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Property Options and Types

Italy - Property Options and Types

The real estate market in Italy is diverse in several aspects and buyers have to make many decisions, not just in terms of locations but also in the types of properties they can choose from.

Property Options

When it comes to buying a house in this country new builds and resale homes are the two most common options available to locals as well as expats.

Young expats who live and work in big cities usually opt for properties that are low on maintenance. They are often pressed for time and prefer buying houses that are habitable without undergoing any major improvements. With such properties, buyers can move in soon after they complete all the paperwork and sale formalities. New build houses are therefore most preferred by the younger generation of expats. Construction of properties in the rural areas has also picked up in the recent years due to the increase in demand for new build properties.

Many first-time buyers in Italy prefer purchasing a house that has already been lived in or owned by someone. These houses are known as resale properties. Though such houses require more work and maintenance they tend to be more expensive than new builds. Retired expats moving to Italy for a better quality of life are more likely to invest in resale houses. These properties are a lot more common in the Italian countryside as compared to the urban cities.

Many locals and expats in this country buy houses at a much lower rate by paying the builder even before the construction begins. This concept is known as off-plan investment and it is popular in many nations, including Italy. In most cases, the builders require an initial deposit to book the house; the balance payment is made in installments over a period of time. As the construction progresses the prices for the property begin to rise. Many investors sell the property back to the builder or to a new buyer once they make a profit. After the construction is complete the buyer can also move into the new property instead of selling it. However, there are several risks involved in off-plan purchase of property.

Types of Property

Most expats from the US and the UK are aware of the differences between a villa and an appartamento (apartment). However, it may take a while to learn what terms like bilocale, casetta and terratetto stand for. It is therefore important to first get familiarized with the different options before making a choice. Casa is a generic term that is used for just about any type of house or home in Italy.

Expats looking for property in the urban areas usually opt for flats or houses depending upon their requirement, preference and budget. An Appartamento can be of different types, like a Monolocale (a studio apartment or bedsit), a Bilocale (an apartment with two rooms), a Trilocale (a 3-roomed flat) an Attico (an attic house) or a Mansarda (a converted loft). Apartments are usually located in large buildings or within a block of flats, known as Palazzo.

A Casetta is a small house, which could include a Villa (a detached house with a garden), a Villino (a cottage with a garden), a Casa Gemella/ Bifamiliare (a semi-detached house) and a Viletta A Schiera (a terraced house). Mansions and townhouses are also known as Palazzos. Terratettos are properties where an entire building, from “roof to ground”, is owned by one person.

Rural areas and the Italian countryside have a lot more to offer in terms of property options. In addition to the different types of Casetta available, buyers can also choose to go in for a Casale (farmhouse or hamlet), a Casa Padronale (country house), a Podere (house with space for a garden and some livestock), a Masseria (a large estate), a Fattoria (a working farm) or an Agriturismo (working farm offering accommodation). The southern region of Puglia is well known for the Trulli, which are agricultural stone dwellings shaped like a cone at the top. Many expats from the UK purchase Rustico houses, better known as rural properties that require restoration. These properties are cheaper and can be remodeled as per the buyer’s preference. However, it is absolutely essential to seek permission from the local council before commencing any renovation work.

Though rare, a Castello (castle) with 40 bedrooms or a Rudere (abandoned ruin) may also be listed for sale on the Italian real estate market.

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