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LOURDES (Small)

A Week in the Life of a Property Consultant –  Lourdes Muscat at Pierre Faure Real Estate

Most people need to make a living of sorts, and every job has its ups and downs. It does, however, help if you enjoy the work that you do. When you broach the subject of work with Lourdes Muscat, experienced property consultant at Pierre Faure Real Estate, her eyes light up and a smile flashes across her face. “I wouldn’t have done this job for so many years if I didn’t derive such satisfaction from it”, she says. In Lourdes’s job, it is important to deliver a service to your clients with passion. You need, she says, to stop thinking about non-commercial properties as merely houses, but as potential homes or investments. That is when you start to factor in the vital detail that you are helping families or individuals choose the home that is the most suitable for them, or the investment that they most need, and that is what she loves the most – the happiness that stems from choosing the most fitting places for the right families or single investors. Experience in the business has really enabled her to develop a sense of what is best for different family units with varying circumstances. The feeling of really having been able to aid someone with such a crucial decision is priceless, she goes on to add. Apart from this, there is the genuine bond that arises out of sharing experiences with a family over the home they have recently acquired – for instance, their delight for their new garden, and the wonderful feeling of being able to enjoy a new space with a beloved pet.

Of course, jobs in every line of work bring challenges with them, and property consultation is no exception. Among the frustrations Lourdes has to deal with on a regular basis are Malta’s traffic situation as she navigates from one property or client to the next, encounters with other agents who might not be as professional in their methods as she is used to being, and also difficult clients. The latter is something that anyone who provides a service of any sort needs to get accustomed to. However, a little empathy goes a long way to doing this job well. That is where a heightened sense of professionalism comes in – not allowing the pitfalls of the job (including irritated clients who may take their exasperation out on you) to affect you personally.

When I asked Lourdes to describe a typical week at work, she had to stop to consider it for a moment. Ultimately, she says, one of the best things about her job is that there really is no fixed schedule – the excitement of not having a mundane routine is, in fact, one of things that drives her. When pressed to explain what her work at Pierre Faure mostly entails, she says that a typical week might include a Monday morning meeting to discuss and review the team’s progress with respect to the properties listed and the exchange of experiences related to this, as well as calling clients to follow up on the places shown and give/receive feedback. Making sure that the administrative work is kept up to date is also necessary in order to keep things running smoothly, so constantly keeping track of the paperwork concerning the listings is usually included in this. Naturally, an essential portion of the duties involves making viewing appointments and showing properties to prospective buyers, but Lourdes shares the fact that a good amount of her work is of an advisory nature – making sure that clients realise that the property is being sold for the right reasons, and at the most appropriate price. Life can sometimes deal us unfair blows, and the last thing a conscientious property consultant like Lourdes wants is for a client to make a rash decision concerning something as major as selling or buying property. That is one of the things that most comes to the fore about her job at Pierre Faure – she and her colleagues have a personal connection with the properties that they sell or find for their clients. Lourdes also feels very strongly about the fact that she and her fellow associates are team players, always ready to thrash things out together and lend each other a helping hand.

Another aspect of her job that she feels is advantageous is her ability to work flexible hours. She adds with a cheeky grin that if her day starts to feel stressful, she can always fit in some kind of activity in order to help her let off some steam and relax, such as attending a yoga or Zumba class – and she doesn’t even need to inform her boss!

Lourdes’s favourite properties, that she has had the pleasure of finding owners for, are typical Maltese townhouses. She lists the myriad features that these wonderful buildings have going for them – large apertures allowing in plenty of natural light, colourful balconies, a structure and materials that allow the houses to keep cool in the oppressive Maltese summer heat, walls that can be easily plastered – the list goes on. Another element that people forget about these buildings is that they point to a facet of Maltese identity which is part and parcel of our heritage and environment – the fact that we are islanders. Taking a proper look at how they have been constructed allows both local and foreign buyers an insight into how the Maltese lived in bygone times. She goes on to describe how she has been lucky enough to recently sell an imposing double-fronted townhouse in the quiet village of Żejtun, and another elegant one in Mdina. Is there anything she doesn’t like about these sorts of properties? I probe, teasingly. Well, there is one thing, she says, a smile playing on her lips – there aren’t enough of them!

Other characteristics that she enthuses about are buildings with gardens or outdoor spaces, since, again, these are in short supply and high in demand. On the more unusual side of things, she has also had the distinct pleasure of coming across houses with a certain history behind them, or with peculiar tales attached to them, such as buildings equipped with war-time shelters and palazzi with servants’ quarters.

Ending off on a light note, I asked Lourdes to depict a funny experience that she’s had out of her many years in the sector. A distinctly surreal incident occurred when she was looking for a property in a high-end area. Dressed to impress in a smart knee-length office dress and suitably-heeled shoes, the last thing that she expected was for a neighbour to bark at her that she needed to get out of that neighborhood because she looked suspicious! – You simply have to laugh at these things, she says, and roll with the punches. Other humorous occasions have include unrealistic perceptions of the size and value of ones property – which, unfortunately, are too often precipitated by irresponsible property agents who try to aggrandise owners’ sense of confidence in their property’s worth.

Whichever way Lourdes looks at her profession, she feels lucky to be involved in a sector that plays such a fundamental role in people’s happiness, important investments and sense of place. Even more so, she feels glad to belong to a team for whom this contentment forms such an essential part of their job satisfaction…not to mention the financial benefit of closing a deal!

 

Pierre Faure Real Estate & Malta Property Auctioneers are currently looking for the right persons to join their small and mighty team. If you are looking for a new career path with a helpful and successful team, write to them now on info@pierrefaure.com

 

Auction 37 – October 2018

smartchoicegifMalta Property Auctioneers has been progressively evolving to become the go to place to buy or sell property in Malta. In the catalogue for our October auction (www.maltapropertyauctioneers.com) , you will realize that again the bulk of the properties are high-end real estate. 2 Luxury villas in Santa Maria Estate, 2 top seafront apartments as well as a guesthouse in Sliema and a Portomaso apartment to name a few.
One may ask, why do these luxury properties end up at auction? There are a number of reasons why properties are offered for sale in this way. Luxury inventory is sometimes a little harder to sell because the potential buyers pool is relatively smaller, however we have come up with marketing ways to expose these properties to a wider audience, therefor attracting the right bidders. Also, very often, sellers are confused by a wide variation of different valuations from different agents or architects, so the auction offers an opportunity to offer the property at a more realistic price and only if the demand is high will the price increase.
Bank repossessions, marriage disputes, family feuds and inheritance are also possible cases but most vendors are simply individuals seeking to sell their property at true market value and within a shorter time frame. These are the kinds of vendors Malta Property Auctioneers seeks out in order to offer its clients unique investment opportunities and a fair chance to cut a good deal.
If you are looking to sell a property quickly but still wish to achieve its maximum value within a stipulated timeframe, there really isn’t a better option for you. Pick up the phone, give us a call and one of our highly trained staff will guide you through the whole process. Together we will achieve promised results.
We take this opportunity to remind and invite you to our next upcoming auction, scheduled for 21st October at Palazzo Violetta

Acquiring Property Leads

Running a successful real estate office is no easy task but could be very awarding. One of the hardest tasks is managing people. We are all different and have different expectations, different characters, different goals and different ideas of success. What motivates one person may be an others downfall so it is not always easy to keep everyone’s spirits high.

What I have found however, is that generally, when people are busy, they tend be happier, even if they are not necessarily closing deals. Good agents know that very often it is a numbers game, and the more clients, the more leads, the more listings and the more appointments you manage to fit into your routine, the much higher the chances of making a sale.lead-generation

So how does an office generate leads?

I don’t think I’m letting the cat out of the bag here, but nowadays a large percentage of leads come through online channels. No estate agency is without a website of their own, everyone is aware of the power of facebook and how important it is to divert traffic to your site. On an island where 95% of internet users check their social media everyday, you need to create presence as often as possible,

Another major important strategy, which i have found to generate quality leads is online portals. There are a number of overseas sites that offer a fantastic service. Locally there are also lots of places like Maltapark and others that do a fairly decent job.

A site that deserves particular mention, is the recently launched www.propertymarket.com.mt which is focused only on real estate. Many other similar local sites have tried to gather all the estate agents listings in one place, but propertymarket seems to be fast becoming the leading lead generator and the go to site for property- hunters.  If you haven’t listed your properties there yet, I suggest you do.

There are many other ways of generating good leads but I think I’ve given away enough of my secrets for now. On a final note, don’t forget that even though you may have hundreds of leads a day, you need to make sure they are good qualified leads to avoid wasting precious time…but that’s a whole different blog in itself!

 

Madliena vs Victoria Gardens

Anyone who knows anything about the Malta real estate market will tell you that the most prestigious, exclusive and expensive area to buy a villa in Malta is Madliena.

Madliena, which forms part of the Swieqi local council, is one of only a handful of villa areas in Malta.
Whilst there are other villa areas in Malta one could mention, the main villa areas are Santa Marija Estate in Mellieha, Iklin in the centre of the island, San Pawl Tat- Targa & Birguma, which are adjacent and only divided by a by-pass and form part of Naxxar and last but not least Victoria Gardens which form part of Ta’ L-Ibrag, which again forms part of the Swieqi local council.
Other area synonymous with up-market sought after villas and definitely worthy of mention are Wardija, Tas-Silg in the south and Misrah Kola in Attard.

As my title suggests, however i am writing to distinguish between the East coast villa areas of Madliena vs Victoria Gardens:

In the late 70’s and 80’s, Sliema’s large seafront properties, which where mainly owned by the upper class, where starting to be demolished to make way for apartment blocks. These families started moving towards Swieqi/ ibragg and Madliena and building lovey homes there. The area today known as Victoria Gardens was little known and the value of land was way cheaper than Madliena
Year upon year the value of land in Madliena rose and rises but it is no surprise that over the years Victoria Gardens has caught up.

What was it that made Madliena so sought after in the first place?
I would think that the main points that attracted these upper end people to Madliena was that it sat quietly upon a hill with extensive country , valley and sea views overlooking beautiful sunrises yet being within a very short drive back down to Sliema where they originated from. Villas had comfortable and sizeable gardens where privacy was key and well respected.

madliena

Today this has somewhat changed since large villas have also now been torn down to make way for smaller properties and much of the build-able area has been developed with hundreds, if not thousands of villas built over the last two decades alone.

Victoria Gardens reminds me of Madliena 15 years ago. Most of the villas there are still Fully detached and the pace of development over the last couple of decades has been much slower. Don’t get me wrong, the values and prices are almost the same as Madliena, and in my opinion this is rightly so since this hamlet has remained much smaller, much less congested yet still offering all the comforts Madliena offers , ie: A quiet, safe villa area, surrounded by valleys in the immediate vicinity ( a short drive) to what has now become our commercial city – (St.Julians/Sliema). I also find that Victoria Gardens is a lot less polluted and has much less traffic, since, unlike Madliena which has become a well known short cut towards Gharghur and Naxxar, it is not a thoroughfare and one only enters this hamlet if necessary.

In a nut shell, whilst Madliena holds a more iconic and much better known brand name, the lesser known rival in Ibragg might be the wiser investment for the near future.

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(above) New Villas on Plan in Madliena being offered from €1,600,000 in shell form (click for more info)

 

 

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(above) Brand New highly finished villa in Victoria Gardens offered at €1,850,000 fully finished. (click for more info)

 by Stefan Consiglio

 

Property Page Competition

Pierre Faure Real Estate, in conjuction with www.techmarket.com.mt, are launching a facebook competition and giving away a Samsung Galaxy tab 3 (WIFI).

To participate, all one needs to do is log onto facebook, like Pierre Faure Real Estate’s Page and share the competition as seen below.

Pierre Faure Real Estate are a team of highly trained and professional, experienced real estate agents in Malta always ready to offer a personalised service.

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