Homes in Italy
Types of Properties Available
The homes in Italy can be generally categorised into several different types of property. Of course, you will often find that not every property will fit neatly into one of the groups. As with everything else, each type of property comes with its drawbacks and its advantages but these will, to a large degree, depend on the
reasons you are buying the property in the first place.
So make sure you are clear in your mind on the following key areas
which will have a direct influence on the type of property you decide
to commitment yourself to:
- Think about logistics and how easy it will be
for you to visit your property if needed to.
- Consider how much time you can devote to supervising any
repair or renovation work on the property?
- Are you prepared or able to carry out work on the
- Ensure you can find professional and reliable agents
manage a restoration project in your absence.
- Be clear whether you have room in your budget
for the inevitable ‘surprises’ a restoration project can present?
- Consider any timescale – is there a time limit
for any work beyond which you are not prepared to tie up your money?
- If you need your new investment to generate a rental
income, be clear on the outset how quickly you will need this
Homes in Italy: General Categories
So here we will review the kind of properties that are generally on
offer in Italy.
- New Building - no more than 20 years old : One
the main advantages of this type of property is that it is a very low
maintenance and it ideal if you do not want to be bothered with the
inevitable work involved with an older property.
If you are
looking to buy a new build in a big city, it will almost always be part
of a condominium, and you will almost certainly be buying an apartment.
You should be aware that in Italy nearly all property is sold freehold.
So, you will own a proportional part of the freehold of the condominium
and be responsible for general maintenance, the roof, lifts, etc.
build houses are not uncommon in rural areas either, but because they
are less common than older properties, they almost always find a ready
- Ready to Move in - restored/renovated property in
excellent condition: This type of property is the one that
the first-time, second-home buyer in Italy is most likely to go for.
They are often very old properties in wonderful locations and if care
and expense have been lavished on them, they will be at their most
attractive as it fits perfectly into the dream of living in Italy.
Unfortunately for the investor, these properties will probably be the
most expensive type of all the homes in Italy. If you are looking for
maximum investment profit, you should be trying to sell, not buy such
type of property.
- Habitable - in need of cosmetic improvement:
The investor that goes for this type of property is generally scared of
major renovation work and does not want to deal with potential
surprises and spiraling costs if the work is not managed properly. The
trouble is that all this makes this type of property a very popular
category and one, therefore that is in short supply.
- Habitable - in need of more extensive improvements:
This type of homes in Italy is a far better bet as an investment. A
property that needs work done the likes of new electrical wiring,
plumbing, a new septic tank, etc. plus cosmetic improvement, can really
transform the worth of a property. Bear in mind that this is true so
long as two things are scrupulously adhered to:
- Factoring in the costs of the renovation work into the purchase
price of the
- Whatever the property’s condition, making sure that it is
- Shell - in need of extensive, mainly interior work:
This type of property will require you committing investment capital on
things like new doors,
bathrooms, kitchen, re-designing partition walls, etc.
Again, this is the kind of property that can yield profits on the
initial investment but again the key to success for investment
purposes, here is to make sure that you do not let the cost of
restoration escalate unnecessarily.
- Ruin (Rudere) - exterior walls only: A
property in this state will require a new roof and internal rebuild so
to take it on is without doubt a major undertaking. We would recommend
buying this type of property only to an investor who does understand
the process of restoration as well as knows of a trusting person or
company to appoint to manage the project. This type of investment can
yield good results but only if conducted carefully, with an eye on both
costs and preserving the unique character of a property.
The above types of homes in Italy obviously do not take account
of scale, which is a different matter all together. And generally,
apart from the first category, all the property types above could also
fit into the following sub-categories:
- Rustic Building – called rustico
- Large historical property to be transformed
into a business venture such as a hotel or agriturismo
- Farmhouse – called casale
Homes in Italy : Common Italian Property Types
Here is a summary of the most common Italian property types you
might come across in your property search:
- Appartamento – apartment
- Monolocale - studio flat
- Bilocale - two roomed flat
- Trilocale – three roomed flat
- Casa – house/home. This is not a specific type
- Casa Canonica - an old house attached to a
- Casa Gemella - semi-detached property
- Casa Padronale – country house
- Casale – farmhouse
- Casetta - a small house
- Castello - castle
- Palazzo – a mansion, like a palace. Used for
any very large building.
- Rustico – a rural property that needs
- Rovina - a ruin
- Villa - detached house with garden/land
- Villino – cottage/small house with garden
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