Are you looking to buy a property in Italy, but aren't sure how to start?
Are you concerned about potential pitfalls or worried that you may not be fully prepared?
Then look no further! We have created a super master list of all the questions you need to ask yourself when looking to buy property in Italy, whether as a second home, a rental property or as a permanent home.
You will find the answers you find to these questions will help to give you the foundation of what you need to know before you start researching and planning to view properties for sale in Italy.
These questions come from our conversations with hundreds of people who are either in the process of buying property in Italy or who have already purchased (don't forget to check out our ex-pat stories to read more about other people's experience of buying property in Italy).
Want to know more about buying property in Italy? Why not check out our weekly La Dolce Vita Lifestle and Property magazine HERE.
How to Use These Questions
First of all, remember we've anticipated as many different scenarios as we can therefore not every question is going to be relevant to you. Just hop over the ones that aren't relevant. And if we've missed out a topic - just let us know and we'll work on it!
Secondly - don't be daunted! The answers to many of these questions can be gleaned from the comfort of your armchair using Google or similar.
Come and join our Facebook group and share your property based questions and answers with others!
Tip: try using Google Translate and search Google.it to get relevant results.
Therefore if you want to establish whether there are any vets, for example, in the area you are hoping to move to, search Google and then use Google maps to discover more.
1: What is Your Financial & Legal Status
This is a biggie! Your financial status includes things like:
- Will you be working in Italy, do you need a visa?
- Do you pay tax and will you be required to pay tax as an ex-pat in Italy in the future?
- Are you drawing a pension or will you be drawing a pension and how can you do this in Italy?
- Will your pension be taxed in Italy?
- How does the cost of living compare with your home country?
- Do you claim any benefits in your home country, will you be entitled to these if you move?
- Will you become resident in Italy and if so, do you know what the requirements are?
- Is inheritance something that's important to you and have you established how a move to Italy may affect this?
- Do you need a bank account in Italy, do you know what the requirements are for opening a bank account as an ex-pat living in Italy?
- Can you use the bank card from your home country bank? If so, are there additional charges and costs you need to take into account?
- If you are a UK national, what effect has Brexit had on your own unique circumstances?
Even if you don't intend to become resident in Italy and you are looking to purchase a property in Italy as an investment, you will need to consider some of the questions above, along with questions such as:
- What are the tax implications of owning a property in Italy as a non-resident?
- What are the tax implications in your home country for owning property outside your home country?
- What are the tax implications for any income earned as a non-resident, both as it affects you in Italy and in your home country?
What About Family and Friends?
Family and friends can have a big impact when buying a property in Italy. Not only can they provide support as you go through the purchase of your dream Italian property by doing things such as house-sitting, looking after pets etc, they may also become a great source of marketing in the future if you are looking to rent your property in Italy.
Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding family and friends visiting:
- Are you expecting frequent visits from family and friends? Therefore do you need to factor this in when you are looking for your ideal property in Italy?
- Will the nearest airport be convenient for family and friends to visit?
- What is public transport like from the airport or will you be picking them up?
- What is car hire from the airport like?
- Will whoever is visiting be comfortable driving in Italy?
- Do you need to purchase a property in Italy with special features for when family and friends visit?
When you purchase your dream property in Italy you MAY find that some family and friends have differing expectations about visiting you. For example, a friend wanting to visit as a guest (not paying rent) during high season or family may want to visit and be entertained even though you work from home. This type of issue can cause tension and it's best to get the ground rules set down first. Therefore when you are looking to buy property in Italy and you have family and friends who may want to visit, here are some slightly more delicate questions to ask yourself!
- If you are looking to buy a property in Italy to let out or to buy a property to use as Airbnb, what will your policy be regarding family and friends visiting? Will you have set family and friends rates or rental periods? Will they be welcome at any time?
- Are you free to entertain guests 24/7 during a visit? Are there ground rules about expectations you need to set? Does this have an impact on the properties you are looking at?
- If you are working from home and expect a packed house of guests, do you need a property with a quiet office where you can get on with things?
Living With Kids in Italy
If you are moving to Italy with kids, whether as digital nomads or as part of a permanent move, there are some important things to consider. Answering these questions will help you make the best decisions for you and your family when it comes to buying a property in Italy:
- Will your children be attending school in Italy? What are your plans for them attending a local school (and speaking Italian) vs attending an international school?
- Do your children need to become fluent in Italian before you move so they can integrate or will you move to an area where there are many ex-pats and as such they will find a rich mix of nationalities to mix with while learning Italian.
- Do your children have any special requirements, be this food allergies, sport passions, hobbies etc that you need to take into account?
Healthcare In Italy for Ex-Pats
We all hope we'll never need healthcare, particularly when abroad, however even if you are super-healthy you may find yourself in the need of healthcare. Healthcare in Italy as excellent, however, in order to ensure you have no nasty surprises, here are some important questions to ask when you are looking to purchase property in Italy as an ex-pat.
- What is the healthcare provision for you in Italy? If you are an EU national, does your EHIC card cover you? If you are non-EU, do you need private health insurance? Is there a minimum coverage you require?
- What are the local hospitals like in the area you are looking to buy property in? If you have an underlying health condition, do the local hospitals specialize in this or will you have to travel?
- Do you have any medication you need to be sure you can access? Do you use any over-the-counter medications that you need to be sure you can purchase in Italy?
Pets and Animals in Italy
Are you taking your pets with you when you go to Italy? Whether you are taking your pet for a short visit or moving there as your permanent home, you will need to be sure that your pet is well catered for. Here are some questions to be asking about taking pets to Italy:
- What are the requirements for taking a pet to Italy from your home country?
- What are the cost implications?
- How far are the properties you are viewing from a vet?
- Does your pet eat special food? Are they finicky about their food? Can you purchase food they are familiar with or will you take food with you?
- Does your pet have any underlying health conditions? Will these be treatable in Italy?
- Are there any diseases or parasites which cause disease that you need to be aware of in the place you are looking to purchase property in Italy? What preventative measures can you take?
- Will your pet require any special features in your new property in Italy? For example, do you need a grassed play area for a dog or a indoor courtyard for a cat?
- Do the properties you are viewing allow pets?
If you are looking to purchase a property to rent in Italy there are more questions you need to ask yourself including:
- If you are going to let your property or rent it out as an Airbnb or similar, what is your policy about people visiting with pets?
- If you allow guests with pets, will there be any limit on the number of pets or the size/type of pet?
- If you have a pet and you are going to let the property when you are not there, do you need to advise potential guests you have pets, for example in case of guests having pet hair allergies?
- Will the property require specialist cleaning if you allow pets?
Working Remotely In Italy
If you are looking to purchase property in Italy and intend to work remotely from this property as a digital nomad, there are many things you need to consider to ensure you purchase the perfect property in Italy for remote working. These include:
- What Internet connection do you require as a minimum? Do you need a broadband connection or can you make do with data?
- Can you use WIFI in the property?
- If there isn't an internet connection in the place you are looking for Italy property, are there alternatives like Satellite internet or local hotspots?
- Are there any financial or legal implications of you working from your property? Are there tax savings if part of the property is your home office?
- Do you need any other special requirements, for example a room with good sound condition for live calls or video production?
- If you intend to rent the property when you are not there, what will you do with your business areas? Will guests have access to your office?
Food and Drink
This is so important it gets its own section! We all know that Italy is the place to be when it comes to delectable food and drink. However, when you are looking to purchase a property in Italy, there will be some important questions to ask yourself including:
- Do you have any special dietary needs? Does the area you are looking to purchase a property in Italy in cater for these needs?
- Do you prefer to eat in or eat out? Do you need to look for properties with a substantial kitchen (crucial if you love to cook) or do you intend to eat out all the time? If so, does the local catering establishments serve food in your budget?
- Is there any food from your home country you will HUGELY miss (Marmite anyone...!!), if so, can you buy this locally. What are the implications of getting this shipped to you.
- Every region of Italy has its own food specialities. Does the area where you are hoping to purchase property specialize in food you love?
Travel and Transport When You Live in Italy
Travel and transport are another set of important questions. Whether you are just nipping over to your holiday home for a long weekend or planning on buying a property in Italy as your forever home, you need to consider transport and travel in Italy.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about running a car to help you get started:
- Will you be driving in Italy? If so, do you plan to rent or purchase a car or will you be taking your car with you?
- Does your ability to drive affect the location of real estate in Italy that you intend to purchase? Do you need to check out public transport too?
- If you are staying in Italy for any period of time and taking your own car, are there any things you need to consider like insurance?
- Will you need a European driving license and where will you get one?
- Have you budgeted for running a car? How do the prices of running a car in Italy compare to your home country?
- If you are from the UK, are you comfortable with driving on the 'wrong' side of the road? Will you need to take lessons after moving to build your confidence?
Travelling to and from your property in Italy will be key. Of course, the length of time you intend to stay will play a big part here. If you are going to take lots of short trips to your holiday home, being in a good travel distance of an international airport will be key, however if you intend to move to your new home and stay there with rare and infrequent trips abroad, proximity to an airport will be less important.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about travel to help you get things clear when looking to purchase property in Italy:
- How far is the area you are looking for property in Italy away from an international airport? Does this matter?
- What is public transport like in the area you are considering purchasing a property in Italy?
- If you are going to let the property as a vacation rental, is the public transport good enough for your guests? Will you need to advise them to arrange car hire in Italy?
- What public transport options are there, other than trains and buses?
Entertainment and Lifestyle
How do you see your new life in Italy? Whether you are buying a property in Italy as a second home, investment or as your main home, knowing how you want to lead your life moving forward is key. It's so important to get this right so you can live La Dolce Vita!
Here are some questions to ask to help you gain clarity:
- How important is it for you to be around other people? Does it matter if you are or are not among other ex-pats?
- Will you be learning Italian when you buy your property in Italy? Do you require international versions of services such as satellite TV?
- What will you do for entertainment? If you are retiring to Italy, how do you intend to fill your days? Does this impact where you should be looking for properties or the type of property you are looking for?
- What do you think the things are from your home country you will miss the most? How can you compromise? What exciting alternatives are there for you to consider?
Hopefully, when you have answered all the relevant questions you will have a much clearer idea of what your Italy property journey will look like and be prepared to take the next step forward towards your Italy property dream.