Renovating a property in Italy is the best way to create your dream home abroad. A major advantage of renovating a property is that you have complete control over the finished result. You can create the ideal interior design, layout of the rooms and install the exact facilities that you want to be in your home.
However, renovating a property in Italy can be quite tricky due to the various local regulations and municipal legislation that must be complied with. There are also more generalized mistakes that you should avoid making to ensure that your project proceeds smoothly, is completed on time and doesn’t run way over budget.
Important Things You Must Know.
The following are the key things you must know before renovating a property in Italy:
Conduct A Thorough Inspection.
It’s vital to arrange a proper survey of any property that you’re buying that you know you are going to renovate. When you hire a professional surveyor, architect or Geometra to survey a potential property they’ll be able to identify any hidden issues that might lead to the costs of a renovation spiraling out of control.
A thorough survey assesses the property’s foundations, plumbing, roof and electrics. Even if you’ve overseen several renovations in the past it’s still important to hire a professional to assess the property before you buy it. If the surveyor finds any problems with the property that will cost a lot to resolve you can either negotiate the price down or look elsewhere for an easier property to renovate. Even if you’re going to rely on a Geometra to oversee your project, it’s still worth hiring an architect to help with the survey and draw up the blueprints for your renovation. Only an architect has the training and experience to properly plan a major renovation. Architects also have the creative insights to make the most of the property and help your vision for it become a reality
Not Hiring A Lawyer To Help You Is Seriously A Bad Idea!
Before you purchase a property in Italy, you need to hire a bilingual lawyer to go through all the paperwork on your behalf. They will need to check the background of the property and confirm that the deeds are in compliance with the law. Your lawyer can also arrange a survey and help you to find a reliable Geometra.
You can also seek the assistance of a lawyer during renovations. Your lawyer will ensure that your renovation stays in compliance with the local regulations. They can also obtain the necessary permits for your project to commence. This is vital to avoid fines and other legal problems, all of which could hold up your project and unnecessarily eat into your budget. A lawyer is not mandator during renovations if you are working with a good architect or geometra.
Always Research The Local Area.
Location is one of the main factors that will impact how much the property will be worth once the renovation is completed.
Every area has a rough ceiling price for property and so if you’re renovating to make a profit this needs to be taken into account. A local ‘ceiling price’ is effectively the maximum amount that you could expect to sell a fully renovated property for. To find out about the ceiling price in a given area you can contact a local estate agent or speak with your Geometra.
It’s also worth finding out if the types of local tradespeople that you’ll need for the renovation project are available in the area. Some rural locations may not have many builders, plumbers or electricians nearby which can significantly add to the cost of the renovation if you have to pay for their travel and accommodation.
Just like renovating property in the big American cities, renovating properties in historic area of the city will come with it’s own costs, like getting the permit to park the construction vehicles, getting permission from other tenants in the palazzo etc.
Is This The Right Renovation Project For You?
Each renovation is unique and so before you commit to it you need to take a moment to consider whether it’s really the right project for you. Any renovation can be stressful and time-consuming so you need to be sure that you’re ready to commit to it before you start.
When you’re assessing the suitability of the project you should ask yourself whether it will either deliver your perfect dream home or is guaranteed to make a profit when you sell it. If you’re not absolutely certain about taking on a renovation then you should look for another property to work on since it’s not worth taking a chance on a property that you’re only half sure about!
Not Employing A Project Manager.
If it’s your first time renovating a property you will definitely need a project manager to oversee the work. They will liaise with all the other professionals involved in the renovation, ensuring that the project doesn’t go over budget and is completed on schedule.
Critically, a project manager will be able to prioritize the work being done on the property and ensure that you don’t run out of money halfway through the renovation! This is a common mistake that many first-time renovators make but with good planning, it can easily be avoided.
A project manager will also have extensive knowledge of the local regulations that must be complied with and can be a fount of useful information throughout the process. It’s not cheap to hire a good project manager but it’s certainly worth the extra cost because otherwise, your renovation can turn out to be a costly disaster!
Before you start your renovation project you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you speak Italian?
- Will you be able to visit the construction site frequently to assess progress?
- Are you able to manage the workers on the site? This includes being able to deal with any problems that arise and even, in the worst case scenario, fire them.
- Do you have the knowledge and experience to be able to see whether or not the craftsmanship on your property is really up to standard?
- Are you extremely organized and an expert in time management?
If you honestly ask yourself these questions and find that you’re generally answering ‘No’, then you really need to hire a project manager to work with you.
Consult With Your New Neighbors.
Before you start a renovation project you should take the time to speak with your neighbors and let them know what you’re planning to do and how long it should take. Generally speaking, if you’re renovating a ruined property then your neighbors will be very pleased and supportive of your project; not only because it will increase the value of their property but it will also help to rejuvenate the whole area.
As well as obtaining verbal consent, it’s always worth getting written consent from your neighbors if you are going to be conducting any work along the property line. You can either manage this yourself or ask your lawyer to handle it for you.
Construction Companies In Italy – Do Your Diligence.
Before you contract a building company to work on your renovation you need to do some background checks. This includes reading through previous customer reviews and ensuring that they work in full compliance with the local health and safety codes.
You should always ask your builders for references but you should also ask your lawyer to confirm their reliability as well. If you don’t hire good quality builders then your renovation project can quickly devolve into an extremely expensive living nightmare!
Don’t Forget The Little Things.
When you’re working on a renovation it can be easy to forget about the small details because you’re focused on the big changes being made to the property. However, it’s crucial that you keep your eye on the details because even though they are small they will still affect you every day.
Some of the smaller details that you should keep in mind during the renovation include:
- Do you need to install an antenna to watch TV?
- How many plug sockets does each room need and where do you want them to be positioned?
- Is there going to be enough space at the kitchen workstation?
- Is it going to be easy to clean the property? For instance, large glazing features such as skylights and patio windows can sometimes be hard to clean.
When you’re planning the renovation it’s a good idea to make an extensive list of all the small things that you’ll have to check along the way. These seemingly minor details are what make a home livable on a day-to-day basis so it’s essential to get them right! Your Geometra should be able to help you draw up a list to which you can add your own requirements.
Don’t Underestimate the Costs Of Renovation.
Renovations can often end up being a little more expensive than you first thought! This is because there are bound to be unexpected issues, delays and problems that you couldn’t have foreseen. Therefore, when you’re budgeting the renovation you should have an additional 10-20% of the total budget set aside to cover any unexpected costs that may arise.
One way to get a rough idea of the costs is to look at other renovations in the same area. This will give you a good baseline to work with but you should also do some detailed calculations which include every aspect of your own project. Your Geometra will be able to help you with this and you can use your lawyer to get quotes from builders and other tradespeople before you contact their services.
The more detailed you make your plans the better you’ll be able to accurately estimate the overall costs. As a very rough guideline, a complete renovation in Italy can cost anywhere between 1,000-3,000 Euros per square meter. This will largely depend on how much work is required and what your aim is for the finished property.
Understanding The Rules And Regulations.
Italy is famous for its bureaucracy and the housing market is certainly no exception to this! You should always comply with all the legal requirements during your renovation project and should not undertake any work without first checking with the local authorities.
Your lawyer and Geometra will be able to assist you in understanding and fully complying with all the necessary legal requirements. Some of the main things you’ll have to keep in mind are:
- Planning permission for any additions to the property.
- Ensure that your plans are in compliance with all local building codes.
- Make sure that you’ve notified your neighbors and have obtained written consent where necessary.
- The work is done in line with the current health and safety codes.
Not Having Contingency Plans.
No matter how well you plan your renovation project things may still go wrong. There will always be unexpected events that can increase the cost of the project and cause lengthy delays. For instance, bad weather, supply chain issues and other eventualities that are impossible to predict may cause serious problems during the project.
This is why you should not only have at least 10-20% of the total costs set aside for emergencies but you should also have the flexibility in your schedule to absorb any unforeseen delays.
Renovating A Property In Italy Is Not Easy.
Many Expats who are relocating to Italy chose to renovate a run-down property rather than buy a home that’s ready to move into. This allows you to create a home that fits your personal requirements and contains the type of interior design, facilities and features that you want from a property abroad.
For other Expats, renovating a ruined property can be a very profitable venture. A well-thought-out renovation can transform a worthless house into a highly sought after property that will quickly sell and turn a profit.
Whatever your reason for renovating a property in Italy, as long as you avoid the most common mistakes your project should be a wonderful success.