If you are planning on purchasing the property of your dreams perhaps in a Mediterranean country, Italy has a real estate market with a wide range of properties at very competitive prices. Arguably, the most affordable properties are the ones which require a few renovations works. Drawing from this, this article aims to provide you with some useful pieces of information and tips which will help you gain a greater insight into renovation schemes, the benefits and costs.
Choosing a property is the first and most important step that will determine the time frame and cost of your renovation works. In particular, properties that need renovation works may be categorized as follows:
- Properties requiring substantial renovation works: these kinds of properties need substantial renovation works for essential services such as water and electricity to work effectively.
- Partly renovated properties: these properties are habitable but still need a few renovation works.
One of the factors that must be considered if you plan on renovating a property is its location. More specifically, if you decide to make changes to the floor plan or to redecorate the facade of a property, which is in an area with high hydrogeological risk or which is part of a cultural heritage sight, you will need special permits from the municipality where the property is located, and this increases the renovation costs. Therefore, it is advisable to ask professionals to check the laws and regulations concerning renovation works before carrying out any renovation work on your property. In particular, you will need the help of a geometra, an individual who carries out a large number of activities which are performed in the UK or the US by an architect, a real estate agent, and a contractor. More specifically, a geometra is an expert on local and regional planning codes, laws and regulations concerning renovation works, and together with other activities his or her duty is to ensure that the property complies with all the applicable local planning, building and land registry regulations, and with any building plan or consent issued by the municipality where the property is located.
In addition to the location of the property, it is important that you check that the walls, the roof and the foundations of your property are in good conditions. If there are parts of the property that need repairs it is advisable to ask for written quotes from professionals such as a geometra, an electrician or a plumber in order to be able to compare costs and services.
When you have chosen a property that meets all of your requirements, there are three major options to renovate it:
- Outsource all the renovation works to one company;
- Hire several professionals such as a construction team, plumbers and electricians with each team dealing with a specific aspect of the renovation process;
- Carry out the work by yourself and hire a professional to help you with a few renovation works.
The first option is certainly the most expensive as there will be a single company that will take care of the renovation works from the beginning to the end without you having to intervene directly and substantially in the process. Although this option might be the most convenient, if your budget is tight you may prefer the second option, which is less expensive but more time consuming because you would need to oversee and coordinate the renovation works. If you decide to go down this route, it is important to reach out to people who can help you find a good geometra as he or she will be your right hand for the conversion of your property. However, if you want to reduce costs considerably and shape the house of your dreams by yourself, carrying out the work on your own is undoubtedly the most rewarding solution. In this way, you will only need to rely on professionals to do electric and plumbing installation, and arrange the furniture.
The cost for renovation works varies depending on the type of property. Renovating an apartment could cost between 500€/sqm and 1500€/sqm whereas renovating a farmhouse in the countryside is more expensive and usually ranges from 1000€/sqm to 3000€/sqm.
The size of the property and the extent of the works also affect the time to complete the renovation project. Usually, six months is the minimum time required.
In the past few years, Italy has started offering a number of renovation opportunities. This has attracted many foreigners who have decided to invest in the so called “1- euro houses”. These types of properties are usually in small, historic and quaint villages in remote areas; although they require substantial renovation works they are still cheaper compared to an average property. As for the requirements, although these vary depending on the municipality where the property is located, as a general rule, you need to submit a renovation project and you also need to carry out the renovation works within a given number of years.
Finally, the Italian government has introduced a number of tax deductions to incentivize renovation works. Among these are:
- Renovation bonus: the tax deductions amount to 50% of the expenses (up to a maximum of 96.000€) and they must be divided into 10 equal annual installments. The objective is to incentivize maintenance, restoration and renovation works on the property.
- Facades bonus: the tax deduction goes up to of 90% of the expenses and it is divided into 10 equal annual installments. This is intended for painting or repairing a building’s external facade.
- The 110% Superbonus tax deduction: the rate is applied to works such as thermal insulation, air conditioning replacements and anti-seismic works, and these works should be carried out together with other works that are financed by the eco-bonus or the so called “seismic bonus”.
In conclusion, if you are thinking of buying a house in Italy and renovating it you should consider three major costs: the cost to hire professionals, carry out the works and apply for building permits. Although the process may take up to one year to be completed, the result will allow you to enjoy the house of your dreams in one of the charming towns of the Bel Paese.
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