Buying property in Italy can be a dream come true however go into it unprepared and the dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Andrew (my husband) and I bought our home in Italy after we had lived in this wonderful country for over five years.
To resist that long took a lot; I can't tell you how many times I was tempted to buy a property.
We would drive around the Italian countryside, seeing all these marvelous country houses, and be tempted to buy on the spot.
Looking back, I would have burned my fingers rather badly on many occasions, and I am glad I resisted. You don't need to wait five years, but make sure you are well prepared and have done as much research as possible beforehand.
The Italian property buying process and, indeed, home ownership are relatively simple, but you need to understand them as well as you possibly can.
I have put together a brief guide on things like insuring your home after purchasing it, which may prove useful. You can read the home insurance guide here. For advice on what the buying procedure involves click here.
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Of great importance is having a clear idea of what you are looking for before buying. I can't stress enough how vital it is to spend time in all the regions that meet your requirements. There is no single answer to the question I am often asked, which is this: "Where is the nicest place to live in Italy?"
My way of deciding where to buy was to make a list of ten points that were important to me, these can relate to:
...and a whole bunch of other factors that I judged to be vital.
Earthquake risk and volcano risk are both worth considering
Never neglect to look into this - I have friends who lost everything in the Le Marche earthquakes, and because of that, I put together this article about earthquake risk in Italy and this one about volcanoes, which I really recommend you read before starting your real estate search.
Investing in Italian real estate purely from an investment point of view?
Then decide where the rental returns would be good; normally, a city is best; however, if you want to make a return with short-term rentals through Airbnb, then buying in a touristy city or in a coastal resort town or ski resort is essential. Remember, though, that rentals in resort towns are largely seasonal. Outside of the season, your home will probably be empty. It's not a bad option if you plan to stay there yourself outside of the season.
Lastly, Italy doesn't have capital gains tax on property that is held for over five years, which is another advantage to buying property in Italy. Things change quickly, though, especially tax rules in Italy, so do your research and speak to your tax professional.
A few thoughts...
No doubt some points on my list may not be important to everyone; for example, I wanted to buy a home within walking distance of a weekly outdoor market, on the bus route, and near a good school. Still, it worked out well for me and the family. We are very happy with our Italian home!
These have become more and more common over the years. I spent a long time looking into dozens of small towns promising houses for a Euro; I contacted them all, or in some cases tried to contact them. Many don't even bother to respond. You can read my rather shocking findings here.
It would be most interesting and very helpful if you could share your experiences with me and my visitors.
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