Everything You Need To Know About Purchasing Your Italian House

Purchase property in Italy

Everything, EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Buying Property (For As Little As 1 Euro) And Moving To Italy; Avoid The Pitfalls That Could Cost You Your Dream!

Ciao Friends!

Congratulations on your plan to purchase property in Italy. The rise in popularity of the 1 Euro Italian houses has enticed many people to start looking at making the dream of owning property and possibly living in Italy a reality.

BUT There are so  many possible pitfalls!

You are dealing with a completely different property purchase process, a completely different building and renovation model, you don’t know the language and worse yet, you don’t know what questions to ask your attorney and tax specialist. And having them educate you can be hugely expensive.

As you may know, I have literally done YEARS worth of research on purchasing properties not only in Italy, but also in Spain, Greece and other European countries. With my husband, I have successfully bought and renovated several properties in Southern Italy.

In my experience as a real estate expert, here are just a few mistakes I have heard, read about or experienced myself in various different countries:

*When we were first looking at properties, we were approached with an offer to purchase a property for 120,000 Euros. 10 years later that property NEVER got built. Had we paid, we would be out 120,000 Euros.
(POSSIBLE LOSS 120,000 Euros)

*A person recently came to me with an offer to purchase an apartment for 10,000 Euros. The contract turned out to be a rental contract that guaranteed the BUYER ongoing fees! She would not have owned the property at all!
(POSSIBLE LOSS 10,000 + 1400 Euros per year + other possible fees as yet undetermined!)

*A property “renovated” by a friend of the agent that was completely messed up. That property is STILL on the market 10 years later for almost half of what the buyer paid to renovate it.
(POSSIBLE LOSS 100,000 Euros)

*A property in Spain where the buyer purchased and moved in, only to find that the builder had not gotten the required permits and the place was torn down. Of course, the builder was long gone.
(ACTUAL LOSS  325,000 Euros)

Obviously this is only a partial list of the pitfalls I have seen.
And without someone who knows and has been through the process to guide you through it, you could make some very expensive and heartbreaking mistakes.

Since purchasing our house in Italy has been such a life changing event, we want to be able to share our knowledge so that you can avoid the pitfalls and obtain your dream.

For that reason Pete and I have gotten down to some intense research and answered every question we could possibly think of. Then when we were almost done we asked for YOUR questions so we could be sure we addressed EVERYTHING you needed to know.

We also had to pull in all of our experts from the legal, real estate, and economic fields so that we could be sure of giving you the correct data.

And we did it!

Welcome to “Everything, EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Buying A Property And Moving To Italy; Avoid The Pitfalls That Could Cost You Your Dream” online course and Ebook!

This online course is designed to be light but also packed with vital information. The Ebook can be printed out and tabbed, highlighted and notated so that you know EXACTLY what to ask you legal and tax specialist so you save time and money getting EXACTLY the advice you need from them.

And since our passion is to help others find their dreams, we purposely priced this offer at LESS THAN YOU WOULD PAY FOR HALF AN HOUR WITH YOUR ATTORNEY.

Attorneys and tax professionals are vitally important but they can be expensive if you don’t know what questions to ask them.

We knew you would love this course but that you also would want to know how to book your perfect BNB for your property viewing trips.

Staying in a hotel is not an option because you won’t get a feel for what it is like to live in a town or village unless you LIVE there even for a short time. So we created “Your Guide To Finding The Perfect BNB For Your Property Viewing Trips” Ebook. This little gem helps you create your viewing trip experience so that it matches as closely as possibly your actual living experience so you can make the best choices possible.

This Ebook is a FREE GIVEAWAY that comes with your course.

AND since we know that finding your perfect property takes time and that you may spend way too much time filtering through properties that will not work for you on real estate websites, we created your “Find My Property Dream Checklist” Which ALSO COMES FREE with your course!

With all this area information we feel that we will send you out into the world of Italian real estate armed and ready for anything!

And all for less than half an hour with your attorney!

Click here for details on how to get this vital package of information!

And write us with any questions you might have! And subscribe to our Super Savvy Travelers Youtube channel because we will be continuing to post super valuable content for those looking for properties or who just love Italy!

Happy House Hunting! We will see you in Italy!

XO Chris and Pete; Super Savvy Travelers, LLC

The Truth About Leaseholds In Italy

Italian hill town
Italian House
Photo credit Pixabay

Ciao,

I am so blessed in that I get mail every week from people with various questions about purchasing property in Italy.

A few times now I have received requests for information about leasehold estates vs freehold estates.

In California real estate, a “freehold estate” is one that is owned outright. A “leasehold estate” is a lease or rental.

Italian village
Photo credit Pixabay

In Italy and in the UK there are certain leasehold estates that to us might be similar to a co-op except that a leasehold is really just a long term rental.

It seems that certain real estate agents in our area of Calabria are now offering leasehold estates and the prices seem very low. On the surface it looks too good to be true.

So since people are wondering whether these leaseholds are a good option in the Italian real estate market, I did a bit of research and here is what I found.

How a leasehold works:

A leasehold is basically a long term rental. The “purchaser” has purchased only the right to live in the unit for a set period of time. The land the units are on is owned by a landlord or” freeholder” who charges rent for it and, through management company, maintains it.

One of the issues according to an article in The Guardian is that the landowner charges a fee for the maintenance of the communal areas. He or she can also charge for any work being done, decide who does it and how much it will cost. The leaseholders then have to pay for it.

The Guardian is a magazine in the UK and it discusses the situation specific to the UK however when we asked Ivan De Luca from Agenzia Immobiliare Casabella in Scalea, Italy, his concerns were similar.

Italian house
Photo credit Pixabay

In looking at the apartments that are available in our area under these leasehold contracts, it is unclear exactly what the situation is. It appears to me that these are individual apartments that are rented out with all of the rent paid up front to the owner of the property,  but then monthly fees are paid to the management company.

The fees are not fixed and you never know when they will go up.

In addition, Ivan De Luca of Agenzia Immobiliare casabella warns that there may be hidden fees that you don’t find out about until you have paid the purchase price.

In short you are at the mercy of the property management firms. If they raise the fees you have no recourse.

Additionally property management agencies are highly variable in terms of honesty and ethics.

Another issue that concerns me greatly is the fact that it does not appear that a notaio is involved in the purchase of the rental contract.

In one of the ads I read for a leasehold through an agency, they recommended using the same attorney for the buyer and seller which could be a conflict of interest.

The role of the notaio in property purchases is clear.  He is the one who makes sure everything is done according to the law. He makes sure the title is clear and that everything is in order.

There is a larger degree of safety in a transaction that goes through a notaio.

In a lease hold, you may not even know if the person leasing it actually owns the property as it appears to me that  no title search is done. And you don’t know if any other encumbrances exist. In short you may buy the perfect property only to find that someone else has  certain rights to it that you were not aware of.

You also do not know if the property management agents are honest. I hate to say it but I have heard of some shady deals in our area. The agents there may all be honest but you don’t know for sure.

And the Italian court system is painfully slow so that by the time you went through the courts on something like this, you will have paid out more money in expensive attorney’s fees than you would ever get back.

According to Ivan, a leasehold option may make sense in a very expensive city like Monaco or London where property prices are really high but in Calabria where you can purchase an apartment for very little money, the risks outweigh the potential benefits as you may be buying a bagful of headaches.

If you are looking for a property in Calabria, especially in the Riviera Dei Cedri regions (The prettiest place on earth) please contact us. We have purchased several properties there and have done renovations. We love to share our experiences and new found knowledge with you.

Hope you found this helpful!

Chris and the Gulf of Policastro at sunset
Chris and the Gulf of Policastro at sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Reasons Why Calabria is the Perfect Retirement Destination

Perfect coffee and cakes
Perfect coffee and cakes

Ciao again!

First off I want to thank you all for your interest in my article “Living in Paradise: Why Calabria, Italy is the Perfect Retirement Destination”  .

Of all the articles, this one has generated the most interest and motivated you to put pencil to paper and send me a note and I love that.

Since I wrote that article a lot has happened in our little corner of the Gulf of Policastro and Riviera de Cedri in Calabria (Cedro is a citrus fruit only found in Calabria)

Last Summer while I was there I was privileged to be invited to attend and speak at an event presented by our mayor with all the other local mayors in attendance.

This forum was designed to pull everyone together from the various villages and towns and to coordinate efforts to really promote the beauty and the products of Calabria.

After all Calabria has EVERYTHING!

Maratea borgo

And the Italian government is now making a concerted effort to open the area up for tourism, not only for the Europeans who tend to descend on Calabria every Summer and enjoy her beautiful beaches, but to the world at large.

For far too long, Calabria has been Europe’s best kept secret and the secret is out.

So aside from the points in my first post, what other possible reasons could there be to retire in Calabria?

I gatti
I gatti

There is an amazing group of people there

During the event last Summer, our mayor got up and spoke about how proud he and the entire village was that so many people of different nationalities called Santa Domenica Talao home. We have Americans, English, Irish, Russian, Swedes and Finns in our village. And our village has embraced every last one of us.

Summer is a blast. My friend Bonnie gets everyone together for parties. Occasionally we get invited to Peppino and Rosaria’s for Sunday lunch (Which is an occasion to die for. (Read about our epic meal here!)

Festival
Photo credit Oleg Magni

The festivals!

Honestly Calabria needs no excuse to put on a festival. And why not? The Pepperoncino Festival in Diamante is a massive hit every September.

One of my favorites is the pastry festival in Santa Maria Del Cedro, featuring the knee weakening delights of Pasticceria Arrone (Here is yet another blog post all about their pastries to die for.)

Add to that, festivals for wild mushrooms, pasta, sausages, swordfish, chocolate, red onions and a seemingly endless parade of religions festivals which are so fun and amazing, and you have something going on all the time.

Fried chilis
Crunchy fried chilis with sale and olive oil. AMAZING!

Every day I find another amazing restaurant.

When I am in San Jose, California there are one or two really good restaurants near me and you have to look for them. Most of the restaurants I have visited in California have been ok but not stellar.

Where we are in Calabria we have some really top notch chefs who get up every day and cook for the masses possibly without realizing how spectacularly talented they are.

In previous posts I have sung the praises of The Bella Vista in Santa Domenica Talao, Al Caminetto in Tortora, and Ristorante di Aliga in Maeira.

Ristorante di Aliga
Ristorante Di Aliga

But last Summer,  Bonnie and I grabbed our friends Sarah and Andy and we headed down to Scalea to La Perla del Terreno.

La Perla is a lovely restaurant on a gorgeous stretch of beach in Scalea. You can sit outside and let the sea breezes caress you while dining on amazing seafood pasta, Freshly caught and grilled sea bream, fries, gorgeous grilled vegetables and fruity white wine.

An afternoon spent gazing at the endless, deep blue sea, laughing with friends and eating heavenly food is the best reason to retire in Calabria.

For a Siciilian twist, head into the down town area of Scalea and visit Vulare Sicilane. 

This family owned restaurant boasts a compete menu ranging from swordfish served in a crust of pistachios to the Il Completo sandwich, served on a twisted home made roll topped with nuts and stuffed with sweet sausage, onion relish and delicious friend fries. It is my favorite sandwich ever created and as soon as I arrive in Calabria I head directly to Vulare for an Il Completo.

The first time my son visited us, he ordered the hambugerazzo at Vulare. Be prepared, this thing is massive. I saw the waiter emerge from the kitchen, his knees buckling and his muscles and sinews straining under the weight of the plate he was carrying.

I swear it was so big that  it blocked out the sun for a moment and my son with his back to the kitchen had no idea what was in store for him.

The waiter shoveled it onto the table and backed away saying over and over “piano piano!” Urging my son to take his time or he could hurt himself.

As it was, my son ate part of it and we all ate the rest of it for dinner that night. It was great both times.

After lunch you HAVE to have a canollo. Vulare makes their own and they are like milky heaven. Fresh ricotta is perfectly sweetened and sprinkled with choclolate chips then pressed into perfectly crafted pastry horn. No matter how much you have eaten, you will find that you still have room for a canollo and a cafe.

And unlike some restaurants in Italy, Vulare will give you a doggie bag!

Castle in Calabria
Castle in Calabria

There are secret treasures!

Word on the Strada, mostly from my friend Sarah, is that there is a little farm down the hill from us where the ladies craft their own ricotta cheese. I understand you can go and see how it is done. I have net yet been but plan to soon.

Fresh mushrooms in Santa Domenica Talao
Fresh mushrooms in Santa Domenica Talao

In addition there is a thrift type store where you can buy anything second hand. Due to the many renovations happening in Calabria, you can find some amazing hardware, furniture and light fixtures that you would never find anywhere else.

And as I have previously discussed, the market in Scalea is way too much fun. You can purchase anything from freshly made cheeses, to housewares to jewelry and clothing. It is never the same market twice and I always spend however much money I bring with me.

Market day
Market day

Each village has its own market day. Some are better than others. In Santa Domenica we have a smallish one but Tony from Morocco always has beautiful things for sale.

Santa Domenica Talao
Santa Domenica Talao, our beatiful home.

The mountains

I know we have the sea and we all love our sea views but the mountains rising up along the spine of Southern Italy are truly spectacular.

The first time we visited, I looked out the window of the plane and saw the magnificent jutting mountains rising up out of the clear blue sea and I could not contain my awe.

Of all the places God created, I think he must be proudest of Calabria. There is no other place like it.

And when you live there you get to experience these and so many other wonders every day.

Honestly, there are so many reasons to love Calabria. These are just a few. The best way to discover them is to come and see them for yourself.

Come to Santa Domenica Talao and look for us in the piazza. We will be having a gelato on a bench next to the church. We will look for you.

Scalea stair case
Scalea, Staircase