First Home: Ready-Built or On Plan?


From the pros and cons to the really specific details, we look into the main differences. Our guide, top real estate consultant David John Dimech shares his advice.

Choosing a property to turn into a home is no easy task. First you need to decide what kind of place you’d like and figure out your budget, then the location, then go the viewings… and the list goes on and on. One of the more pertinent question in this process, however, is whether you should buy something that already exists or a property that’s still a blueprint on a piece of paper.

“On the one hand, buying on plan is usually cheaper and gives the client the option to customise finishes by choosing tiles, doors, paint colours, bathrooms and, in certain cases, even the layout,” says David J Dimech, one of our top sales consultants here at Dhalia. “On the other hand, when buying ready-built, the client has the advantage of seeing the property, its layout and its finishes in the flesh, thus getting an immediate feel of whether they like the property or not.”


With Malta’s property market booming over the past few years, there has been a high demand for ready-built properties, which has meant that prices for these have gone up. For this reason, first-time buyers and those purchasing a property single-handedly are likely to get more house for their money by buying on plan. Meanwhile, the duration of time taken for the property to be completed can be used to save some extra – and much-needed – cash for furnishings and other upgrades before the monthly loan repayments kick-in.



Moreover, due to financial planning and other commitments from the contractor’s side, some on-plan properties may come at a better price for those who are willing to wait. And time here is of the essence, as a family looking to downsize could give itself the luxury of not being pressured into selling at a lower price due to tight deadlines.


“When buying on plan, however, the assistance of a good estate agent is crucial to ensure you are buying from a trustworthy developer who has a good reputation and is capable of finishing the project on time and to your satisfaction,” David continues.


Even so, while buying on plan does have its advantages – including the fact that the property is likely to increase in value by the time it’s built, making it a great investment – it is not for everyone. For starters, those who are paying rent or are looking to move out from their current home as quickly as possible, will find that buying on plan will not suit their needs.


“Also, some people do not like the idea of investing or committing themselves to a large investment without physically seeing the property first, so, in these cases, they might feel more comfortable buying a property that is ready-built. There may also be some reliability issues if the developer chosen does not honour their obligations and the project is delayed, so there is a small but real risk.”


Buying ready-built also gives you a better idea of the feel of the property you will be purchasing, and any existing problems with the property (like mould or a lack of sunlight) can actually be spotted before. And it’s for that reason that we recommend that you view your property during the day and not after sundown.



Ultimately, the main component in this equation is what you are after, which is why it’s important to speak to one of our estate agents to ensure that your investment is in line with your plan.