Purchasing property in Malta is a relatively straightforward procedure and involves two steps. Once the purchase price and other conditions of the transaction are agreed to between the parties, a preliminary agreement is entered into, the duration of which is subject to the agreement of the parties.
The most common duration being between 3 to 6 months, unless the property still needs to be built in which case the duration will be longer. It is customary for the seller to be paid a 10% deposit on the preliminary agreement by the purchaser, who also needs to pay 1% provisional duty on documents.
Throughout the duration of the preliminary agreement, searches would be made at the Public Registry and Land Registry to confirm that the seller is really the owner of the property and that there are no debts or unknown burdens on the property. Once the searches have been carried out satisfactorily, the final deed of transfer is published whereby ownership of the property passes to the purchaser, the seller is paid the balance of the price and the purchaser also needs to pay the balance of duty of documents of 4%.