Real Estate in this Covid world

An interesting interview on ‘ Real Estate in this Covid world ’, organised by NEWSBOOK and featuring three established leaders on the local real estate scene, which also includes our MD, Ian Casolani.


What changes have local companies made to cope with these unusual times? How is the economy going to survive? And what are the things that local businesses can do to stay ahead of the curve?

In the series ‘Business Talks’, Coryse Borg speaks to a number of movers and shakers in various spheres, such as banking, retail, real estate, events co-ordinators and more.

According to data by the Malta Developers Association, July was the best month in the past years when it comes to the number of promises of sales made on property. Preliminary data shows that more than 1,600 promises of sale were registered last month, with a total value exceeding €330 million. This puts July 2020 as one of the best months since 2017.

In this edition, Borg speaks to Frank Salt Director Douglas Salt, Remax CEO/Managing Director Kevin Buttigieg and Belair Managing Director Ian Casolani about whether they have seen a difference between business pre- and during-COVID and what they think will happen if this current situation goes on for more than the next few months.

“It is quite upsetting… after having thrown hundreds of thousands of euros to sustain our operations, that certain sectors were allowed to act in an irresponsible manner”

“Our biggest challenge was keeping the team focused, motivated and positive,” Casolani said, “because contrary to what many might think, not everyone in property makes millions every day. You get agents who are earning an average wage, they have their bills to pay… there were even psychological struggles that people had to deal with.”

“We got no aid at the height of the pandemic, and we were told to use our own resources, which we did,” Salt said, “and it is quite upsetting at this stage, after having thrown hundreds of thousands of euros to sustain our operations, that certain sectors were allowed to act in an irresponsible manner.”

“I think everybody is in a confused situation. As a Maltese public, I think we can do without parties for another six months and see if this thing can clear itself out,” said Buttigieg, “Everyone likes a party; I’m one of them! But unfortunately… when you’re a small island like us, it’s easy to win with our numbers, but is even easier to lose with our numbers.


Portomaso – Lifestyle Living… As good as it gets!

Written by Darryn Portelli.


Portomaso is by far the most sought-after location for residential, business and leisure developments on the island. Located in the heart of St Julians on the east coast of the Mediterranean, the area was conceived and developed by one of Malta’s leading developers and has since won a string of accolades since its completion in 1999, most notably the Best Marina Development and also Best Luxury Development amongst others.



Portomaso’s 420 apartments are some of the most luxurious homes in Malta and these include apartments ranging from circa 50sqm to circa 300sqm across the various blocks overlooking the marina and open sea, as well as others on the back of the project, overlooking the gardens or service road. These include exceptionally spacious duplex apartments with sea views and garden terraces, magnificent  penthouses with private pools offering high-quality finishes and the breath-taking views of the marina and the open sea. The Portomaso development is ever popular with local buyers, as well as foreign investors and has proven to be among the most exceptional investment opportunity in Malta’s property market.

This iconic development strikes a perfect balance between tranquil leisure and exciting city life becoming a unique destination in Malta, home to some of the most important leisure and catering outlets.







I am lucky to have been personally involved in this project from the beginning, when at the time I helped run the sales office on site and was responsible for the sales and marketing of the project. Throughout the years, I ended up dealing with top business executives, as well as families from all over the world, who decided to settle down at Portomaso – a base from which they work and play  and when I occasionally bump into some of these people, the feedback I get from them (in many cases) is still as positive as it was back in the day.

Home to one of the most exclusive hotels in Malta – the Hilton – together with the Business Tower, which welcomes top operators in the gaming and financial services sectors, amongst others. Portomaso also houses one of the leading Yacht Marinas in the Mediterranean, a Casino, as well as ‘Club 22’, one of Malta’s most fashionable nightspots, enjoying exceptional 360 degree views from the 22nd floor of the Portomaso Business Tower!

Those who have chosen Portomaso as their home, including the many local clients that would have sold their villas to move into this magnificent development, have all commented on how comfortable and peaceful living in Portomaso actually is. With everything at your finger-tips, a supermarket that can deliver to your door or even push your own trolley from the supermarket to your apartment, being close to everything you need without having to commute anywhere is priceless.

The development is also very well kept, with maintenance and cleanliness being a top priority. Landscaping is also a big part of this and having a five star hotel on site makes sure everything is kept in tip top condition, whereas another important aspect, being security, is present on site 24/7, ensuring residents’ peace of mind at all times.



Last but not least, having the five star Hilton Hotel on site, is definitely a huge advantage, whereby residents can use the facilities of the hotel be it the indoor pool, gym, spa and mostly during the summer the residents also have exclusive access to their own beach club – The Merkanti.




To conclude, 15 years later, I still honestly feel that this project has managed to fulfil the aspirations of the world‘s most discerning seekers of property, as well as the yachting community, who can enjoy the pleasure, comfort and convenience of stepping out of their homes and straight onto their boats.

Portomaso ticks all the boxes when it comes to comfort, style, secure investment as also a prestigious address, as when it comes to property it is always about location, location, location…….


FIRST TIME BUYERS: Things to do and consider


“Being in the pool of first time buyers is one of life’s experiences which you’re unlikely to forget quickly. It’s an important and long-term decision that will affect your future.  Whatever the reason for purchase, you should be aware of what is in store for you before making any commitment.”

– Steven Borg, Head of Sales


In a nutshell:

  1. Commitment needed.
  2. Find the best bank for the best home loan to your budget.
  3. Find the right agent, find the right property. 
  4. Find the right Notary to seal the deal. 
  5. 5% Stamp Duty.
  6. Move into your new home.



As first time buyers, in many cases, you’ll be entering into a long financial commitment which may affect your future lifestyle choices, together with any long term career plans, so it’s imperative that you first understand this and are prepared for what lies ahead. Ensuring your mid to long term career, allows you to make this important decision with more confidence. If you’re partnering up to purchase a property, it’s also important to ensure that both of you are on the same commitment page and that any worst case scenarios are discussed in the case of default or life changing events.



Mortgages are a common facility that most first time buyers need. There are a few leading banks who offer varying interest rates and fees. Enquiring with a few leading banks to see which offers the best deal should be one of your first steps. As you would with any major purchase, it’s imperative that you determine what your realistic budget is before you begin looking for your property. It would be disheartening to fall in love with a property only to find out down the road , that it is way outside your achievable budget. It will become a disappointing search and possibly set an imaginary standard that will potentially derail your expectations and ultimately make your search an unpleasant and frustrating one .



Searching for the Ideal Property does not have to be a  stressful or tedious venture and professional assistance from a trusted estate agent will be key.  It’s important to utilise the services of an agent you feel comfortable with and trust.  There are many properties available , and your agent should explain the differences between what’s on the market.  Location, apartment versus house, it’s size, current condition and ‘added value’ are essential components to be discussed and evaluated. Once properly informed, deciding on your ideal property should come naturally.

‘Hard sell’ sales techniques should be avoided at all costs, as this may  lead you down a slippery slope of decision making which could be regrettable and not easily reversible without loss of investment. Developing a trusting relationship with your agent is in your best interests, as this will be more financially beneficial and give you peace of mind that your agent is not working solely for their own short-term financial gain.

Establishing and shortlisting property preferences is a task that is best tackled with an organisation that will allow you (and your partner) to discuss and assess each potential choice, ultimately helping you make informed decisions and comparisons that could also serve for future negotiation when the time comes to conclude.  

Your estate agent (intermediary) is the ideal person to place an offer. Usually the agent will have the knowledge of what an owner will or will not accept, and if negotiation is impossible, your agent will be trained to obtain such information that will guide you to the best possible terms. Owner/sellers generally vary in the way they like to be approached. Some prefer face to face interaction with the purchaser, whilst others prefer discussions to be conducted through the agent. This is the most crucial part of securing the best possible deal. Reputable agencies have trained agents who are always backed by management with years of experience in the field, thus will be instrumental in finding a ‘win win’ outcome for both parties.



Once you have decided and agreed on the price and terms and conditions, the services of a Notary Public is called upon to draw up a promise of sale agreement (POSA). The Notary is entrusted with ordering and vetting searches to ensure that you are obtaining the property with a clean title and free of any debt and encumbrances. The notary is often appointed by and paid for by the purchaser. Fees in relation to these services can be determined prior to the drawing up of the POSA. (Link to: Notary Bill Calculator).

The Notary will also assume the task of liaising with banks and providing the relative legal safeguards for the involved parties, whether there are any current loans on the property being purchased, as well as any  bank loan required to purchase the property. It’s important that all parties are clear on the terms and conditions set out in the POSA, as this is legally binding on both parties. It is also imperative to raise any points that you may not be sure of with your agent and/or notary wherever necessary. Currently, the Government of Malta has extended the law which covers first time buyers NOT to pay any Stamp Duty on the first €175,000. If the property costs more than €175,000, then 5% on the balance would be payable as stamp duty on contract.

Architects should be appointed by the purchaser to confirm that the property has been constructed in line with building regulations and  Planning Authority permits have been approved. Architects are also required to fill in Land Registry Site Plans (where applicable) and complete the necessary ‘Schedule 8’ form. It’s important to note that notaries will not be held responsible for any building irregularities and you should ensure that all is in order prior to signing the final contract.

Fun Fact: 100% of first time buyers have a median age of 32 when it comes to purchasing a Home.


Should you require more information on any of the above, Belair Property agents are available to provide professional advice.


5 Things to Know about Buying a Property in Malta

There are 5 main things to know about buying a Property in Malta.


Every Country has these key factors which vary, some slightly and some a bit more. Here it’s pretty straight forward… if you listen to the right advice.

Purchasing a home is exciting as much as it is frustrating, after all it is a big commitment. If you are prepared and have the right assistance, the procedure can be fun! These are a few tips that might help you in the process.

  1. Savings – Make sure you have at least 10% of the price of the property on hand, as this is usually required as down payment.                                                                                                                                                                                            
  2. Finances – It is ideal that if you are getting financed by the bank you are aware of how much the bank will give you before starting your search. Too many times clients see a property that they like but the bank then refuses to give them the amount they request. To buy a property in Malta, finding the right Bank is crucial.                      This link can be helpful: Home Loan Calculator                                                                                                                                                         
  3. Expert Advise – As soon as you announce that you’re looking to buy property in Malta, you can expect friends and family to come out of the woodwork with all their well-intentioned advice. Remember that principles that may have been true in the past don’t necessarily continue to be so in the ever changing property market.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  4. Key Features – It’s always a good idea to make a list of key features you want in your new home. Talk to friends and family members who own a home and ask them what features they wish they had or didn’t have. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, or, do you want an office?  Open or closed floor plan. Most likely you will not find a house that has everything on your list so you should prioritise it, which features are a must and which are preferred. Be ready to compromise.                                                                                                                                            
  5. Hire the right real estate agent – You’ll be working closely with your real estate agent, so it’s essential that you find someone you get along well with. The right buyer’s agent should be highly skilled, motivated and knowledgeable about the area.  


We at Belair do our best to provide the best customer experience and professional assistance to clients looking to purchase a property. Our agents go through thorough training to make sure they are prepared to service our clients in the best way possible. Our aim is to make this journey as smooth as possible. If you are looking for your first home or perhaps looking at buying as an investment, give us a call.

Buying a property in Malta has never been made easier.


The Rental Market in the North

In November 2018, ARQ Economic & Business Intelligence, an economic advisory firm part of local professional services company ARQ Group, issued Malta’s first housing rental index. It was no surprise that their research found that the rent in Malta has increased drastically, and the rental market in the North of Malta is no different. 


Their research also uncovered that rent increase was mostly seen in the north and western parts of the island. In the north the increase mostly affected three-bedroom apartments, maisonettes and penthouses. Two-bedroom maisonettes also saw an increase. One of the factors contributing to this rise might be foreign workers primarily looking at the Northern regions due to them being commercial and entertainment hubs and also house a large percentage of hotels and restaurants.

Looking to find out more about the North?


Is rent affordability  becoming a challenge?

Although there is concern that rent affordability is becoming a problem, we at Belair still find it hard to find available properties for our clients here in the north. We never seem to have enough property on our database no matter how substantial it is. Belair Mellieha branch has been open for two months now and we are on a roll. We have a high demand for rental properties, thus we are always looking for new properties to add to our portfolio. If you are interested in renting your property kindly contact us so we can discuss in more detail and reply to any questions that you might have. Our seasoned letting agents can make this process smooth and hassle free.


Belair Property Mellieħa… Two Months Later

The beginning of great things is always the hardest, they say, and that is very true. Starting up a new real estate office is not a walk in the park. From taking the decision, to finding the right location, to the process of setting up and then finally open. Well, that is the easy part!


The Belair Mellieha office


The toughest part is finding the right people to partner with. Apart from the fact that this is a very competitive market and all agencies are continuously looking for people, this career is not for everyone.  Many come to talk to us but quickly realise that it is not for them, no safety net, scared off by self-reliance. Others come full of enthusiasm and start full of energy, but quit soon after, realising that relying on oneself to create takes focus and persistence. It’s not just this, we also reject a lot of people if they do not fit the company culture. Belair has always strived to partner with people who have a positive outlook, with a strong sense of responsibility and self-confidence, love working in a team environment, and who have it in them to strive for success and create a reputation they can be proud of.

As part of our induction, we at Belair offer classroom training, however, we believe this is not enough to have the best onboarding experience. Therefore we provide unconventional group training and one to one training to supply the agent with the knowledge and tools required to succeed in this amazing industry. Leads generated from our website and marketing are passed on and for the first few months we work hand in hand with our agents to help them create their own network. The support from the office manager is of course ongoing. This however is not enough if the agent does not have GRIT.

Make no mistake, this is an industry where you must be resilient, and you must be ready to push yourself to the limit. You must be active. Talk to people. You treat everyday as if it is your own business, because it is. The key attribute for success in this industry is mindset. You must want to succeed no matter what and not give up in the face of rejection. No matter how well trained you are and no matter how much support you get from your manager and team, it is you that must put in the work, make that extra phone call, give that extra business card out and put up that one more contact poster.


The second most important thing for someone to succeed, is the company they partner with. It is imperative that one chooses a company where individuals are successful, not only the company. This company needs to have a great reputation and values that you share.

I guarantee, the satisfaction and monetary reward will be worth your while. If you feel that you have what it takes, let’s meet and see if there is a fit.