General help required please, property, work and paperwork

Russell Image
10/01/2012 - 14:18

Hello thereI am hoping to move to Italy in early 2013, lock, stock and barrel. My first question relates to property. Is it generally straight forward to purchase or are there any particular "be aware of" etcWork wise, I am happy to do seasonal work etc, be it in a hotel, campsite or similar. I am hoping to use my motorhome as a place to stay until things become more permanent. Finally, how do I obtain a plastic card Codice Fiscale? I have one on a piece of paper from the Italian Embassy in London, and this was useful when purchasing a SIM card amongst other things. I do speak a bit of Italian and I have traveled a fair bit in Italy with the motorhome. My preference to settle is Lake Garda south/south west. Any initial suggestions or pointers please?With thanksRussell



HI Russell and welcome I can help you on your little CF plastic don't actually need it you are only ever asked for your number - however like you I wanted mine and it took a couple of calls to the London embassy (mid morning/mid afternoon seems to work best) and it will arrive in the post. As far as property goes there are lots of buyer a search on here to get you started.  Lots of near misses and war stories and of course some very easy purchases.  I've had one easy purchase and one nightmare (the nightmare was buying agricultural land where a neighbour exerised his right of first refusal otherwise known as prelazione and we had to sell him what we had bought) - even though we had bought through a solicitor - very very long story which ultimately has worked out for the best.   So first things first make sure you buy through a reputable estate agent and for bolt and braces get everything checked by a reputable lawyer and do YOUR homework - checking on here and asking questions is a great first step. There are also lots of good books out there that can guide you through the process.  You may strike lucky and get to know the locals who may have something to sell directly to you - if you do this have someone who can hold your hand through the process.  One of the many challenges in italy is that often lots of relatives own "shares" in a property and they all need to want to sell - can take a huge amount of patience. Once you have decided on your property and agreed a price - the seller will draw up a compromesso (bill of sale) at which stage you pay a % of the sale price up front (usually 10%) this is non refundable (unless you specify terms in the compromesso eg subject to mortgage approval etc) if your seller pulls out they have to pay you double the price.  Once this is signed the seller takes everythign to the notaio who completes all the relevant searches and then you turn up and sign all the documents together with the seller in front of the notaio - if you don't speak/understand a decent level of italian you are required by italian law to bring along someone to translate for you.  Sounds very strightforward which it can be............ Hope that helps for starters Good luck and keep asking the questions 

It's certainly true that looking for and buying a house in Italy can result in serious tension headaches and sleepless nights. La Dolcevita has made some sensible suggestions on how you can try to avoid some of those. My main suggestion is that you try to avoid falling in love with a house and so prevent all the problems that an irrational fixation can cause. It's highly likely that you could be very happy in loads of different houses in Italy, but agents will – naturally – try to make you believe that the property they're showing you is the One And Only and that you must put in a binding offer immediately or else you'll lose it and be forever doomed to living in a second-best house. But all that actually should be low on your list of priorities and concerns. From what you say, it seems that you will not have a certain income from a pension or some other source when you move to Italy, but that you will rather be trying to make a living here. There are people on this forum who have managed to do this, but it is far from easy. Indeed, I suspect that the ones who have succeeded in creating a self-supporting life for themselves in Italy would have probably been successful no matter where they were living. In fact, I think it's very likely they would be doing much better – in financial terms, anyway – if they were living in Britain or the USA. In other words, I strongly suspect that they have succeeded here in spite of living and working in Italy. It's no secret that there are serious structural problems with the Italian economy, although the area you're looking at (the North) is doing much better than other parts of the country. Still, given the current financial climate, that's more a matter of "relatively better" rather than "good by European standards". While I have no experience of living in Veneto, I strongly suspect that family and social connections matter a great deal when one is looking for work there, although possibly to some lesser degree than they do in the more southerly regions. Unless you have family connections here which you haven't mentioned, then I suspect you're going to find making a new life for yourself in Italy very challenging. It's very difficult for Italian young people to find work that allows them to support themselves and leave the family home, even though they have the benefits of speaking Italian as a native and Italian educational qualifications as well as extensive family and social networks. While I think it's possible that, if you're very determined, presentable and personable, you might be able to get some sort of cash-in-hand job in the touristy areas of Veneto during the summer season, I also think you would be unwise to assume that everything will just fall in to place once you've sorted out a place to live. But maybe you're the sort who enjoys bungee jumping without being totally certain that the elastic is securely attached at both ends. If so, then go ahead and start looking for a house you can afford to buy here. However, be aware that the social safety net in Italy is largely made up of family and friends rather than official government types doing good works on behalf of the taxpayer. You should assume that, in the event nothing works out and you're left with no job, nothing to eat, no money to pay the electric bill and no fuel in your camper to get home, you're going to have to sort out your problems on your own. If you're determined to do what you say, then I'd suggest that your first priority must be to learn to speak Italian at a fairly competent level. A lot of young people do speak some sort of English here, but you would be wise to assume that nobody who will be important to you in your search for a home and work will do so. Al

Do what you say in the beginning, and try some seasonal work in Bars or Hotels etc and live in your Camper Van. Try it out first a see if the Italian Life suits you, before looking at a more permanent strategy. Some people mange easily other are not so fortunate, but there is no harm in giving it a shot. Good Luck or In bocca al lupo as we say here.

Yes, you would be very wise to forget about buying a house for the time being. If you can arrange to live here in your camper for a few months, that would probably be a highly educational experience. While it may only confirm that Italy is where you want to live for the indefinite future, I'm sure you appreciate that being permanently resident anywhere is a very different thing to being there on holiday. One other issue which I meant to mention in my previous is that some people who don't live in Italy seem to think that the cost of living here is low compared to Britain. It isn't. While you will doubtless find that some things are a lot cheaper (obvious ones being booze, in-season fresh fruit and veg and eating out), you'll also discover that many things cost as much as they do in Britain and some cost quite a bit more. One important difference is the cost of energy, since the cost of heating a house can be much more in the cold months than you'd pay in Britain. This is something that's of no concern to someone on holiday here, but it becomes very important if you're trying to get through a chilly winter in some comfort and with all your fingers and toes intact. Well, okay, that's an exaggeration: you're unlikely to suffer frostbite while camped by the southern shores of Lake Garda. But it can get bloody cold in the Po basin during winter and the legendary fogs don't make things any more comfortable. If, as happened last winter, a huge mass of Siberian cold creeps south and sits on Italy for weeks on end, you'll probably begin to wonder if your memories of what life in summer is like on the shores of Lake Garda were all just a dream. Al

Welcome, Russell. I agree with the advice given. Italy, particularly in the current economic climate, can be challenging; however, some people will overcome the difficulties and enjoy their Italian dream.You will have to find out just by yourself. In any case, take your time and do not burn the bridges.  Best wishes!