How You Can Buy Your House In Italy Without Diving Into A Money Pit

Chris Renovation
Chris Renovation
Santa Domenica Talao
Santa Domenica Talao

IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO PURCHASE PROPERTY IN ITALY YOU NEED KNOWLEDGE AND YOU NEED OUR ONLINE COURSE! FIND THE DETAILS HERE.

 

Admit it. You have been watching House Hunters International and a part of you is yearning for the golden hills, the ecstacy inducing food and the and glorious beaches of Italy.

Secretly you have been exploring the property pages on Italian Immobilare websites and dreaming big dreams.

And you feel yourself inching closer to the big plunge but are afraid because you could make a huge and costly mistake.

If you have mentioned this idea to friends or relatives, I am sure you have been told that you are crazy to even think about it.

And yet you continue to dream.

Several years ago my husband and I bought a house in a tiny ancient hill town in Calabria, Southern Italy.

An entire year before we purchased, I researched the heck out of the project and the result was a smooth transition of property and good feelings on all sides.

And we have been loving it beyond our wildest dreams each time we go.

Diamante
Diamante, Calabria

There is nothing like the sound of church bells waking you up in the morning with the sun slanting in your window and the smell of caffe coming from the bar in the piazza to make you realize how lucky you are to be in Italy.

But there are several things you should know and do before taking diving in.

1. Research the Heck out of it.

I was lucky to find a great book that covered everything I had questions about. It is called Buying a House in Italy by Gordon Neale.

Additionally I sought out and got onto several forums written and administered by people who had purchased in Italy and many of whom also lived there full time.

The forum was the most important research tool. I learned about some shady deals that I was able to steer clear of because I read the unfortunate stories about people who had purchased off plan houses (to be built) and once the money was paid, no work was ever done.

One off plan project that was offered to us when we were looking to purchase several years ago still has not been built. Had I trusted someone and bought one I would have sunk a lot of money and likely never had anything to show for it but expensive legal bills.

I have read horror stories not only about property purchases in Italy but also Spain that would curl your toes.

My most important piece of advice is never buy anything that you can’t see in front of you. Make sure you know and trust your architect before taking on a renovation project. 

SDT
Santa Domenica Talao

2. Visit different areas before you make your choice.

Unless you have already visited a town or village and fallen in love with it, I recommend that you visit several areas and rent Air BNB’s there for a few weeks.

Fall into the rhythm of the town and decide whether you can see yourself living there.

Italy House
Italy House

3. Once you have found your dream town, research the heck out of that too.

There is so much you have to find out. Jus tone example is that our trash pickup is so complicated we need a special calendar to keep track of what is picked up when.

Additionally Italy has earthquakes as we have seen recently. Research where the faults are and find data on the strength of your buildings.

Ironically, in the 1980’s when there was a massive earthquake in Southern Italy, some of the newer buildings fell down and the old buildings in the historic center are still standing.

The buildings in the historic centers are built all shoved together so they support each other.

The buildings that fell had large parking structures underneath and therefore were not structurally sound in an earthquake zone which much of Italy is.

Our area near Scalea, Calabria, Italy is one of the few areas that is between faults so the danger of a catastrophic earthquake is there but is  relatively small. In the last 20 years there have been shakers but not the massive ones such as we have seen in California.

Scalea
Scalea

4. Understand that property purchases there are not like they are here.

It is not unheard of to make an offer, have it accepted and then find out that the downstairs storage area is actually owned by someone else or that the fixtures are not included.

Many times in Italy, the kitchen is considered personal property and does not stay when you purchase. The owners simply pack it up and take it with them.

In Italy the inheritences are such that you may want to buy a property that is listed for sale but then have to convince 20 cousins that they want to sell.

This can make certain properties almost impossible to purchase and you may not know that until you have fallen in love with it.

5. Know that there will be delays.

Purchasing property in Italy is a process and it goes how it goes. That said, I was very impressed by the time and care the local Notiao took to ensure that everything was fair and equitable.

The Notaio is charged with the task of ensuring that the sale is conducted in alignment with Italian real estate law.. Our notaio was extremely careful and took great pains to ensure that we understood everything about the contract.

However an illness may cause delays as your Notaio may be the only one for miles.

Stairs
Renovations

6. Understand that renovation estimates can, at times, be wild guesses.

My friend in Scalea has become the resident counselor to those who have purchased and seen their renovations go wrong and spiral out of control. (Note, I have never seen this in Santa Domenica Talao where we personally know the architect and builder.)

A ruin in Italy is likely several centuries old and those of us who live in America which has very few old buildings don’t always understand the true meaning of the word “ruin”.

I have heard of properties having to be taken apart brick by brick and rebuilt.

My advice if you don’t know a contractor, is to purchase something habitable that perhaps needs floors and finishes.

We purchased our house and the attached ruin. We were willing to take it on as we have worked with the builder on several other house projects and he is good and trustworthy.

Additionally the structural work had already been done so it is just the interior that needs finishing.

Meanwhile, we had the house which was habitable and very nice and were able to enjoy it right away without waiting for renovations. The renovations are now complete and they are truly spectacular.

If you have your heart set on a total ruin renovation project, go ahead but budget over the amount you are quoted.

7. Treat everyone with courtesy and respect

There is no nightmare quite as complete as buying a property somewhere and being ostrasized by everyone in the town.

These villages and towns have survived because they are like a large family. Courtesy goes a very long way and an effort to get along and become a part of the village is accepted with open arms.

Volterra
Volterra

8. Learn the language

You will not be expected to read and understand the contracts in Italian as an interpreter is present if you don’t speak the language.

Nonetheless, when you make the effort to speak and be understood, you earn the respect of your new neighbors. They are way more willing to overlook any social gaffs made out of ignorance of local customs.

Chris in Ostia Antica, Rome

9. Don’t consider it an investment in anything but experience.

When I was getting ready to make my purchase, several people asked me with horror in their voices, “Aren’t you afraid you will lose money?” as if that were the greatest sin I could ever commit.

The answer was, who cares what the market does after I buy? If I buy a property and I love it and it gives me joy and I can afford it, it is a good purchase. End of story. The property market gyrations would never make it worth any less in my eyes.

You are buying a dream. Dreams do not come with a price tag. It is whatever you are willing to pay for it that gives it its value.

There is a person who was looking at buying at the same time we were. She asked me all manner of questions like the above. She had so many “What if’s” that I gave up answering them.

Needless to say, she has not purchased and we have been enjoying our property for many years now.

10. Once you have purchased don’t let anyone kill the love you have for your beautiful new home.

I don’t know why people do this but some have to tell you what a huge mistake you have made.

They have to prove to you that you have been foolish and normally it comes down to money that in their opinion you should not have spent.

These are the people who never do anything big in their lives. Listening to them is destructive.

In the end you will have done your homework, you will have experienced the ins and outs of a foreign property purchase and will have many, many years of beautiful experiences to enjoy as a result.

Buying property in Italy is absolutely worth the effort and the money.

If money is tight, look in Southern Italy. Calabria is stunning and the prices are so good you could almost put it on a credit card.

I’ll see you in Italy!

Check out our YouTube channel under Super Savvy Travelers, LLC

Properties for Peanuts! Calabria Property Update January 2021

Italian Architecture
Italian Architecture

Hi Guys! Chris here from Super Savvy Travelers!

If you have not seen my recent interview with Dr. Ivan De Luca on Youtube, please drop everything and go watch the whole thing. In this video Dr. De Luca gives us so much intensely useful information with regard to the property market in Calabria in general and our Riviera Dei Cedri in particular.

In a nutshell, the Calabria property market has tanked as an unfortunate result of COVID and Brexit. Calabria is suffering from a recession as is much of Europe and this has forced people to sell their vacation homes in order to bring in money.

This is a sad scenario however the good news is that there is something we can do to help them out of it. In short there has never been a better time to invest in a property (or two) in Italy and especially Calabria.

Beach in Maratea
Beach in Maratea

Why Calabria?

This question has so many answers, the food, the spectacular scenery, the lifestyle, the people, but a huge reason to purchase now is the prices.

Calabria has some of the most dramatic and spectacular beaches in the world. It has a deep, rich culture, it has the religious and food festivals. It has the laid back lifestyle and you can get a property for almost literally peanuts.

Staircase in Santa Domenica Talao
Staircase in Santa Domenica Talao

When Pete and I were looking for our house in 2010, properties in Santa Domenica Talao, our village were more than twice what they are now.  In Scalea, Dr. Ivan has seen a drop in the average 2 bed, one bath apartment in Scalea from about 50,000 Euros to 40,000 Euros with many, many properties available for less than 30,000 Euros and even in the less than 20,000 Euro range.

Diamante, Italy
Diamante, Italy

The Riviera Dei Cedri

The area in Calabria between Tortora up in the north, to Paola in the more southern part of Calabria is the prime tourist destination called the Riviera Dei Cedri. A cedro is a citrus fruit (Citron) and the region is famous for them.

In addition to the fabulous food products grown here, Our Riviera Dei Cedri has some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Europe or even, the world.

Tourists from all over Europe and other parts of Italy flock to Calabria in the Summer and in August, when Italy closes down for vacation, every corner is filled.

Even during COVID, apartments, hotels and BNB’s were filled to capacity in August and, according to Dr. De Luca, the season extended from June all the way through October as tourists fled to the beaches before the next expected lock down.

So in a nutshell, if you have ever wanted to purchase a vacation home in Italy or to retire there, now is the time.

Contact us https://www.supersavvytravelers.com/contact_us/

We are putting together packages to help you locate and purchase your beautiful vacation home in Italy.

AND take our online course that walks you through the entire purchase process including, renovations, residency and moving there.

Ciao for now! See you in the piazza!

 

Simple Steps to Buying A House and Moving to Italy

Italian house
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Ciao amici (friends)!

First of all thank you for helping us make our Youtube channel so popular! Pete and I are over the moon to be contact with so many people who are jumping in to make their dreams come true and we are blessed that we can help.

Thank you also for your questions because this tells me what you need and want in terms of information and we can then get you the correct data.

All of this data and, in fact, everything you need to know to purchase property and move to Italy are outlined in our online video course and Ebook. The course is light and fun and with the Ebook you can highlight and tab important pages and information so you can refer to it easily. Click here for the details about our course.

Recently many people have written asking what they need to do to retire in Italy, especially in Calabria.

The process is not difficult but as with anything, there are steps.

Map of Italy
Courtesy of Pixabay
  1. Decide where you want to be.

    Italy is so diverse and every area seems to be wildly different than the other areas. Each has its own personality, culture and climate and somewhere in italy there is a place that is perfect for you.

    To begin, start Googling the different areas. If you want something more Alpine in nature and more Austrian/Swiss in character, look North in the areas of Piedmonte and Lombardy.

    If you want something more Mediterranean in feel, look south to Calabria, Abruzzo, Puglia and Basilicata. This is where you find the stunning beaches, the hot peppers, the very traditional Italian lifestyle. The South features influences from Albania and Greece and was the home of the Magna Graecia. It has a rich history as does all of Italy.

    Agent
    Courtesy of Pexel
  2. Find a good real estate agent

    In Italy as anywhere, there are good and bad in terms of real estate professionals. If you are coming in with little knowledge of the local culture and language, you need an agent that speaks fluent English and who is willing to ensure that you understand everything about the purchase process.

    Before you hook up with an agent, interview them to see what their attitudes are. If they tend to brush you off, not respond to emails, or seem impatient, they are not the agent for you.

    Beautiful Italy
    Courtesy of Pixabay
  3. Decide what type of property you want.

    All over Italy there are many, many different types of properties available. I could make this article long and boring by listing them all so I won’t. Instead I invite you to indulge in the process of searching.

    The best way to start your search is to create your ideal scene. How do you see yourself living in your new place? Are you on a balcony in a city or a terrace overlooking the sea?

    List this out in every detail. Understand that this will change as you go through the process but you will find the closest thing you can to that ideal scene.
    You cannot start the search for something without knowing what you are looking for. This will save you lots of time and make your agent’s job a LOT easier!

    Things to consider are number of bedrooms, number of baths, whether in a city or elsewhere, what needs to be within walking distance, will you have a car? What are the neighbors like? Do you have a garden, etc.

    Make a detailed list of everything you need and want in your property. It also helps to assign each item a number in terms of priority, for example if you MUST have a sea view, that would be a priority one.
    Once you have this outlined the search can begin!

    House Interior
    Courtesy of Octoptimist/Pexel
  4. Get a feel for the property market.

    To do this we recommend the Idealiste.it site. They have the most listings of any site I have seen. Understand also that many properties may not be listed at all but the local agent will have a list of them. However searching in Idealiste.it will give you an idea of what you can expect to pay and how close you can get to your ideal scene.

    Business
    Courtesy Andrew Neel/ Pedel
  5. Start your immigration process

    Immigration is not difficult but there are steps involved that must be done in order and there are financial requirements to becoming a resident. You can see the steps on Nick Metta’s website.

    Start this early as the appointments at your local consulate book up quickly and they are booked 6-8 months in advance and you will need this BEFORE you move to Italy.

    Beach
    Courtesy Valdemaras D/Pexel
  6. Go on a property viewing trip

    At this point you have found your agent and communicated to him or her what you are looking for. Now comes the fun part, looking at all these amazing properties! As you view them you will get a better idea of what living in Italy will be like and your ideal scene, and needs and wants list may change.

  7. Choose your property and make an offer

    Courtesy of Mentadtdgt/Pexel

    If your property requires renovations, you will need to talk to the local  professionals to see if you can work together. The renovation process has its own steps and these are all outlined in our course.

    It would also be wise to get an idea of the costs of renovation before making an offer. The local geometra or architect can give you a ball park figure and if you can get an estimate from the local builder, that would be best.

    Courtesy of Oleg Magni/Pexel
  8. Go through the property purchase process.

    This includes, among other things, the negotiations through your agent, the deposit and the final signing with the Notaio. The Notaio is the person who is a neutral third party and answerable to the state that everything in the transaction is legal according to Italian real estate law. He will ensure that the title is clear and that the final deed gets recorded in your name. DO NOT GO THROUGH A PROPERTY PURCHASE WITHOUT A NOTAIO!

    On the date of signing, you will go through the meeting with the Notaio, money will change hands and you will have the keys to your new home!

Now obviously this is a brief list touching on all of these points. To fully understand every part of the process, you will need to do our course. We have specifically designed it so that you can avoid the pitfalls that could cost you your dream. Also, knowing what questions to ask the various professionals is vital and you will know what to ask as you go through the course.  We also intentionally priced it lower than a half an hour with an attorney so it is very affordable and could potentially save you thousands.

Now all we need is for Italy to open up and we can all go pursue our dreams!

Pete and my dreams consist of helping our friends in Calabria by bringing great people into our towns and villages, and helping great people create their new future in Italy.

Thank you again for letting us be part of your process. Please also go to our contact page and put in your needs and wants so we can get you in touch with the best professionals to assist you.

Ciao and Happy Hunting!