You would probably never enter a car showroom with the vague idea of “buying a car”. You would almost certainly already have an idea – if only approximate – of what type of car you want in terms of size, performance, price, functionality, appearance, etc.
The same applies to searching for a property to purchase. However, you may not be aware of the different types of houses for sale in Italy. Italian House Hunters is therefore happy to give you a short guide.
We provide an overview of the different types of building that you might like to consider, some Italian words and terms that you need to know during your search, and we offer some tips as to how to go about viewing houses for sale in Italy.
Types of houses for sale in Italy
A New Building in Italy generally means one that is up to 15-20 years old. These are typically in cities, and are thus mainly apartments. However, new buildings do rise up in rural areas, but because of their scarcity are often quickly snapped up. The great advantage of purchasing a newly constructed building is very low maintenance.
A property that is described as Renovated and Ready for Occupation is the most common type of property we are asked to search for at Italian House Hunters. The owner will likely have made a significant investment to repair and modernize the building, and therefore minimal if any alterations are necessary. Unfortunately, these are the most sought after properties, which is reflected in their price.
Another popular category amongst houses for sale in Italy is a property described as Habitable but Needs Minor Improvements. Such a property particularly appeals to Do-It-Yourself hobbyists who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty by painting and decorating and performing basic carpentry and plumbing tasks.
If you go for a property that is described as Habitable but Needs Major Renovation then you could get a really good deal – but a major challenge at the same time! If you’re unafraid to invest time and money in extensive improvements (e.g. rewiring, new plumbing, new window frames, roof repairs) as well as the interior decoration necessary, you can customize and transform the place into your dream home, while significantly increasing its resale value.
Finally, there’s a Shell or a Ruin. You have to know what you’re doing if you purchase a property like this. It may have only exterior walls, a partial roof, limited electrical wiring, and problems associated with long-term neglect. However, if you have the expertise, an understanding of the process of restoration, and good contacts with subcontractors, you could end up with a gem.
Italian terms to know when buying property in Italy
It’s always important to know what to expect when you are looking through Italian newspapers of magazines and reading descriptions of houses for sale in Italy. Here are the Italian terms you are most likely to come across, and their English translations:
- Appartamento – apartment
- Monolocale – studio
- Bilocale – two-bedroom apartment
- Trilocale – three-bedroom apartment
- Casa – general name for a house
- Casetta – a small house
- Casa Gemella – a semi-detached property
- Villino – a cottage or small house with garden
- Villa – a detached house with garden/land
- Palazzo – a mansion
- Castello – a castle
- Casa Padronale – a country house
- Casale – a farmhouse
- Casa Canonica – a house (usually old) attached to a church
- Rustico – a rural property, usually in need of renovation
- Rovina – a ruin
How to view houses for sale in Italy
Our experience at Italian House Hunters is that good preparation is key to making the viewing trip as enjoyable, efficient, fruitful and ultimately as successful as possible. Here are our tips for a successful viewing trip:
Make the most of technology. There’s a lot out there to use that can help avoid a wasted trip. There’s nothing more frustrating than visiting a property to discover that it’s next to a filling station or overlooks a motorway. These and other drawbacks can often easily be identified from Google Maps, especially if Google Streetview is active in that area.
If you are able, visit a property at different times of the day/week. You might get completely different impressions of the property and the neighbourhood between, for example, a Sunday afternoon and a weekday evening.
Consider the season. Think what the property, the locality and the roads are like, not only in the height of summer but also in the depths of winter. Don’t be afraid to ask the estate agent, owners or even locals. If you’re visiting in off-season, ask what it’s like in the area in high season when your “quiet little village” might become packed with tourists.
When you are viewing the property, take lots of photos! It’s always good to ask for permission first though, just to avoid misunderstandings. And not just stills, but shoot some videos too. It’s amazing how much you will miss when looking around a property that you can catch in a photo or video when you’re back home.
However, photos won’t show the property as you intend it to be. So use your imagination. Picture it with a new kitchen. Imagine the garden after you’ve converted that old football pitch into a swimming pool. Just think what that dark musty cellar will look like with a lick of white paint.
Speak up and ask! Don’t be too polite. You don’t want to go back home and regret that you hadn’t asked about the neighbours, or the traffic, or whatever. It’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions to ask – and an even better idea to get out the list while you’re viewing the property!
We hope the above has given you some practical tips that will help you search, find and view houses for sale in Italy.
Buy a property in Italy with Italian House Hunters
Italian House Hunters can help you every step of the way. From the initial search through all the paperwork, rules and regulations to the signing of the contract – and even beyond to rental advice. We have an extensive local network and can locate properties that are under the radar. Moreover, we’ll help you get the best deal possible!
Italian House Hunters are on a mission to help Italophiles from around the globe find and buy their dream house. Our experience is priceless and our expertise comes at no risk to you. If your search proves unsuccessful or if your purchase falls through, we won’t charge you.
Contact Italian House Hunters today.