Property for sale in Italy ~ RealPoint

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guide to choosing a property in Italy

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The first rule of buying property abroad is doing your homework.

The time spent deciding in your own mind exactly what you are looking for is as important as any other part of the buying process. So what are the sort of questions you should be asking yourself? Well, the first is in which part of Italy do you want to buy your property.

In recent years many foreign buyers have opted for Tuscany or Umbria, areas in the north of Italy. This has meant that property prices in these areas have risen to reflect the increased demand. Properties in the south of the country tend to be cheaper but remember that facilities and communications in the south are not always as developed as central or northern Italy. It may be wise to seek out new areas such as Emilia Romagna, an area of outstanding beauty where bargains are still to be had. You may be seeking a lakeside villa further north in or a seaside residence at the other end of the country in Sicily.

You should also consider if you wish your new home to be in an area that already has a high concentration of British ex-patriots, or would you rather experience a more authentic Italian experience. Wherever you choose, make sure the area matches up to your ideal. Remember - fit the area and the property to your criteria not the reverse!

The second consideration is the type of property you wish to purchase.

Italian properties come in all shapes and sizes and refining your property requirements now will avoid pointless trips to view unsuitable properties in the future. Here are some of the points you should consider:
What type of property are you looking for; a more traditional property such as a stone farmhouse, a new villa or an apartment

Will it be a holiday home or are you planning to live there all year round

What size of property are you looking for? Remember in Italy house details not only give the number of bedrooms and bathrooms etc but also include the total floor space in metres. Older properties may only specify floor areas.

Are you looking for a property that includes other buildings such as barns or stables? These are often included with farmhouses and can be converted in further living accommodation for yourself or for guests. This is also a good way of making your purchase pay for itself; a converted barn for example, can be rented out.

Do you want a property ready to live in or would you consider buying and restoring a property. If you are thinking about buying to restore you should also take in account the cost of restoration and who will do the work. Have you the time to do the restoration yourself? Or will you need help locally to manage the work in your absence. Your agent will be able to put you in contact with reputable tradesmen and builder’s merchants but always remember to get a number of estimates for the work. Estimate the cost of restoration and make sure you can afford it; you do not want to end up with a half restored Italian place in the sun! Again the agent should be able to help you when estimating restoration costs. Low cost loans are available from the regional government, if your property is of outstanding architectural significance. Your agent will advise on how to apply for such a grant.

Do you want land with your property and if so how much. Land can offer an extra dimension to your purchase and is an investment for the future. Many farmhouses come with land and at the moment it is relatively cheap. Don’t forget also, that one day in the future, you may wish to extend your property or even plant your own vineyard.

Are you thinking or renting out the property, if so is it suitable for renting. If you do wish to rent it is advisable to have a property, which offers something for everybody and preferably all year round. Look for areas where you can rent out to skiers in the winter, there are always people wishing to rent in summer. If the area has other attractions such being a noted place for cycling, climbing or has panoramic beauty, this too will help to secure a steady flow of rental income.

Do you see the property as an investment? If so, like all investments buy cheap and sell high. Therefore you should be looking at areas that are as yet undiscovered by the wider world but where prices are still relatively cheap. You may consider combining with friends in order to secure the right property but which is out of your individual budget.

Another aspect to be considered is accessibility and facilities. Is the area that you have chosen well served by airports, which offer cheap flights from the U.K? Can you get to your property on well-maintained asphalt roads? Is there a nearby rail station and local bus services? What about facilities? Is the area well served by hospitals, doctors and, for those with children, schools?

Once you have decided on the above you will need to select specific properties to view.

Many agencies now work via the Internet and you will be able to use this to your advantage. If you see a property you like, you can, via email, ask as many questions as you wish about it, and depending on the quality and timeliness of the replies from the agency, you will have an idea as to the quality of the service you can expect to receive. Also make sure that the Italian representatives speak English that the agency can book accommodation for you, advise you on local places to eat during your stay and places of interest you may wish to visit. Also you should ask how much time the representatives will spend with you. Many people, on their first visit to an area, are trying to get a feel for the place in addition to viewing properties ; they may not be actually planning to buy on that particular occasion. Make sure your appointment will allow plenty of time to view all your selected properties and a trip around the area otherwise you may be left to your own devices with little help form the agency’s representatives.

Having decided on a property you will need to ascertain the following:

The purchase price and to who the money is payable

The amount payable as a deposit

Whether a survey needs to be arranged

That the house has no outstanding mortgages or debts upon it

That searches are carried out to assure that no new constructions or roads are to be built which will affect your property. Your agent should advise you on who will complete this task; in many places a local geometra (surveyor) will do this for you for a small fee.

The first stage of the house buying process is the compromesso or initial purchase agreement. Make sure you have a copy of the purchase agreement in English and have read it before signing it. This is when you will be asked to pay your deposit.

The second stage is the rogito or completion, which takes place on an agreed date after the signing of the initial agreement. Here, in front of the state appointed notaio or notary, you will be asked to pay the taxes, stamp duty and fees on your purchase. Ascertain the amount to be paid in registration tax, stamp duty and the fees of the Notaio and Geometra in advance of the rogito. You don’t want any surprises! Your agent should provide a breakdown of all the costs for which you are liable.

The following points are worth noting in respect of the purchase:

If your cannot speak Italian, by law, the Notaio has to appoint a translator for you, the cost of which, will be included in the fees of the Notaio.

To reduce your tax liability when buying a house in Italy you should apply for residency. This will mean you pay tax at 4% on your purchase rather than the 11% charged to non-residents. Residency has to be obtained before the rogito.

Determine the time span in which you wish to complete the purchase. If you need finance make sure it is in place before signing anything. The market for mortgages for properties abroad has become much more sophisticated over the last few years and many British banking institutions such as Abbey National and the Woolwich now have branches in Italy. The same applies if you need to sell your property in the UK in order to finance your Italian house purchase. Remember once you pay a deposit and sign the initial house purchase agreement in Italy if you then pull out of the contract you will lose your deposit. Similarly if the vendor pulls out he has to recompense you with double the amount of your deposit. It is suggested that you make a 10% to 20% deposit, in this way the owner would be reluctant to withdraw from the deal.

Make sure you are shown the in and outs of the house, how the boiler works, the location of the fuse box and stop cocks etc. Again your agent should arrange a meeting with the owner and be on hand to translate and help.

You will probably need to set up a bank account to complete the purchase and for this you will need a fiscal number which is similar to our national insurance number. The bank account will also be useful for paying utility bills by direct debit, especially if you are not planning to be there all year round. Again your agent should advise you on this.

This is not a complete guide but rather some general advice on finding a property in Italy, in the end you will have to do your own homework and there are plenty of websites, books, magazines and journals to ensure you get your perfect Italian home.

See also the Guide to the Italian Property Market and Guide to Buying Italian Property

Click here if you are interested in Fractional Ownership Property in Italy.



Hull Chamber

RealPoint Property www.realpointitaly.com Beverley, East Yorkshire, UK
Tel: +44 (0)845 331 2812
(calls will cost 5 pence per
minute plus your phone company's Access Charge, in UK)
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RealPoint Property is a trading name of RealPoint Property Ltd.,
registered in England and Wales.
Registered Number. 4753346

buy house in italy italian villas, italy farmhouse a place in the sun italy
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buy house in italy italian villas, italy farmhouse a place in the sun italy