BUYING A HOME

3 tips to get you started

1

FIGURE OUT YOUR FINANCIALS

Talk to your or mortgage broker bank to find out what mortgage you are eligible to be pre-approved for and decide how much of your savings you want to put towards a down-payment.

2

MAKE YOUR WISH LIST

Make a list of what you are looking for in your future home and then go through it to decide what is a "want" and what is an actual "need".

3

FIND YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT

You want to ensure you have someone you trust helping you on your real estate journey. Be sure to interview some Sales Representatives until you find the right fit.

 

FIRST TIME BUYERS

What is gambling?


Actually there is no single, clear cut definition of what gambling is but it is widely agreed that: Two or more people agree to take part in the activity (usually an operator and the person who wishes to gamble); Normally money (the ‘stake’) is paid by the loser to the winner; The outcome is uncertain and the activity involves risk; The result is determined at least partly by chance; Participation is an active experience but can be avoided by not taking part.




What is problem gambling?


Problem gambling is an urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling is often explained by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behaviour. Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria. Pathological gambling is a common disorder that is associated with both social and family costs.




Can we help?


Yes everyone can help the foundation from businesses to individuals by downloading, filling out the donation form and send it by post at 90/91, Second Floor, Psaila Street, Birkirkara, BKR9073.




What is the player's charter?


Players Charter is a document which was written in order to set out guidelines for both the authority personnel as well as to consumers related to gambling and standards of service.




How many remote gaming companies are licensed in Malta?


Over 250 remote gaming companies call this island paradise home and the remote gaming sector is responsible for over 12% of the country’s GDP.




What is Responsible Gaming?


Today, you can bet anywhere, anytime on just about anything. With opportunities to gamble increasing and advertising enticing us to gamble more frequently, spreading the word about how to gamble safely is becoming more important than ever. For us, responsible gambling is about both the individual gambler and the wider community. Responsible gambling for individuals means:

  • They may gamble for pleasure and entertainment but are aware of their likelihood of losing and understand the associated risks,
  • They exercise control over their gambling activity, and
  • Responsible gambling occurs in balance with other activities in their lives and is not causing problems or harm for themselves or others.
Responsible gambling for the broader community, including gambling providers, governments, and sporting associations, requires:
  • Shared responsibility for generating awareness of the risks associated with gambling,
  • Creating and promoting environments that prevent or minimise problem gambling, and being responsive to community concerns around gambling.





 

EXPERIENCED BUYERS

When should I consider upsizing/downsizing?


When your current home isn't working for your lifestyle any more. If you're wandering around empty rooms wondering why you have so much space you never use, it's time to look for something smaller. If you're tripping over your family members, belongings and dying for a little elbow room, it's time to upsize. Life changes, be sure that your home fits your current needs.




What are some things I can do to make sure my home sells for top dollar?


It depends how far you're willing to go. Updating elements of the home such as electrical, furnace, A/C, roof, etc. can greatly increase the value of a home when it hits the market. However, these can sometimes be costly undertakings. If you have the resources to do these kinds of updates, buyers are sure to love the property, but there are also lots of smaller things that you can do to help increase the value of your home. Simply re-painting and staging the space can go a long way to helping buyers envision themselves living in that home. Plus, doing a bit of yard work out front, planting a few flowers, trimming the hedges, etc., can really help amp up your curb appeal. If you're thinking about selling your current home to buy a new one, it's always a good idea to discuss with your REALTOR® some strategies and upgrades that you might want to do to the home before going live with your listing.




What are some things to look for if I'm considering buying an income property?


Are you going to live in the home and rent it or is it strictly for rental purposes?
If you're going to live in the home as well, you will want to make sure that you look for properties with separate entrances and apartments that meet rental codes and regulations.
What is your price range? You want to make sure that if you're buying an income property, you're able to afford it. Always be sure to take into account the possibility of vacancies. Even if you get great tenants, there will unavoidably be some months where you may not have anyone renting. You will need to make sure that if you have a streak of bad luck and aren't able to find a renter for whatever reason, that it won't break your bank to be carrying the mortgage until a new renter is found. Location, location, location.
This is really a personal choice, but it's typically a good idea to own an investment property nearby where you live. This is simply because as a landlord, you need to be in close proximity to respond to any emergency issues (burst pipes, heating issues, etc.). That's not to say you can only invest in your home town, many people do own investment properties in other cities or even countries, but if you are going to invest from a distance, you need to make sure to have an excellent property manager on your team who is nearby the income property and on call 24/7 to respond on your behalf in case of emergencies.




What do I need to know if I want to be a landlord?


You need to know the rules and regulations. Being a landlord is a big responsibility and it's good to do your research before bringing any renters into a property that you own. The Landlord-Tenant Board (LTB) website has tons of information about what's involved with being a landlord as well as standardized rental leases and tenant notifications which you can download and use free of charge. Other than being well-versed in the rules and regulations of the rental world, the other big thing to remember is to be selective when choosing a tenant. Take the time to interview potential renters, check references and go over what is expected of the tenants who rent from you. Once you have signed on the dotted line, you are in a binding contract, so it's important to do your due diligence to ensure you have secured a good tenant.




Why should I use a REALTOR®?


The world of real estate can be confusing (and quite costly if you make an error when purchasing or selling a house). REALTORS® are trained professionals who are knowledgeable about their field. They are on your team 100% and will represent you to make sure you get what you want out of the transaction. They know the ins and outs of the paperwork, they are skilled negotiators and have tons of expertise to help answer the many questions you're sure to have. A lot of people think that listing a property without a Realtor will save them money in the long run because they don't have to pay a commission fee, but if even one small error is made in the documentation process, the resulting legal fees could be more than double what you would have paid in commission. Plus, REALTORS® are local specialists. It's important to hire someone who is very familiar with the neighbourhood where you are looking to buy so that they are able to let you know about any potential issues that may not be included in the listing information.




What are some pros/cons of a fixer upper?


PROS You have the opportunity to increase the value of your home by adding some sweat equity. If you can buy an inexpensive property, do some renos and bring it into the modern age, you can often sell it at quite a profit. CONS It is a lot of work. You have to be knowledgable about home renovations and be prepared to take on a long-term project. It's important to ensure that you do renovations properly (with building permits and everything up to code) or else it can cost you in fines and secondary renovations.




What should I know to avoid becoming "House Poor"?


Know your numbers. Make sure that you know exactly how much of a mortgage you can handle, how much of a down payment you can make, and how much your closing costs will add up to. Ensure that when you are figuring out your monthly payments, that you are taking into account utilities and property taxes, rather than just your mortgage principal and interest payments. Once you know your numbers, make sure you communicate that to your REALTOR® so that they can show you viable options in your price range. It's easy to be tempted by the shiny allure of stunning homes, but always make sure you keep an eye on the price tag and stay in budget to aviod becoming house poor.




How do I find good tenants for my income property?


Advertise and interview. Think about who your ideal tenant would be (a student, a young professional, etc.) and then try to target your advertising to places where they would see it (a college campus housing board, kijiji, etc.). Once you get some interest, don't feel pressured to sign with the first tenant that comes along. Take the time to interview all interested parties. Ask for a reference from a previous landlord if possible to find out if they have a good history of paying rent on time and taking care of the property. Doing your due diligence up front will help save you a lot of headache later.




My parents are moving in with us. What should I look for in an in-law suite?


Having your parents or in-laws move in with you can be a wonderful but also challenging situation. There are many reasons parents move in with their children, so whether it be for financial reasons, health reasons, or by choice, the important thing to remember is that with two families merging into one home, there needs to be respect for one another and respect of privacy. A move like this is certainly an adjustment period for everyone, so you need to have your private space and so do your parents/in-laws. Ideal in-law suites have a separate entrance, separate kitchen and private bed/bath facilities, but also have a large enough space that when the kids or grandkids want to hang out with the parents/grandparents, they can. Just keep in mind that even if you're buying the house, your parents/in-laws still have a valid opinion and should have a say in the final decision since they are going to be living there too and everyone needs to love it.