Just finished buying a house - now the fun starts :)

08/30/2010 - 06:20

Hi there, just bought a house in Chieti, in a small village.  When I viewed the house I was accompanied by a Geometra who offered to do a survey for me.  I paid E300 for the survey which was in fact no more than about 15 words saying that the house was 'structurally sound' but needed some work doing to the roof which would be in the region of E6,000. After many months I finally got a 'quote' for the roof work and of course its not E6,000 but E9,250.  I've requested now to get other quotes and I think my geometra is annoyed with me and is thinking that I don't trust him.  I do kinda trust him but at the same time isn't it my right to go 'outside the village' and get independant quotes?  Its a small village and I can't help thinking that the geometra and his builder mate are working together to see how much they can squeeze out of the job.  Anybody had any experience of this sort of thing and any advice on what to do?   At the end of the day I have to live in that village one day and don't want to alienate the geometra and his builder that also live in the village. Thanks :)



"Its a small village and I can't help thinking that the geometra and his builder mate are working together to see how much they can squeeze out of the job." Yes you have the right to ask for more estimates.    However, if you are worried about 'upsetting the locals', just reject the estimate and ask the geometra to seek a lower one from the same builder.  [I got around a 50% reduction on a tiling estimate that way]

Ok, so now you have bought your house and you will soon find that your Geometra uses his 'pet' contractors to do the work. You can get other quotes and use those prices to beat down his contractors price. Of course you would need to know who to go to. Try the buying agent. They usually have a list of people who you could go to. Just copy the estimate you have been given, blank out the prices and send it to the other builders or get your agent to do it for you. They all work on a schedule of rates so all the contractors prices should be the same but they wont be. You can always just say to the Geometra that your budget for the work is E6K and you want that work done for that price and leave it to him to negotiate it but don't expect it to be negotiated to 6K but you might get a few thousand off. Also builders are crying out for work now. No-one is spending anything so the builders are now willing to travel and negotiate on costs. Don't be manipulated into paying a local what he wants because you might fall out with him, the Italians are uber cost conscious and other locals would not pay what they consider to be a high price. Everyone plays on the fact that foreigners can pay a premium but often we wont!! Good luck with it ....

Also be carefull of the Italian/English pricing system. Our very good Italian friend a few days ago, found out from someone he was hiring for some work,  that the rate was E12 per hour for Italians, but E15 for non Italian.

Why not wait until you get to know some local people and they get to know you?  Once you have made some friends in the village they may introduce you to other builders.  We didn't know where to start with finding a builder but after staying in the village for nearly a month chatting to everyone we made all the contacts we needed.  You can't be sure about the price they quote when they don't know you.

without suggesting that the original lower quote was truthful or the higher one a rip off there are extenuating circumstances that might actually effect how the price has changed, i know everyone has heard about L'Aquila and the quake but what seems to be still entirely hidden when people are buying property in Abruzzo that much of Chieti is zoned as class 1 seismic so involving far more stringent building regulations therefore costs... in the past much as the province of L'Aquila refused to accept its national seismic rating and implement the correct national planning regulations Chieti also followed the same path, since the earthquake however things have changed and maybe your roof under old regulations may well have been one price maybe just maybe with the fears now of technicians being held responsible for not implementing national building regs the quote has changed to a more realistic and true more importantly safe re construction the easiest way to check is to use this link and check how your comune is listed by the civil protection group.. obviously you should have been told about the risks associated with an area before buying but as far as i am aware there are very few estate agents that inform anyone even when asked..   http://www.protezionecivile.it/cms/attach/editor/Classificazione2006_perRegione.pdf hopefully you will find you are not in one of the zone 1 seismic areas... for definitions of seismic zones its easy to go on wiki and look up what the classification means in real terms re new roof works.. to dismantle a roof put in a ring put in wood beams air gapped and with insulation,re roof with at least original tiles used for the last layer should according to book list price cost around the 1700 euro per sq m..        

Thanks for all the great info guys - by the way I checked and I'm in a Seismic Zone 2 - so not the worst - they said that when the quake shook 'sono spostati un po lei lampada' so I don't think its in too bad shape.  I've got some other quotes coming in and also some people I've known a long time in Italy making the journey down to take a look.  This is a great forum by the way - if I can be of any help with anything please don't hesitate to let me know.  Cheers.