Property purchase in Malta

I'm looking to buy a property in Malta next year - probably a HOC which needs work (tight budget) or a maisonette with air space.  I've been here 3 years and feel confident I can get a mortgage and I have enough for the deposit.  I've been told not to go through an agent but is it OK to haggle prices?  Are there any hidden fees that I need to be aware of - any advice would be very welcome. 
Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings :)

on top of the deposit, you need to have the notary fees and if you are willing to renovate a HOC, extra fees can apply such as MEPA permits and architects fees.
I would recommend to check out the first time buyer scheme if it s your first property.

also stamp duty but if you're renovating a HOC you can get discounts and grants, your notary if he is good will help you

Starting of with an offer that's lower than the asking price is fine, most sellers are willing to negotiate a bit.
HoC are usually in UCAs (old village core areas), where the stamp duty is only 2.5% instead of 5%. That would probably still be the biggest expense other than the buying price and the renovation cost. Notary fees are about 1%, there's a calculator on the Malta notary webpage.

This is rumour. You may find the seller asking you to pay most of the price declared to the tax authorities with a small proportion undeclared in cash. This reduces the sellers tax bill. The Maltese are known for the enthusiasm in paying tax, so, if the rumour is true, this situation is unlikely.

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