Many houses in Italy are hundreds of years old which means that many are in need of renovations. You can get some amazing bargains when you buy property in Italy but you should always be prepared to spend a little on top of the sale price to fix up outdated fittings, improve the facades and upgrade parts of the property to more modern standards.
As an Expat in Italy, if you’re planning to renovate your property then obtaining the services of a qualified Geometra is a critical and valuable asset to the process. A Geometra will have a deep understanding of the local customs, regulations, planning permits and municipal legal requirements as well as practical construction knowledge.
On top of excellent skill set, a Geometra also has great contacts with local planning officials, estate agents and lawyers who can help throughout the renovation process.
Who Is A Geometra?
A Geometra literally translates into English as a ‘surveyor’, however, the role is far more complex and multifaceted than the English word conveys. The role of a Geometra is also unique to Italy, so you won’t find the same job title or position in Europe or elsewhere in the world.
A Geometra conducts a wide range of activities and tasks that are related to property surveying and renovations. The job is more like a combination of a surveyor, in the traditional Western sense of the word, as well as a junior architect, contractor and supervisor, all rolled into one.
Overview Of The Services That A Geometra Can Provide.
Although a Geometra does not have the full training of an architect there is still a fair amount of crossover between the functions of an architect. Most of the tasks that a Geometra conducts are related to the operational side of the renovation process and includes aspects of project management such as technical reviews of the property, ensuring that it complies with municipal building codes and regulations, overseeing renovations work and verifying floor plans and other construction data. The Geometra also makes sure that property is properly registered for the purposes of local and national taxes.
When a property is being sold, or valued, the Geometra can draw up a technical inspection report of the property which can be extremely useful in the process of selling a house which is essential in some regions; although it is not required in Tuscany or Emilia-Romagna.
It is very important to note that if you are doing a major renovation or a complicated renovation, it is crucial that you get architects and engineers involved, not just the Geometra.
Summary Of The Tasks And Roles Of A Geometra In Italy.
- Investigate a property’s land register to verify and report on all relevant information for the property. This includes verifying that the cadastral information is correct and that there have been no unregistered, illegal renovations in the past. Italian municipalities have strict rules relating to property renovations so having the assistance of a Geometra can be crucial for you, especially if you are an Expat and are unfamiliar with local codes.
- Prepare any plans and arrange the specifics for small to medium scale renovation projects. For larger projects, you will need to employ the services of a fully qualified architect.
- A Geometra will help you to evaluate the different bids that are made to you by contractors, acting as your representative during the renovations project.
- Requests any necessary permits or licenses from the municipal authorities to ensure that your renovation plans are in line with local regulations and legal requirements. A Geometra will also work to ensure that any permits or licenses are issued quickly; which in the complex web of Italian bureaucracy can be difficult for foreigners without local contacts in the municipal offices.
- The Geometra will oversee the building and renovation works on your behalf; using their knowledge as a surveyor and junior architect to make sure the work is done properly and to a high standard.
- A Geometra will also check the utilities of the property to confirm that they are up to current health and safety standards and comply with energy efficiency codes in your region.
- Appraise the value of the property in case you want to sell it later; taking into account the renovations you are doing and calculating how this will impact on the market price of the property.
- Can oversee and arrange the dividing up of a property into separate living units, known as ‘frazionare’. They can also arrange to combine existing units together to increase the floor space of your property. They can also manage the subdivision or combining of outdoor spaces into lots.
- A Geometra is qualified to oversee energy efficiency audits and health and safety inspections of the property to ensure it complies with regional requirements.
How Do You Find A Good Geometra In Italy?
It’s not always easy to locate a reliable, affordable and experienced Geometra in Italy because their services are often in high demand and your local contacts may not be extensive when you first arrive.
One excellent way to find a Geometra is to ask around in the Expat community to find out if they have worked with a local one before. You can contact fellow Expats on social media, in dedicated groups, or by asking amongst your own friends in the country.
Alternatively, you can contact your local estate agent and ask them to recommend a local Geometra. An estate agent will have several Geometra on their books and may even be able to get you a discounted rate if you initially bought your property from them.
You can also contact the local town hall to ask for a list of registered Geometra in your locality. Once you have obtained a list you can contact them individually to get a list of quotes for your renovations project.
It’s usually a good idea to ask for some references from your Geometra since you will need to be able to trust them with large sums of money and important aspects of the renovation of your property.
How Much Does A Geometra Cost?
The cost of hiring a Geometra can vary widely depending on the type of renovation work you are undertaking, how much work is involved in the project as well as their experience and level of qualifications.
For a basic structural survey of your property the price will usually start at between 500-700 Euros; however, this can increase if the property is large or the survey is especially complex for some reason.
When acting in the sale of a property a Geometra will charge a fee that can be anything up to around 2% of the property price. There will also be separate charges for any certificates and licenses which you require, although these are not excessively expensive.
When a Geometra is operating in the capacity of assisting you with a renovations project they will usually charge you a flat fee rather than a percentage of the property value. Prices usually start at a few thousand Euros, although for an extensive renovation project the fees can be fairly high. For example, if you bought a run down property for around 40,000 Euros you should expect the Geometra fees for the renovation project to be 3000-5000 Euros or more. You will also have to pay for any licenses, registration fees and other costs separately; although the Geometra will oversee the arrangements involved with these on your behalf.
Can You Renovate A Property Without A Geometra?
It’s really not advisable to try to renovate your property without the help of a Geometra. Practically speaking, particularly as an Expat, its impossible to run a renovations project on your own – especially if you have no contacts in the municipality and have no understanding of local rules and regulations.
Also, there are aspects of a renovations project which must be legally certified by a Geometra, or someone with officially recognized construction knowledge, so it is essential that you take on the services of one.
If you work closely with a Geometra you’ll find that your renovations project runs smoothly and to the expected timetable; as they handle the contractors, municipal regulations, licensing requirements and much more besides!
A Geometra plays an incredibly important role in any small to medium scale renovations project, however, for large, major projects you will need to hire a fully qualified architect to handle the work for you. If you’re unsure as to whether you need an architect or a Geometra you can contact the local municipality and consult them on the type of assistance that you will require.
The municipality will be more than happy to quickly run over the details of your plans and give you the advice you need. One thing to bear in mind is that in most regions you cannot expand a property by more than 20% in a renovations project, however, as with many aspects of Italian bureaucracy, there is plenty of room for exceptions to the rules if you have the right help and know the right people in the authorities!
Renovations Are Complex But Easy With The Right Help.
When you take on a property renovation the results can be stunning; transforming a run down house in disrepair into a magnificent new home, but without the right assistance it can be an uphill struggle that ends in disaster.
There’s a broad range of ways that a Geometra can assist in your renovations project; from overseeing and arranging surveys, licenses and regional taxes as well as making sure that contractors do the construction work to a high standard. Your Geometra can also conduct valuation surveys of the property so you can get a clear idea of how your renovations will increase the value of your property.
It’s not only the practical aspects of the project that a Geometra can help you with because their contacts in the municipality offices and with local contractors means that once you begin the project it will run smoothly and be completed on time.