If you have decided to invest in a property in Malta as a foreigner, you’re in for an exciting and straightforward process. Malta offers a safe and attractive real estate market for both locals and international buyers. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps and requirements involved in purchasing your dream property in this beautiful Mediterranean island.
Step Promise of Sale
Once you’ve found the property you wish to purchase, the next formal step is to sign a Promise of Sale or preliminary agreement. This agreement is legally binding and confirms your intention to buy the property while protecting the seller’s interests as well. It is usually valid for three months, but the timeframe can be negotiated between both parties. At this stage, you will be required to pay a 10% deposit to the agent or a notary.
Due Diligence Checks
After signing the Promise of Sale, the notary you’ve engaged will conduct all necessary due diligence checks on the property. This includes verifying the property’s title and ensuring all permits and paperwork are in order. The notary will also apply for any required permits, such as the Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit, if applicable.
Contract of Sale
Once all the necessary permits are approved, and the property’s title is clear, you will proceed to sign the final Contract of Sale or Deed of Sale. At this stage, you will need to pay the remaining balance of the purchase price, along with stamp duty and other sundry costs. After completing these formalities and registering the property in your name, you officially become the rightful owner.
General Costs Involved
It’s essential to consider the general costs associated with buying a property in Malta as a foreigner. These typically include:
- Stamp Duty: 5% of the property’s purchase price.
- Notarial Fee: Approximately 1-3% of the property’s value.
- Searches and Registration Fees: Around €600.
- AIP Permit Fee (if needed): €233.
Remember that if you use the services of a real estate agency to find and buy the property, the commission fees are typically paid by the seller.
Understanding the AIP Permit
As a foreigner, you may need to obtain an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit before buying a property in Malta. However, some exemptions apply:
- EU citizens who have been resident in Malta for more than 5 years.
- Non-EU residents who have lived in Malta for more than 5 years.
- EU citizens purchasing a property for their primary residence.
- EU citizens buying a property for investment purposes.
If one spouse is an EU citizen and the other is not, both individuals can benefit from the exemptions, provided the property is intended as their main residence.
There is a minimum value for properties purchased under the AIP permit, which is subject to periodic updates. Currently, it stands at €143,410 for apartments and €247,701 for villas, townhouses, and other properties. However, these figures may vary in the south of Malta and on Gozo, so consult your notary for the latest information.
Keep in mind that if you already own a property and wish to buy another one outside of the Special Designated Areas, you may be required to sell your current property first, as you may not qualify under the aforementioned exemptions.
In conclusion, buying property in Malta as a foreigner is a relatively simple and secure process, provided you follow the necessary steps and meet the requirements. Engaging a reputable notary and estate agent can make the process smoother and ensure that you understand all the legalities involved. With its beautiful landscapes, rich history, and favourable property market, Malta offers an attractive investment opportunity for foreigners looking to own a piece of this enchanting island.