Charming Italian Real Estate and Property
Wherever you choose to purchase real estate in Italy, you’ll be surrounded by so many good things that you’ll find it hard to believe you lived without them for so long.
But where in Italy do you picture yourself buying property and living? There is probably more beauty per square mile here than almost any other corner of Europe. It’s going to be no simple matter to hit on the ideal Italian location, even if you know for sure that you prefer big city life to the tranquility of the countryside. How do you choose between the watery beauty of Venice, the exuberance of Rome, or the glories of Florence?
And if you have small-town life in mind, the regional decision is likely to prove just as excruciating. For its geographical size, no other country possesses so many towns that are so overwhelmingly blessed with art and history. In fact, Italy has so many wonderful little towns, it seems almost impossible to pick one over another. Should you find Italian real estate and settle on somewhere around the northern lakes, or in one of the Renaissance hilltowns of Tuscany, Umbria, or Le Marché? Or maybe the Amalfi coast beyond Naples, strung with sheltered coves and delectable pastel-colored perched villages?
Although Italy is not generally perceived as being a bargain location for property buyers, there’s something for everybody. Dreaming of a 3,000-square-foot restored farmhouse with space enough for all your family and friends…or an unconverted farmhouse or villa that you can do up and then run as a B&B? Or perhaps you picture yourself in a cozy village house just big enough for two…or a home overlooking the piazza (square) in a small historic hilltown? A villa beside the looking-glass northern lakes? An apartment on the Mediterranean or Adriatic coast…or in a major city such as Rome, Florence, or Venice? Rolling fields and hillsides crowned with castles? The excitement of the city? Whatever your dream, Italy can make it come true. Although the best areas of Rome, Florence, and Milan are admittedly expensive, not all regions are as unaffordable as you might expect. In rural areas and small towns, plenty of Italy real estate is available for less than $100,000.
What Type of Real Estate in Italy Do You Want to Buy?
Italy has more than farmhouses to offer. Say you’re looking for a simple village house in fairly good condition…but you don’t want to pay more than $150,000.
You won’t find one on the shores of Lake Como at that price, but look to Apulia and you’ll be spoiled for choice. It’s usually necessary to venture beyond the fashionable destinations to find sensible prices. What kind of home are you looking for? Villas and villettas, farmhouses, towerhouses, village houses, medieval townhouses, chalets in the mountains, apartments in the city or at the seaside–it’s up to you. A palazzo if you wish, but if your heart is set on a medieval palace in Venice or Florence, you’ll need bottomless pockets. Apartment living is the norm in cities, and many ancient properties have been divided up into separate households.
Real Estate Agents in Italy
Once you have found your dream location, you will undoubtedly need the services of a real estate agent. Should you choose an Italian agent or an American or British agent?
First, much depends on whether you can even find an American/English agent in your target area. Even today, some parts of Italy remain virgin territory to foreigners. Some buyers prefer to use Italian real estate agents, as their fees are usually a couple of percentage points lower. If they’re local, they may also have a greater understanding of zoning regulations and any potential problems. And if you go through a professional Italian real estate agent, you’re less likely to be overcharged. Not that all Italian agents are angels. In fact, some are out-and-out rogues.
On the other hand, a professional foreign real estate agent who speaks your language is likely to have a better understanding of your needs. They will probably have already dealt with buyers who don’t intend to live in Italy year-round and who need to transfer money from abroad. As good communication between agent and buyer is of vital importance, choosing between the two alternatives will ultimately be decided by how fluent in English an agent is–and how fluent you are in Italian. Italian real estate agents are called immobiliari and over 15,000 of them belong to FIAIP (Federazione Italiana Agenti Immobiliari Professionali).
*Prices as of 2013
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