Buying property in Malta as a new home is always a massive decision, with a ton of factors to keep in mind. Apart from your finances, there’s the property’s size, location, layout, style, features and more, all of which should ultimately align with your tastes and personal image of a dream home.
But when looking for a property for sale in Malta for your family, the list of things to consider only grows. Suddenly, it’s not just your own needs and preferences you’re trying to meet, but those of a number of people who will all experience the home in a different way.
Those needs will grow and change over time too, so the perfect family home has to be one that can evolve with you, while always serving as the heart of the lifetime of memories you plan to create.
It can be daunting, but just like starting a family, finding and perfecting your ideal home can be one of the most exciting times of your life. Of course, just as no two families are the same, there’s no single blueprint for what makes a great family home, but here are our top tips for what to look out for as you embark on your search.
One of the most important things your home should give you is a sense of safety and peace of mind for the whole family. One aspect of ensuring this is picking the right location: while buying Malta and Gozo real estate is generally very safe places to live, busier, more commercial areas naturally tend to have a few more dangers to consider, while quieter, more residential areas popular with other families could add to your feeling of security.
You also need to ensure that your home will be safe for young children to roam around in, so keeping an eye out for potential hazards at an early stage could save you a lot of stress later. Something as simple as a staircase can prove extremely dangerous to a curious toddler, and while you can always install gates, single-storey homes are often popular with families for this reason.
Other features like windows, balconies, swimming pools, fireplaces and even normal kitchens and bathrooms will all need some measure of childproofing, so it’s worth considering how easy your chosen home will make this purchasing process.
Your family needs space to breathe, and room to grow. With children running around and all the natural hustle and stresses of family life, having enough room for everyone to feel at ease is a huge benefit, so aim for as much space as your finances will allow.
Think about the number of bedrooms you’ll need: one for each child is obviously ideal, but larger bedrooms will make it easier to share if it’s necessary. Bathrooms too: not having to wait your turn when everyone is getting ready for work, school or going out can take a lot of stress out of busy mornings and evenings.
You should also consider the space children need to play with their toys and games, making a sizeable living room more attractive. And for the grownups, a quieter study or work area could be a lifesaver, particularly if working from home may be part of your lifestyle.
Remember, if you’re buying your home or planning to rent it for years, a family’s needs change quickly as children grow older. A teenager’s requirements for space, privacy and entertainment are very different to a toddler’s, and if you think your family could get bigger than it is when you first move in, you should be asking yourself early on whether your home can meet those future needs.
3. Outdoor space
Children love to run around, play and explore, and having some outdoor space in your home can make a world of difference. Having a space for children to safely expend their energy and get some fresh air without having to leave the house makes looking out for a garden, yard or pool area – once properly child-proofed – well worth your while, adding to your relaxation and keeping the kids happy, while also offering you a space to entertain guests and even making it easier to keep a pet.
Of course, this may not always be possible, and if your finances prove a limiting factor or other priorities take precedence, the area around your home could step in to offer those benefits instead. Consider your proximity to public playgrounds, gardens, countryside or seaside: having access to these open spaces a short distance from your home could provide an easy regular outing and stave off any cabin fever for you and the little ones.
As important as ensuring you have enough space is considering the right layout for your family home. Open plan arrangements give you clear sightlines to keep an eye on children who may be playing in a different room or outside, as well as avoiding a feeling of overcrowding in smaller spaces. On the other hand, you may find that being able to close off certain rooms is more useful in keeping young children – and inevitable messiness – contained.
The layout of bedrooms and bathrooms is equally important. While having bedrooms close together could mean a little less privacy, you’ll probably find the convenience outweighs that when it comes to checking up on the kids at night or being close by if they come looking for comfort. Bathrooms should also be close enough to the children’s’ rooms, and ideally have a practical bathtub to take the hassle out of washing babies or uncooperative toddlers.
Multiple family members often means lots of possessions and if you’re not careful, endless clutter. Between toys, clothes, school supplies, books and games, children can be like magnets for accumulated stuff, and aren’t as a rule the most adept at keeping things organised.
But before resigning yourself to permanent mess, keep potential storage solutions in mind when looking at homes. Do your living room, bedrooms, kitchen and bathrooms have the space for the cupboards, shelves, bookcases and drawers you’ll need to keep your home organised? Can you get creative with any spare nooks and crannies? A box room, garage or washroom could also help with overflow and bulkier items that need stowing away.
If driving is your main mode of transportation, the availability of parking close to your home is always important to consider. And when raising a family – between school runs, extracurriculars, and the increased shopping load – you may find your journeys, and your dependence on your car, increasing significantly.
All this makes scoping out the parking situation all the more crucial when looking for a family home. The last thing you want is to be stuck lugging shopping bags a long way from the car to the front door every time you leave the house, particularly with small children in hand or in tow.
Get a good sense of what the street parking situation is like in the surrounding area and pay special attention to properties with a garage (which could also double up as a storage solution), driveway or included parking spot.
Of course, there’s always a trade-off to be made, and you may well find that the allure of a cozy house of character in a winding village street is worth the potential inconvenience, but being aware of possible challenges is a big part of making an informed choice.
7. Does it feel like home?
It’s difficult to pin down, but everyone has their own idea of what a home should feel like before buying a property in Malta. Your personal tastes, aesthetic or otherwise, will always play a huge role: perhaps you like your surroundings clean and modern, or perhaps you prefer a softer, more lived-in environment. But when buying a family home, you should also be asking yourself whether the house you’ve found is one you can imagine your family making memories in.
Ultimately, it may be little more than a gut feeling, but one you should listen to. Our childhood homes often carry a special place in our memory for the rest of our lives and helping to create those treasured memories for your own children is one of the joys of family life. If they’re old enough, visiting the house with your children could help guide you (apart from being a potentially fun family adventure). Ask yourself: does this place feel like it could become a safe, warm, welcoming backdrop to this stage of your family’s life together? Read more about why you should get on the Malta property market now.
Ready to start your search? Whether you’re looking to buy or rent, our expert Malta real estate agents can help guide you and ensure you and your family find your dream home. Get in touch today and search for your ideal home on the property market!
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