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Typical Maltese Door in Mdina

The real estate industry in Malta, like many others around the globe, is undergoing a transformation. With increasing competition and rising customer expectations, it’s crucial for real estate agencies to step up their game. In a recent mystery shopping exercise conducted Esprimi as recent as 2022, we uncovered some eye-opening insights that can help elevate the real estate  service standards across the industry. Let’s dive into the findings and explore actionable recommendations that can be put in place for Maltese real estate Industry can not only meets but exceeds client expectations.

The Importance of Service Quality in Real Estate

Before we delve into the specifics, it’s important to understand why service quality is so critical in real estate. Unlike other industries, buying or selling a property is a significant life event for most people. It involves large sums of money, emotional investment, and long-term implications. Therefore, the quality of service provided by real estate agents can significantly influence the overall experience and satisfaction of clients.  The agent must in today’s market earn their agency fee which the seller in Malta pays from their hard-earned monies.

Methodology of the Mystery Shopping Exercise

To get a comprehensive view of the service quality, the mystery shopping exercise evaluated 200 real estate agents from various agencies across Malta. The agents were assessed on their performance in handling both buyers and sellers, covering aspects such as listing quality, initial contact, phone conversations, property showings, follow-ups, and handling cancellations of appointments.

Key Criteria for Evaluation

For Buyers:

  1. Listing Quality: The visual and descriptive appeal of property listings.
  2. Initial Contact: The promptness and professionalism of the first interaction.
  3. Phone Conversation: The clarity, friendliness, and informativeness of phone interactions.
  4. Property Showing: The professionalism and preparedness during property showings.
  5. Follow-Up: The effectiveness and timeliness of follow-ups.

For Sellers:

  1. Online Request Handling: The responsiveness to online inquiries.
  2. Appointment Setting: The efficiency and professionalism in setting up appointments to view property in Malta.
  3. First Appointment: The preparedness and effectiveness of initial face-to-face meetings.
  4. Listing Presentation: The quality and informativeness of the property Malta listing presentation.
  5. Follow-Up: The thoroughness and timeliness of post-appointment follow-ups.

Findings: Where the Industry Stands

The results revealed a mixed bag of performance across the industry. While some agents excelled in certain areas, others fell short, indicating a need for more consistent service standards.

Positive Takeaways

High-Quality Listings:

Many agents were found to provide high-quality listings with clear, high-resolution images and detailed descriptions. This is a critical factor in attracting potential buyers and providing them with the necessary information to make informed decisions.

Professional Showings:

Agents generally performed well during property showings, demonstrating professionalism and preparedness. This creates a positive impression and helps build trust with potential buyers.

Areas for Improvement

Initial Contact and Follow-Ups:

One of the most significant issues identified was the inconsistency in initial contact and follow-up procedures. Some agents failed to provide business cards or contact information during the first interaction, making it difficult for potential buyers to follow up. Moreover, there were numerous instances where agents did not follow up after the initial contact or property showing, leaving clients feeling neglected and undervalued.

Phone Conversations:

There were also inconsistencies in the information provided during phone conversations. Some agents lacked sufficient knowledge about the properties they were representing, leading to confusion and frustration among potential buyers.

Online Request Handling:

In terms of handling online requests, while some agents responded promptly, others were slow to acknowledge inquiries or provided insufficient detail in their responses. This can leave potential clients feeling undervalued and unsure about the next steps.

Real-Life Examples of Service Gaps

To illustrate these issues more vividly, here are a few real-life examples encountered during the mystery shopping exercise:

Example 1: The Missing Business Card

A potential buyer contacted an agent to inquire about a property and arranged a meeting. During the meeting, the agent failed to provide a business card or any contact information. The buyer was left with no way to follow up, resulting in a lost opportunity for both the agent and the buyer.

Example 2: The Uninformed Agent

In another instance, a potential buyer called an agent to ask about the specifics of a property they were interested in. The agent struggled to provide basic information about the property, such as the number of bedrooms and the condition of the kitchen. This lack of knowledge eroded the buyer’s confidence and trust in the agent.

Example 3: The Unanswered Online Request

A seller submitted an online inquiry to list their property. While the initial acknowledgment was prompt, the detailed response was delayed by several days. By the time the agent responded, the seller had already engaged with another agency that provided a quicker and more detailed reply.

Recommendations for Elevating Service Standards

Based on the findings, here are some actionable recommendations for the Maltese real estate industry to improve service quality and enhance customer satisfaction:

1. Standardize Training and Protocols

Develop comprehensive training programs focusing on all aspects of customer service, from initial contact to follow-ups and cancellations. Ensure all agents are uniformly trained to maintain consistency in service delivery across the industry.

2. Enhance Initial Contact Procedures

Agents should be trained to personalize their interactions, address specific client needs, and provide complete contact information, including business cards, during the first meeting. Establish clear guidelines for response times to ensure all initial contacts are handled promptly and professionally.

3. Improve Communication Consistency

Create standardized templates for phone conversations and emails to ensure consistent and accurate information is provided. Regularly update agents with detailed property briefings to ensure they are well-informed and prepared for client interactions.

4. Optimize Property Showings

Provide agents with detailed checklists and comprehensive property information before showings. Train agents on effective showing techniques, including how to highlight key property features and address potential buyer questions. Implement a feedback system to continuously improve the quality of property showings based on client input.

5. Develop Comprehensive Follow-Up Systems

Use customer relationship management (CRM) software to automate follow-up reminders and ensure timely communications. Tailor follow-up messages to address specific client concerns and provide relevant updates. Track follow-up effectiveness and make adjustments as needed to improve engagement and conversion rates.

6. Leverage Technology for Listing Quality

Incorporate high-resolution images, virtual tours, and detailed floor plans in all property listings. Ensure all listings are regularly updated to reflect current property conditions and market data. Use client feedback to continuously refine and enhance the quality of property listings.

7. Improve Online Request Handling

Develop detailed response templates to ensure quick and informative replies to online inquiries. Implement systems to monitor response times and track the effectiveness of online request handling. Ensure all responses address client questions and provide comprehensive information about the next steps.

8. Enhance Marketing Materials

Regularly review and update marketing materials to ensure they are current and relevant. Ensure all marketing materials are professionally designed and provide valuable information to clients. Tailor marketing materials to address the specific needs and concerns of different client segments.

9. Gather and Act on Feedback

Establish mechanisms for continuous feedback collection from clients, including surveys and follow-up calls. Analyze feedback to identify common issues and areas for improvement. Use feedback to refine processes and enhance the overall customer experience.

10. Benchmark Against Competitors

Regularly compare service standards and performance metrics with industry competitors. Identify and adopt best practices from leading agencies to maintain a competitive edge. Engage in industry collaboration to share insights and improve overall service standards.


The findings from the mystery shopping exercise underscore the need for a more standardized and consistent approach to customer service in the Maltese real estate industry. By implementing these proposed real estate service standards in Malta, agencies can enhance their overall customer experience, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty. The Estate Section of the Malta Development Association can play a pivotal role in driving these improvements, ensuring that the industry meets and exceeds the expectations of both buyers and sellers.

By addressing the gaps identified and implementing these detailed suggestions, the Maltese real estate industry can significantly improve its service standards, leading to a better overall customer experience and higher satisfaction rates. It is important that the Industry works together to elevate the service standards in the market and ensure that every client interaction is a positive and memorable one.