A House of Character is a dream property for many since apart from looking spectacular when expertly converted, they are a cornerstone in Maltese architecture.
They were mainly built in the 17th and 18th century, with some dating back to up to 500 years. They can be found in various sizes and condition throughout most villages in Malta and Gozo.
What makes these them so attractive?
On entering any House of Character you will immediately see the charming affect they have on you. They are made from large stones, have high slabbed ceilings with wooden beams and custom made door/window fittings. Larger families were more common in the older so they are considered to be quite large and spacious for today’s standards. Most also come with a central court yard and/or a garden.
Houses of character are mainly found in the village, usually very close to the main church in a narrow street or alley which just adds to their charm. They give off a warm homely feeling making them ideal for bringing up a family.
Converted or Unconverted?
You will need to decide if you want to buy a property that has already been converted or you prefer to go for the cheaper option of an unconverted property and finish it off to your own taste and standards.
When buying a converted property, you will benefit from being able to see the property finished and having the option to move in as soon as the contract is ready.
Should you decide to go for the unconverted property, you will need to consider:
• A long list of expenses which will include Permits, architects, Notaries and construction workers.
• Time to get permits from MEPA
• Time to renovate
• Finding skilled workers
The work involved in converting any House of Character is quite demanding but can be equally rewarding. Most will require new flooring, water and electricity fittings throughout, membrane waterproofing, solar panels and air-conditioning.
You will also have to adhere by strict MEPA regulations who will insist on coming to see that works are being carried out according to plans.
Getting Expert Advice
It’s important that now you have found your dream property, you should contact an experienced architect who will be able to tell you what condition the building is in and give you an approximate idea of expenses and a timeframe if any work is to be done. They will also be able to advise you on building permits so you can see the full potential of the property.
Like buying any other property in Malta, you will also need a public Notary to confirm the status of the land and complete searches on the property.
When buying any converted House of Character, you will still have to allow for maintenance expenses which are a lot higher than a modern apartment. To keep the home looking good you will have to give a regular coat of paint to the outdoor windows and door fittings, cure the walls for dampness and also maintain the façade.
Check out the latest Houses of Character for sale in Malta & Gozo now.