Walking into the new Homes of Quality Sliema seafront premises, I am immediately struck how light and airy the place is. High ceilings and a predominance of white means that it imparts an impression of sophisticated class, while still remaining welcoming and hospitable.
I am taken on a quick tour of the premises and it certainly seems like an ideal place to invite clients in and also to work in – in fact one of the real estate agents jokes that he likes the place so much, he’d be happy to move in permanently.
I meet Mr Salt in his large, modern, clean-cut office. The entire façade of his room is made of glass affording him a fantastic view of Tower Road, the trees swaying in the light breeze and the sea – peaceful and calm today.
“We moved in just over a month ago. We’re practically ready except for some last-minute additions such as a light fitting and paintings and signage to be put up. And we need to put up the displays advertising our properties on the glass wall in my office so I can stop feeling like I am on display,” he laughs.
They also will be putting a large LCD screen in the lounge area with access to the company’s internet site, so clients can browse properties as they wait.
“The idea is to do away with the idea of clients sitting round a negotiator’s desk and instead be able to talk freely in a comfortable, private and quiet space - the lounge area or the board room will fulfill this requisite.
“At Homes of Quality, whilst we deal with all segments of the market, we mainly target high-end properties. The kind of client we tend to attract feels more comfortable in this sort of premises. Here, we are able to treat clients with some discretion,” says Mr Salt.
Homes of Quality only has four consultants; Mr Salt tells me that he regularly review and update all the necessary rules and laws with them.
“They need to be up to date. The client wants to be with somebody who can answer all their questions. They are not just selling the property, although they have to know exactly what they are selling, plus the rules and regulations and so on. I always say that concluding a sale has to be like wrapping a parcel, with neat wrapping and a ribbon. Our consultants are trained to understand exactly what the client wants and they know the properties inside out so they don't waste people's time,” he explains.
The ethos of Homes of Quality can be summed up as making the buying and selling experience a pleasant and exceptional one for their clients.
“So far we are doing very well,” Mr Salt smiles, “We focus on properties as well as on the buyers. Each month we choose certain properties and ‘push’ them on the Air Malta inflight magazine, flyers, our newsletter and so on. They are usually properties we feel are top notch… good saleable properties.
The vast Homes of Quality database is “everything”, according to Mr Salt. He says that half their job is keeping the database updated so that they are able to offer their clients the ideal property for them at the touch of a button,which of course, is especially useful if the client is from overseas and in Malta for only a few days.
Of course, having worked in the property business for so long, Mr Salt has an ‘eye’ for those properties which will sell… and sell well. Every week, he goes through the Frank Salt properties and chooses those which are in good locations, priced correctly and presentable for the Homes of Quality website. Some exceptional properties will also get a flyer or brochure of its very own.
Mr Salt says that the buyers for luxury properties in Malta are plenty… and are practically split down the middle between locals and foreigners.
“The Maltese are very savvy property buyers,” he says, “They have a lot of faith in the real estate market. Of course, we have a lot of foreign investors as well. We hold seminars abroad targeting wealthy clientswho are interested in investing or residing in Malta. We also work with agents in South Africa and the UK.”
New developments in Malta, with its limited space, are always going to be a hot topic. What does Mr Salt think about the new developments being proposed in and around Sliema?
“The new developments coming up will attract a lot of wealthy buyers. There is such a big demand for luxury properties such as the ones being proposed. There is, in fact, an under supply. Nowadays, properties – whole blocks - in Sliema sell within days. It’s prime real estate,” he says, “These developments will set a new standard as they are bringing in big names in engineering and architecture. What is important is that, concurrent with the creation of these developments, the infrastructure needs to be upgraded. Traffic measures need to be put into place. Hopefully the government will understand this.”
So what’s next on the agenda for Homes of Quality?
“We have good estate agents who take care of their clients,” Mr Salt smiles proudly, “A big chunk of our sales come from people who recommend clients to us because they know we will look after them properly. They feel that they were really well looked after. Basically, we want to keep on guaranteeing good service to clients so they come back and give good referrals as well.”
More information on Homes of Quality may be found on their website: www.homesofquality.com.mt.