A revolutionary “plant system” to save on property maintenance costs

Eco-friendly homes: Green vegetation to apply on walls and roofs to save up to 15 % on property costs

It is a revolutionary “plant system” that can be installed on house walls, roofs and terraces to create an insulated bearing.

A brand new green home concept that mixes the beauty of the countryside with the love for the environment and the necessities to make savings on expenses connected to utilities.

How does it function and what are the benefits?

Vegetation is able to mitigate temperature peaks during the summer. This by capturing the most part of solar energy that no longer hits the building (with a reduction in temeprature of 3 degrees).

In addition, vegetation can dissipate a big quantity of thermal energy through the evapotranspiration.

This quantity would otherwise be absorbed by the building and be released in the form of heat inside the property.

In addition to the improvement of thermal-acoustic insulation, this solution also boasts advantages for the entire urban contest.

But there is more…in fact, these green walls also allow to cushion possible water bombs. Applying more vegetation can absorb up to 50 percent of rain water.

Types of green walls

Susanna Mariani of Enea, national agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development is currently testing three types of green walls: Extensive, light intensive and intensive.

“We have a particular interest in the experimental use of indigenous varieties such as climbing or evergreen plants and rare wild species”, says Susanna.

Furthermore, these species guarantee the highest biodiversity safety, are adaptable to various climates and are resistant to summer dryness.

Green investment and money saving

Thanks to vegetable and climbing plants to be installed over walls, roofs and terraces it will be possible to save up to 15 percent on property maintenance costs.

In conclusion, green-friendly homes are real dream homes for nature and green lovers who are forced to live in town.

 

Renovations in Italy: How the building system is regulated

What is the difference between the planning permission and the D.I.A, and when do I need to apply for them?

All laws and regulations regarding the construction sector in Italy are written in the “Testo Unico dell’Ediliza”, a wide document which incorporates the building guidelines in all regions. In fact, each region has its own rules which relate to specific issues such as climate, traditions etc.

Due to the highly complex nature of these regulations and the Italian burocracy, if you want to do external/internal renovations or changes, it is important to hire a property management company who takes care of the entire work by supervising the geometra, architect, plumber, electrician etc. on your behalf.

D.I.A. (Dichiarazione di inizio attività)

The D.I.A document is necessary if you want to do internal refurbishment such as new heating, plumbing system or new fixtures.

The geometra will submit a simple project to the local town hall 20 days before the beginning of the works.

Planning permission

Planning permissions are required when doing structural changes, roof renovation, extensions, foundations, external changes such as the installation of a swimming pool etc…The plan must be prepared by a geometra or an architect who submits it to the “Commissione Edilizia”.

It can take up to 2 months (or even longer) to get the authorization. If the property is located in a seismic area, an earthquake study may be required.

If the house is situated inside an Italian National Park or historical center, it may be not easy to receive permissions because of the local building restrictions and also, permissions are often subject to the authorisation from the Ministry of Culture. This can cause delays in some cases. However, renovations need to be made by using local materials and by maintaining the original style.

It is suggested to find out exactly what can be done and what can’t be done prior to buying a home to restore and also, it is important to obtain the necessary permissions as working without them can only lead to problems and heavy fines. In fact, there are various houses built illegally during the past years which were demolished by order of the authorities.

For more details, please contact info@italypropertyservice.it 

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Find out how to get connected to utilities in Italy

What to do when it comes to utility connection in Italy

Once you have bought your dream holiday home, connecting utilities in a foreign country can be difficult, especially if you do not know the language. It is recommended to hire an Italian property manager who does the work on your behalf.

But, let’s walk through some necessary information and requirements for switching on utilities when you have purchased your property in Italy.

If you take over utilities from the old owner, ask the person not to cancel the contracts, as it is easier than asking for new accounts to set up. Ask the previous owner for a copy of the last bills paid and read the meters together to avoid extra charges.

Electricity

The national company who provides power in Italy is ENEL. You can visit the local Enel office directly or call the general number 800 900 800 to request a new contract. Standard electricity supply is 220 Volts (V), 50 Hertz (Hz).

Documents needed:

Italian codice fiscale

Contract and documents of the property with all details

Identity card or passport

Client number of the previous owner

Amount of power required (3 KW, 4 KW or 6 KW)

Current meter reading

Bank details, if payment is to be by direct debit from a bank

Address to which the bills should be sent

Please note that property owners are free to choose other electricity providers available in their town.

Water

Regarding water supply, it is important to know that every town has its own company with different policies. Prices depend on rainfalls and reserves and you will generally receive bills twice a year. Should you need extra water (for example for big garden irrigations or swimming pools), there will be additional costs.

It is suggested to contact the local commune for information about the local company.

Documents needed:

Italian fiscal code

Identity card or passport

Previous bills form the old owner

Gas

Town gas is generally available in towns and in the outskirts and is used for appliances and heating. Gas water heaters need to be serviced.

To get connected, you need to read the meter and contact the competent company. Costs depend on usage and bills are bi-monthly.

Documents needed:

Italian fiscal code

Identity card or passport

Details of the property

Meter registration number

Gas tanks can be generally found in the countryside and are stored at a safety distance in the garden. You can ask your commune or check internet to know details of the company who provides tanks and delivers gas in your area. Bottled gas is usually kept under the sink in the kitchen and is used for cookers and to produce hot water. They can be purchased at the supermarket or petrol station.

 

Waste collection and recycling

 In Italy, garbage system is different in many areas and is managed by the local town hall according to national laws. Many towns have opted for recycling services and domestic collection schemes. Periodical bills arrive directly at home. Contact your town hall to get guidelines for the local waste collection system.

Phones and Internet

Telecom Italia is the national supplier for landlines and internet. You can call the general number 187 to request a new telephone or internet contract and tel. number. After few days, a technician will visit your property to arrange for all connections.

Documents needed:

Italian fiscal code

Identity card or passport

Other available companies for both telephone and internet are Vodafone, Tre, Wind, Fastweb, Tiscali, etc. However, check first if those companies cover your area.

How to pay for utility bills

You can pay your bills at the postal office through pre-printed forms which usually arrive with the bills or per internet with credit card or bank transfer.

If you have any questions or want to hire our company to switch your utilities at your name, please contact us at info@italypropertyservice.it 

Energy Efficiency Certification for Italian properties

Energy Efficiency Certification for Italian properties

 

What is it?

The Energy Efficiency Certificate is a document that establishes the energy required by the property and needs to be issued by a qualified expert who will draw the certificate according to national as well as regional legislations and forward a copy to the town hall and to the regional offices. A property classified in the category ‘Class A’ needs the least energy, while category ‘Class G’ requires the most.

The law is valid for both residential and commercial buildings, except for some particular types of properties, as for example, if the property’s size is less than 25 sq m, if it is a ruin or registered as a non-habitable house (including cellars, garages etc..).

When is it required?

Property purchase: An Energy Efficiency Certificate is required when you purchase a property in Italy. In this case, the vendor generally submits this document to the notary who attaches is to the final deed. However, because it not mandatory that the certificate is produced at completion of the sale, the parties can agree that the buyer prepares the document at his own charges against a discount on the property purchase price.

Property renovations and newly built houses: For new homes and renovation projects, the owner needs to appoint an expert that will check the building site periodically to ensure that all works are being accurately executed with no negative impact on energy functioning. The technician is in charge to deliver a copy of the certificate to the property owner and to the town hall office.

Property rentals: as for newly built homes and renovation projects, the owner needs to point out an expert to check the property and carry out necessary controls to issue the certificate which needs to be submitted to the owner and to the town hall office.

Is the Certificate really a requirement?

The answer is yes. Certifying the energy performance of a property is intended to improve its performance and reward the ones that are most efficient. In fact, the more the home is considered energy-efficient, the most the house can benefit economically (cheaper maintenance costs, increase of value).

Duration

Once issued, an energy performance certificate is valid for 10 years. However, it needs to be updated when the owner carries out renovation works.

Ask the property manager for further information. Contact us at fabiana@italypropertyservice.it

 

off-plan investment Italy

Off-plan property purchase in Italy: how does it function?

About off-plan investments

Investing off-plan means the buyer purchases a home not yet built or under construction from a developer. Although buying a property off-plan incurs more risks than buying a property that has already been built (the main one is that the builder goes bankrupt and the buyer loses the down payments already paid), fortunately, legislation in Italy is able to protect buyers when doing such type of investments and give them peace of mind.

From a legal point of view and in order to guarantee the buyer for the down payments made prior to the transfer of ownership, off plan projects need to be covered by either a bank or insurance warranty during the construction phases.

Let us talk about the advantages of buying a property off-plan in Italy and checks to do before going ahead.

Advantages

1.     Purchase price:  When buying off-plan, the buyers has the advantage to purchase at the lowest possible price and achieve maximum returns on investment. As soon as development phases progress and units are sold, prices begin to rise as the value of the properties increase.

2.     Payment stages: Many developers in Italy offer beneficial payment schemes with down payments of between 15% and 40% of the property price.

3.     Buying the best units: When purchasing at the early stages of a complex construction, buyers have the possibility to choose the best units from a range of properties within the development.

4.     Personalize fixtures and colors: Off-plan projects offer purchaser the opporunity to choose materials and colors for internal doors, floor tiles etc. At this stage, it is likely that the buyer can still make some small changes on the internal layout. However, for those who need to get inspired, a show home is generally available for viewing at the site.

5.     Maximum returns: off-plan properties can increase significantly in value after they are constructed, making purchasing off-plan a financially sound decision.

Do your search before you go ahead

1.     Check the contracts: Off-plan contracts are drafted differently to a standard purchase contract in Italy. Before signing any documents, it is suggested to seek some advice from an expert. If you do not know any professionals in Italy, a property management company can help with this.

2.     Developers: It is important to carry out a background check of the construction company before going ahead. Start by visiting his website and check for past and present projects. Ask for a “visura camerale” (licence check) to obtain further information. Again, if you are not able to do it by yourself, it is suggested to hire a professional property caretaking company in Italy.

3.     Home warranty insurance: The construction company has the legal responsibility to provide the buyer with a home warranty insurance prior to sign any contracts. Make sure you receive the insurance before you go ahead with the property purchase.

During the building phases remember that…

1.     The preliminary contract of sale (second stage contract of the Italian property purchase procedures) needs to attach the approved plans and building permissions and be registered at the local Land Revenue.

2.     A ten-year insurance policy (paid and supplied by the builder) will be issued at the time of completion guaranteeing any visible or invisible building damages.

3.     At completion of the purchase, the constructor needs to provide the buyer with the necessary certifications for the electrical and plumbing systems

If you are interested in purchasing off-plan property, Italy Property Service can assist you with due diligence, legal advice and supervision of all related paperwork. Contact us at fabiana@italypropertyservice.it

Garden and landscaping Italy

Garden and land maintenance at your holiday property in Italy

Make your garden look nice all year round

Whether you have bought a property in Italy with a small garden or a huge size of land, it is important to maintain your outside space to a very high standard. The look of external areas make a big reflection on your home.

This is why, if you can’t do it yourself, it is essential to hire a specialized company and make sure it always looks its best. A qualified property management company can help you with this as he is able to suggest a multitude of garden maintenance services, ranging from simple to bespoke design projects.

Maintenance

Whether it’s cutting grass, trimming or planting flowers, the first step is to keep your garden well-maintained all year round therefore, it is essential that you discuss a tailor made plan with your property manager consequently to a property inspection.

He will be responsible that all works will be done on time throughout the months.

Landscaping

If you feel your garden looks empty and dull, consider to landscape and transform it into a luxuriant area.

If you can’t do it by yourself, your trusted property management company in Italy will be happy to carry out the job on your behalf and/or suggest the best tips how to dig up your garden, edge new beds, site plants, control weeds, spread mulch, water it, fertilise it, buy garden furniture and everything you need to know to keep it green and growing to its fullest potential.

Deck, patio, porch and veranda maintenance

If you have bought a property in Italy, it is most likely that it comes with some outside space, as you probably want to spend time with your loved ones outside, with a couple of wine glasses, a few steaks on the grill and why not, some nice music. To do so, remember that external decks, porches and veranda need adequate maintenance and knowledge. Therefore, make sure you hire qualified workers who use the right products and materials. Local professionals will carry out the renovation or maintenance according to your taste so you can rest assured that you will be enjoying your new porch or veranda for many years to come.

If you need further information about your property garden maintenance in Italy, please contact us at fabiana@italypropertyservice.it

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How to furnish your new holiday home in Italy? Your property manager will assist you!

Congrats for your new Italian home

Your dream has finally come true. Now it’s time to furnish and decorate the rooms.

Ok…but…where do we start? There are various options and much depend on budget and vision how you want things to look.

Spending your money the right way buying stuff in Italy while you live abroad is a huge task, especially if you do not understand the language and you do not know the best shops. A professional property manager will be happy to assist you and give important suggestions. According to your taste and budget, the property manager is able to propose the best furniture stores where you can get great items at the best price and/or for less. He/she will speak to the store managers, architects and interior designers on your behalf therefore, make sure he/she has understood your vision and full wish list. Also, the property manager will plan the delivery at your house and send you reports with pictures when the house is fully furnished and ready.

Free or second hand furniture?

If you consider free furniture, ask your property manager to check the local groups on Facebook and/or other socials. and newspaper advertisements. Same is for second hand stuff: he/she will suggest the stores in your area and go for an inspection.

Remember, furnish your Italian home with help of a property manager makes a big difference when you live abroad and/or need to stay within budget. Contact us for more details: info@italypropertyservice.it

Tip: in Italy, when buying a property, furniture (including kitchen) is usually not included in the asking price unless clearly stated in the adv. However, this can be part of negotiation. If you would like to have some furniture items left by the vendor, make sure it is written in the contract when putting an offer on the property.

 

 

prepare your home for sale

Decided to sell your Italian holiday home? If so, remember: presentation matters!

How to prepare your home for sale

Selling a house isn’t quite as easy as sticking up a ‘for sale’ sign therefore, after having focused on understanding the local market, learned how to get the best price and contacted the right agents, it is now time to make an effort to show your home at its best.

Why home presentation is so important

Buyers are coming to look around your property. Don’t let them imagine how good it could be: show them!

A first great impression is very important to rise the chance that buyers come back with an offer on your property. Here are some tips how to turn it into the best marketable home.

To do list

Make the mental decision to “let go” and concentrate on the fact that soon this house will no longer belong to you.

Focus on handing over keys and appliance warranties and instructions to the new owners.

De-personalize your property and create a mood. Make buyers imagine themselves living in your house. Remember that less furniture will make the rooms appear bigger and brighter.

Consider to remove certain pieces of each rooms and replace your personal pictures with photographs showcasing your garden in the summer. If you wish, you can attach cards to items and in rooms that provide additional information to the buyer.

Make your living room appear romantic by placing two champagne glasses on the table or near your fireplace. In the bedroom, put a breakfast tray on the bed containing a coffee cup, a napkin and a newspaper. Update your bathroom by clearing off all toiletries, medication and make up that seem to accumulate and hang up clean towels. Clear away everything on kitchen counters.

Think of doing some minor repairs such as replacement of cracked floor tiles, patch holes, fix doors that don’t close properly, paint the walls if necessary, replace burned-out light bulbs.

Wash all the fixtures inside and out. Wax floors, dust furniture, polish mirrors and air out. A new welcome mat for the front steps would be appreciated.

Externally, mow the lawn and make some maintenance at your garden. Plant flowers and update your front porch area or any access paths.

Quality pictures for advert

Take quality pictures of your property inside and outside, focusing on its features. To do so, it is strongly suggested to hire a professional photographer with an extensive experience in estate pictures.

Take the headache out of preparing your home for sale. We offer complete pre-sale preparation and consultancy on trade works. Contact us at fabiana@italypropertyservice.it

holiday home insurance Italy

Property insurance Italy

Is it really necessary to have a holiday home insurance in Italy?

Yes, property insurance in Italy is an important topic. Although not mandatory, it represents a safety in case of damages and it provides you with protection from risks you couldn’t afford to cover yourself.

Therefore, to protect your investment, when you have completed your house purchase, it is recommended to insure your property for nearly all major calamities including theft, fire, explosion, personal injury, vandalism and natural catastrophes.

There are two insurance options you can choose from

The first possibility is to insure your property in Italy with a specialised company in your homeland. The advantage is to have a policy written in your native language so it is easy to understand all documents and handle all the paperwork.

The second option is to purchase a policy with an Italian insurer. It is suggested to choose this option only if you have a good understanding of the Italian language and are able to read correctly all the wording of an insurance document.

If you are not fluent in Italian but wish to proceed with an Italian insurance, it will be necessary to hire someone who can speak the language.

Also, please remember that usually, Italian policies do not cover rental and thefts therefore, if your require these options, make sure that they are included when asking for a quote.

Furthermore, please bear in mind that if your home is covered by an Italian mortgage, it is mandatory to have an Italian premium.

How much does it cost?

Regarding costs, generally, Italian insurance companies are a bit less expensive than companies abroad and also, sometimes it could come to conflicts if for instance your property is insured with a foreign insurer and the building instead with an Italian provider.

However, costs depend on the area where the property is located, the contents and the size of the house. It is wise to ask for more than one company for an estimate so you can compare terms, coverage and reliability.

If you would like to discuss in more detail how you can protect your Italian holiday home please send us an email to: fabiana@italypropertyservice.it

 

 

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What to do when urgent property repairs are needed and you are not there

I am not at the property, so what should I do now? First thing: Do not panic!

If something gets damaged at your Italian property while you are away, getting urgent repairs can be difficult, especially if you decide to search for a plumber, an electrician or a locksmith by yourself on the internet and without knowing the Italian language.

If you have hired a property manager who supervises your property during your absence, it is probably him that calls to inform you about the problem, and it will be his duty to solve the issue in the shortest period of time.

Property management companies have extended networks of contacts they can call when emergencies arise and therefore, they are able to arrange an inspection with a professional within minutes.

But what if I do not have a property manager yet?

If you do not have your trusted property manager in Italy but were informed that your alarm, water, plumbing or heating system was seriously damaged, it is strongly recommended that you search for a property management company straightaway. We suggest to avoid to look for a plumber, an electrician or any professionals on the internet without any references and with no knowledge of their professional background in Italy.

In addition, remember that if you do not understand Italian fluently, there can be misunderstandings when explaining the problem f.i. over the phone which could cause additional delays.

A qualified property manager instead, is the one who can immediately deal with any emergency at your property and send you a written report after the repairs.

What can I do to avoid SOS repairs at my home?

Unfortunately, emergencies can always occur and it is difficult to predict them. However, you can reduce the risks by following two fundamental rules:

 

  1. keep the property in a good state of maintenance and cleanliness
  2. comply with all building, health and safety regulations that relate to the property.