'Can't find a cheap house habitable worth living in!'

Amba Image
11/13/2009 - 09:32

We have a large four/five bedroom house for sale with great business potential as B&B. It has a self catering appartment, three reception rooms, large kitchen plus a small kitchen/breakfast room on the middle floor ideal part for letting, two large vaulted ceiling rooms in the basement which also has great busniess potentail. Two garages, and a garden/art room, large terrace plus a small garden and veggie patch with seated area under growing grapes. There are five out houses one used for wood storage and another for tools. There is plenty of room for chickens!! Although this property is situated in a small hamlet, called Casali, the house is surrounded by great views of the rolling hillside and the pretty medieval hilltop village Force less than a mile away with all amenities, Post office, bank, bakery, supermarket, cafes and a restaurant. Force is known for its copper pot making. The hamlet Casali has only a small amount of houses with only one small family living permanently, they are friendly and offer fresh eggs, fruit and veg in season. The easy access tarmac road ends at the hamlet It’s a peaceful countryside life without being too isolated The house is on three floors approx 350sqm with large kitchen and vaulted room with grotto and utility room on the ground floor, second floor with the main entrance under the arch has entrance room, living, and then there is a small kitchen (breakfast room), which goes onto the terrace, bathroom and double bedroom. This part is great for self- catering or B&B, for extra income. From the entrance room there are stairs to the top floor that has three bedrooms, bathroom, a linen cupboard, and a large T.V -play room. The house is structurally sound, good roof, electrics and plumbing. It has a large gas bottle at the bottom of the garden for the hot water and central heating. You have duel fuel option with open fires heating water and the central heating system. It is old system but all maintained and in working order, you may wish to modernise if desired. The house is in some need of decorating and modernising. But this is a great place to put your own stamp on it with lots of potential.  In the garden there are grapes, fig tree, apricot tree, and walnut tree. Although in a hamlet it has small amount of land where you can walk round the whole of the property.    


I'm afraid in this market you will be very lucky indeed to achieve anything close to the price you are asking. I spent yesterday looking at dozens of Marche agents. Large price reductions and special offers are becoming widespread.  For obvious reasons, many of them are British owned. It's an extremely competitive selling environment. The most prevalent purchasers in S Marche are the Dutch at the moment, who are very attentive to the bottom line!  

  Thanks for the comments but we are forever hopeful, its a great house and for the price its a bargain! We had this house on the market a few years ago and every one who came liked it and we had a few offers but decided we couldn't find anything as good for the price, so we stayed. But now we are moving, and know there is some one out there who would love to live here!

In reply to by Amba

 "forever hopeful" is a good attitude to have. However the word "bargain" is subjective to the time. A few years ago it may well have been a "bargain". But things have changed. (Remember  house prices are not only set by demand but the availability of credit and both these have taken a big hit) For example I saw a cute independent restored stone house with 10 acres of land closeish  to you for considerably less than yours, its started out over 300,000 e. The owners who are returning to UK have decided they want to move on with their lives not sit and hope. Their price is tantalising and in the end they may well make up their losses and grab a "bargain", or something considerably off 07 prices in the UK, as the uk market looks set to slump more next year. (wages static, RPI inflation coming from trashed sterling, taxes up, public sector cull etc, its a no brainer really after the election). I understand what John is saying about patience, but it all depends if you are calm and happy to wait, as opposed to really wanting to move on. If It s its the latter and you want to return to UK, I would definitely look at the wider price picture. In answer to capo, Unlike Ancona, the price per square metre is almost irrelevant here, In fact if anything purchasers at that price point will be worried about heating! 

 things are slow...well very slow... but you are right time will eventually lead to a buyer..  its basically how Italians set their property prices..    we recently had a couple of phone calls re the Dolce Vita show in London...  its at a new venue this year .. despite being offered a pretty good deal we have turned it down... because it doesn't seem to us at least as if there will be a serious recovered market by then...  and it really doesn't seem like it will be worth the hassle ... its hard work for all setting up a stand ... and transporting the stuff up there.. you however might well be able to do a bit of private marketing in such a place.. handouts and local knowledge of your property for sale... not suggesting you do it inside the building... anyway its in Islington next year... and if  you have not sold by then and are looking to kick start your sale and do a bit of innovative marketing could be well worth a trip

  We are not moving back to the UK. YOu may say things have and will slump more but where i come from in the Uk  it hasn't slumped very much at all, I still can not afford to live there. This house is big but we  heat it with our own wood and doesn't cost as much as most of a lot smaller houses I know. And as we are comfortable here we are willing to wait. This property has 570sqm so is well worth the money. As for the cute house with loads of unmanagebable acres of land that I  have found so many english people struggle with It a lot smaller with no business potential. Anyway who says we wnat UK buyers. Thanks for your comments.Plus we are open to Offers!!!

 If you are comfortable where you are and staying in Italy I agree you're in the perfect situation to wait. Take your point about land, its not always what its cracked up to be, and if you dont want uk buyers thats your prerogative too. (Personally i wouldn't care what nationality they were). Good luck.

Just seen your second post pianopiano. Not as bearish as you are but clearly in the last few years many people have overpaid for property particularly in the "cheaper" regions. With the global downturn its not surprising that these are the ones that fall out of bed at least in euro terms. All I was saying that despite everything, a price of €540 m2 for a habitable house in Le Marche looks good value to me. I genuinely wish the family well.

  I really do find your comments helpful. I know people are feeling a bit sheepess about buying in Europe at this time.  I have seen so many houses that need a lot renovating for this price.  We have lived here 8 years now and know how many people have struggled and paid over the top for plumbing, builders, communes, geo, etc etc At least with this property there really is nothing to worry about just your own deco and modernizing if needed. Thanks again.

There are obviously many factors that determine a property's value. On the continent the starting point is always price per m2. This is then compared to the price in that area, region etc. Adjusted for condition, closeness to amenities etc. But price per m2 is always the dominant consideration. In the UK this never seems to figure despite all the major UK building companies using cost per metre2 (or at least cost per foot2) as their main construction guideline. (building costs for example are currently around  £950 m2  for a "good" build in outer London but land costs will add 5-10 times to this amount).  In Europe it is normal to quote an inclusive figure (ie including the land value). For example, in Berlin, it is still possible to buy at around €650m2. In Bulgaria, at the speculative peak,  apartments were being sold for upwards of €1,500 m2. Now €550-€650 is often the quoted value if you can find a buyer. Italy is no different. Price per m2 is the main driver.  Property prices are probably something like 8% -12% off their peak. Value will always come through but I really believe that the value (and hence buyers), unless sterling recovers significantly, will not be found from the UK. Anyway, here it is, my opinion.

  I take you point about the market. Interesting figures. This property is 570m2 so if I am selling it at 190'000e Then they are getting a good price yah! Its advertised international sooo......there has got to be someone out there!! 

  In total the property is 570. Thats whats on the deeds anyway but the inside living space is a approx 350m2.I think its a good price. It does need some work doing to its but not scary expensive stuff, just tiding up a bit, which we are trying to do but with the kids and Dave working its very slow.

I spoke to my estate agent friends this week (in Comunanza, Marche) and they have been pretty busy since the end of August. Properties under about 200,000 are going well. She quoted this figure because generally the buyers don't need finance for these "cheaper" properties. I don't think it is correct to say that the price for all properties are falling and the number of sales are low. Amba's price IMHO is good. It's just a case of patience.The properties that are not selling are the big, restored "villas with pools" that previously appealed to British buyers. You just need to trawl the agents sites to see how many are for sale - lots.Italians make up the highest propportion of purchasers so it would be mad to ignore that market. We had lots of Italian viewers (mostly from out of the area, looking for a holiday home) and very few foreigners. My husband's ex has also just sold her house, as have some friends who have had their house for sale for over 2 years, so the markets is definitely picking up.We were very pro-active in marketing the house (well, ruin really). I created a website, we posted links to it everywhere we could find, we put up posters with tear off strips in our shop and of course we used an agent. We're doing the same with the house we live in: houses.sibillinicycling.com I'll happily do the same for anyone else struggling to sell - just PM me.So, if you are sitting in a villa with pool you are trying to sell for three quarters of  a million euro (or more) and are aiming firmly at foreign buyers you will probably have a long wait. If you have a reasonably priced property that represents good value to the Italian market too then hang on in there.Just my two penneth worth.

In reply to by Penny

  Thats good news that people are selling, and agents are busy.  There has been a few people come and look at the house for sale near us. so something is happening.I have put the house on subito, any other advise would be great.I would appreciate any help, you can email me info at ambamand@yahoo.co.uk

Hi Cap Boi,The calculations work like this: 70sqm x €1300 per sqm = €91,000 for the main house110 sqm (of annexe) x €650 per sqm (50% of price per sqm as it is officially resgistered as cantina space to finish) = €71,500Plus €12,500 for the fact it has a garden plus a terrace and is detached (almost impossible to find detached townhouses with gardens in Amandola). And of course it's beautiful - but that's just our opinion and you'd have to see for yourself So that's how we get to a €175,000 asking price. You can check the per sqm prices for any place here: http://www.agenziaterritorio.it/site.php?id=2158  It makes a lot more sense to me to value places on the square meterage. Obviously if you get in the lucky position of having a couple of people both wanting the property then they can always outbid each other but I can't really imagine that happening here so much. We're not leaving Marche either BTW, just moving.  

 Looks great Penny. (Parking?) Square metre pricing does make sense but there are times when the rule book and dogma goes out of the window. Particularly in sleepy rural areas away from schools, commercial areas etc. New build flats in the village we live in, the first ever, were fought over tooth and nail, as you would expect prices varied according to sqm. Same village several capacious old buildings for sale have been empty for years, sqm value a tiny fraction. Why? Well apart from the scary restoration costs its not how many modern Italian want to live anymore, or at least its not as popular as modern condos. consequently its not worth the candle or risk for developers who will also struggle to get permissions for terraces etc,  They certainly dont fit the criteria for N Europeans. So despite what the Agencia territorio says for sqm values for this village, ( imagine their data is based on sale prices for previous years -would be interested to know - this would explain why even in depopulating villages the SQM valuation look healthy!) it would be difficult to give the old buildings away, some of them a liability, and will probably one day have to be restored by the comune as they are undermining other buildings. Personally I will always prefer the "location x3" mantra, ie. Amandola / detached / garden will resonate more to me than a low SQM value. Interesting that Avio is busy selling, especially at this time of year, as the two agents up the road from you Penny say its deathly quiet. I quite agree about the middle of the market being the one thats suffering most. I would definitely recommend is it Amanda to really market hard on the B and B potential, walkers maybe? If the space can be utilised like that it would appeal to people who need an income ........and the mountains are close by. 

Thanks CapoBoi. I agree Amanda - it seems very good value!Hi PianoPiano,No, parking is always hard to come by here in the "centro storico" and we are very much in the centre. There are parking bays at the bottom of our road and you can at least drive down our street (which is a dead end) in a Panda or small vehicle unlike many streets. That's about as good as it gets unless you are very fortunate. To be honest we are always forgetting where we have parked the car, we use it so little! One of the advantages of being in a town that has all the required facilities.Where are you living?The figures on the Agenzia delle Entrate site are from the first 6 months of this year and as there is no incentive to underdeclare any more, you have to assume they are fairly accurate nowadays - unlike when we bought 6 or 7 years ago when underdeclaration was rife.Avio's business has always been the domestic market with foreign buyers very much an added bonus so maybe they are not feeling the pinch quite as much as someone like Monica for example who has always marketed to the foreign market very successfully. I bought my first house from her (this is my second and just waiting to sell, to buy my third!) but it must be tough for agents in that position at the moment.There is not a lot of unrestored property/abandoned property in Amandola town centre but I do know what you mean. We've been to lots of places only poplulated by some pensioners and lots of cats (!) that have tons of property "to restore" that look like they never will be. It was one of my criteria to live in a town that had a thriving population and wasn't depopulating.Your comment about Italians wanting modern apartments is certainly true but what was very interesting was the number of Italian viewers we got for my husband's old convent (which is totally to restore). They were much more keen to restore themselves because they could ensure that the renovation was done to comply with earthquake regulations unlike buying an already renovated property where they just did not know. Must be a result of the l'Aquila earthquake. We would have sold it last year to an Italian family who wanted to open a martial arts centre (it has tons of volume registered that can be recovered) but they couldn't get the finance. All of the viewers were from outside of the area (the majority from Rome).We've had some enquiries for the house in Amandola from Italians with children who want some outside space for them to play in. They are all from Amandola. You need to also want the extra cantina/annex space otherwise 175k is a lot for 70sqm of house!  

In reply to by Penny

Point taken about your local agent Penny, (always loathe to mention any names on here!) which I hadnt factored in.  It's not so much the accuracy of the Agencia Territorio that i doubt but the method it uses,  Dividing sale price by SQM might work for a thriving town like amandola, but take a  depopulating village, many have no recorded sales in 6 month periods, do they base todays data (sqm value) on say one sale that happened in say 07 or even before? very hit and miss if thats the method. ( Is there an outside wide shot of your house for context? The buildings above those beautiful cantina must be absolutely enormous, whats your liability?).  Dont be too sure about it being expensive for size. Its strange, although I've restored many houses in both uk and italy, sick of it now , to the point where I dont care a fig about volume. Outside space is important, but I would be very happy to pay to live in 70sqm if it felt right! And I know from talking to other old gits, that I'm not the only one who thinks this way!

Amanda,don't forget Corriere Annunci. You can advertise online at: http://www.corriereannunci.it/index.php We got a good response from this and always sell our stuff using them rather than eBay. I always put a link to our website with all the photos of the house on.We tried eBay for the house we just sold but got no response at all so I don't really rate it and you have to pay.Good Luck!

That's a good point. I wonder how they do work it out if there have been no/few sales. Probably just as you say!Yes, the palazzo above the cantinas is pretty big but luckily it  is renovated and has been inhabited by the same families for a long time. They keep it in tip top condition and it has had a new roof in the last 10 years. Our liability is worked out by square meterage - i.e. if the palazzo had to have a new roof for example, each owner pays in proportion to the square meterage they own. Pretty fair I suppose. It's one reason why the practically the first question out of an Italian buyers mouth is usually "when was the roof replaced"!!We've both restored several houses (in the UK & here) too and we keep saying we've got one more left in us. Then we're definitely not selling!I must admit I will miss the fact that our house is always toasty warm and has small bills. We rarely have the central heating on and if we do I leave it on 15 degrees to take the chill off downstairs (the bedroom and bathroom are downstairs). The stufa is plenty and we like having a real fire.Two houses were being done up in our street so we couldn't get any shots of the outside without scaffolding or building materials in them. If it's sunny tommorow I might take some. I've only got an old one from when I bought it and it's not too attractive but it does demonstrate you can drive a car to the door!