Useful Info

I want to move to Italy, how can you help me?

We would start with a quite informal chat in which you can tell us about your needs, your budget, your idea of home, your lifestyle, then you would need to tell us where you want to live, hilly countryside, next to the sea, in a mountain village, any particular region? Some people would need to travel abroad frequently so a large airport near-by would be essential. For instance one client wanted to be in proximity of smaller airport with cheap flights so he could look after his international business .

After we understood your requirements, we would contact our network of real estate agencies, explain the brief and let them search for properties that are a good match. We would sift through the materials they send us, make initial assessment and, if necessary, visit some of the properties. Please be aware that we are completely independent from the those agencies and we work for your best interests. As and when we have collected enough options we would present you a selection. If you find something you like, then our team of architects, engineers and surveyors will start accurate investigation identifying potential risks and  carry out a due diligence check.

Our legal consultants will help you with the purchase and all paperworks.

Pier and Carlo would carefully listen to your ideas and help you imagine how the house can be transformed, submit the required planning applications, help you choosing the right builder for the type of work, manage the contracts and the construction. You will receive fortnight updates on the progress and video calls from the building site.

In a nutshell: you tell us where you want to move and with the help of a network of real estate agencies we find the right place, you tell us how you would like your new home and we transform it to suit your needs and budget guiding you through the intricacies of bureaucracy, the difficulties of choosing the right contractors and the hassle of managing a building site.

Are there any restriction on foreign buyers?

There are no restrictions for EU and EEA citizen, people with residency permit and long term residency permit, whilst other foreign buyers can buy a property if their home country have reciprocal agreements with the Italian Goverment.

This condition of reciprocity can be explained with this example: a USA citizen can buy a property in the Italy because an Italian citizen can buy a property in the USA.

Besides EU and EEA Countries, about 50 Countries have agreed full reciprocity with Italy, and approximately 32 others have similar agreements but with some conditions, therefore Italy is largely seen as a ‘no restriction’ country.

When I find the house I want to buy, what do I need to do?

Once you have chosen the property, we or the estate agency will help you submit a written offer (proposta d aquisto) and put down a deposit (1% or less of the purchase). If the seller approves, the deal becomes binding on both parties. Once the offer has been accepted the property is withdrawn from the market  and the seller will draw a  preliminary contract (compromesso) with details of the properties, boundary, any relevant clause (eg rights of way or other easements included in the property), sale price, deposit, sale date; in this document  the seller also certify that the property is free of debt or financial liabilities, and he or she would be liable should any arise. We liaise with the seller and the real estate agency, check the preliminary contract and make sure you understand the technicalities and implication.

Upon signing of the preliminary contract, the deposit is raised to 5% to 20% of the sale price. Italian laws are quite protective of the buyer and once the initial offer has been accepted the seller can’t raise the asking price or take a higher offer from someone else. If the seller pulls out, he or she will be liable to pay double the amount received as deposit. Finally the deed (rogito) is officially signed by both parties and the balance is paid in front of a notary, who will certify the new ownership of the property and notify the Land Registry and Tax Office.

What is a notary?

A Notary is a public officer who authenticate documents, agreements, contracts and deeds by affixing his seal and signature. In Italy the Notary represents both the buyer and seller, so the typical property purchase does not necessarily involves lawyers. After the officer has carried out the due diligence check, verified that there are no charges on the property, and planning irregularities, he or she  will witness the payment and the signing of the deed of sale (rogito) and officially notify the Tax Office and the Land Registry (catasto).

The choice of notary is absolutely free and must be chosen by the parties by mutual agreement or, failing that, by the party who is obliged to pay the fees. Usually it is the buyer who pay the notary bill, unless otherwise agreed with the seller.

How long does it take from when the offer is accepted to owning the new property?

The time-frame for the legal  process may vary depending on the type of property, the number of owners, the availability of the local Land Registry Office, the speed of  third parties in providing the information required. On average the deed is signed after 2,5 to 5 months of the offer being accepted.

What are the costs for buying a property?

It depends area by area, as a very approximate indication we could say that in Italy the total fees for buying a house with a price tag over € 60K are 9-14% of the purchase value, which are inclusive of agency fee, legal fees for offer and preliminary contract, notary and technical work for final contract, registration tax, land registry tax, and VAT (if buying from a vat registered company).

Planning applications in Italy, how does it work and when do I need one?

There are different levels of planning and building regulations:  national, regional,  provincial and finally municipal, so each application is very site specific. Depending on the complexity and the extent of the projects, whilst keeping ownership of the design, we may get the support of local architects who had worked in the area and know what the municipal authorities require in order to grant permission.

In Italy planning regulations are generally rather prescriptive and define quite precisely what you can and cannot do, and although it may limit the range of our actions, it also helps the owner who  can immediately know what are the possibilities.  This is a major difference from other countries where planning policies are used instead of regulations. Planning policies are less specific and you don’t exactly know what can be built until a planning application is approved. No matter how prescriptive the rules may be, they are always subject to interpretations, therefore we must not to forget that for any building intervention there is a degreed of  negotiation with the local authorities, so we tend to engage with them at the very early stage,  bringing their recommendations into our design. There are mainly 3 types of planning applications, each of them with different local authority planning fees and time-frames, so it is very important that the architect, after having consulted with the planning department, chooses the most appropriate application that cost less money and with the fastest approval process.

What are the building cost for the renovation?

Building costs depends by the area, the type of work and finishes, you can easily imagine how the level of finishes can bring the cost up quite drastically, if you wanted marble everywhere and gold taps this would be much more expensive than ceramic floors, paint to wall and standard taps.

For a house with standard finishes the renovation cost is 900-1.800 €/sqm (without kitchen and furniture).

How do renovation and new-built costs compare?

For new buildings the construction cost for a house with standard finishes range from 1800 to 2400 €/sqm and we found that, in certain circumstances, a renovation is 20% cheaper than a newly built house.

Part of the saving come from little planning fees in case of renovation.

Local authorities decide what applications are subject to planning fees and their amount.

What makes the difference between low and high planning fees is the “building tax”(contributo di costruzione), that usually applies to new buildings and extensions. This tax is a contribution to the local authority toward the cost of urban services (roads, water, sewage and drainage systems, waste management and recycling , schools and sport centres, etc…)

New buildings and extensions, in changing the number of people that live in the area, impact on the local infrastructures which need to be implemented accordingly. As a general rules new constructions are subject to much more expensive planning fees than for renovations. For new building local authorities fees can be between 5% to 25% of the cost of the construction. In our experience we found that the building tax was in the range of 30 to 85€/sqm. In the case of an extension, loft conversion or addition the tax applies only to new part.

In recent years a large number of local authorities have reduced planning fees for renovation and restoration, especially in historical areas in order to appeal to people who would otherwise abandon them and leave the building to decay.

You say it is cheaper to renovate an old house then to buy a newly-built one, so why most of the people prefer to go for a new one?

It is easier to buy a new house! Building from scratch is definitely faster than most of renovations. For developers there is very little margin in renovations, those projects are too specific and for this reason they may struggle to find clients. This market is left to single buyers who want to keep the house for themselves. Old houses are not for everyone, construction works take longer because you need to carry out demolitions whilst trying to preserve most of the building, those projects requires flexibility as unknown elements at early stage and new findings during works can interfere with the programme and, sometimes, with the design. But I think that in choosing renovation over new-built you need to be able to see poetry in a wonky wall, a window that is too small, or a drive way that make you jump a bit…

I have a budget, how much should I spend in buying the property and make sure I have enough money to renovate it?

It is very important that from the very beginning there is provision for contingencies, and this would depend from the condition of the house you want to buy; also the amount of alteration and how much you want to transform the house are essential parameters that greatly affect the overall cost.  As a general guidance for a budget over €180K we would split it as following: 35% property purchase inclusive of buying cost, 30% contractor’s work, 10% furniture and garden, 15% professional fees inclusive of planning application, 10% contingency.

What are your fees?

Our services start at the very beginning with professional advice before the purchase, we assist during the property acquisition, work with you to produce viable scenarios, create a brief and follow through the project stage, help you appoint contractors, manage the construction, be your eyes when you can’t be there, take care of all the paperwork that you can’t sign, place orders, and make sure that everything is in place. We provide a bespoke service with a high degree of customisation, therefore each fee will be negotiated on the base of your requirements

Tell us about your dream. We can make it real.