laid down by the buyer. It is customary, however, for the buyer to pass the deposit on to the notary, who puts it in a bank account (without accruing interest) for safekeeping. This is done to protect the seller in case the konvenju falls through. You can, of course, exert your right to the deposit but be aware that the sum of money should be readily available to be returned in full to the buyer if the deal doesn’t go through for whatever reason. 

Want to learn more?

Selling your home can be quite a challenge but knowing what it involves and what to expect can alleviate some of the worries.

If you would like to learn more, or need professional advice, our team of experienced agents are always willing to help. Head over to Zanzi Homes with your queries and we’ll get in touch.

Nadine Vassallo
Written By

Nadine Vassallo