Hi there. We are interested in buying a property in the Lucca area, but have been told it may be subject to a 'change of use' tax, as it used to be a farmhouse. It would have to be changed in law to a residence.
Sorry Ugo, I don't understand your meaning with this quote. We are not upset or agitated, we just can't afford it!
Thank you so much everyone for your kind and helpful responses. We did go out to view the property and it was fascinating. We had a renovation expert with us who talked us through all that would need doing. Much of it we could not have known from the photos. In short, there were more major things that needed doing than we could possibly afford. For example, the whole garden would need fencing due to severe wild boar damage; the garden would need draining as it was waterlogged; one entire floor needed to be removed; the ground floor needed to be removed and replaced with a floating floor; new sewage system, rewiring, plumbing...The list just got longer and longer. We got the builder's costs in and it would have cost three times as much as the property itself. Minus taxes and fees. It is just unaffordable. And not worth the stress, when there are other properties in better shape. All in, I imagine it would cost around £250k on top of the price (admittedly low) of the property itself. We were also put off by the beaurocracy involved in the process, with the thought of paying for all the planning permissions, translation etc etc and not really being able to do much of the project ourselves - which was half the attraction. To be honest, we have been put off looking to buy in Italy. I don't think we will persue it. Without a strong grasp of the language and an understanding of the processes involved, we got the feeling it would be nothing but stressful, as described by Babs. It was a real eye--opener to see the issues home owners face over there. Not being able to work on a property ourselves is a big culture shock. All together, the problems far outweighed the benefit for us, and we will probably look at long term renting in future if we want to spend extended periods there. It's a shame, but it has not dulled our love of Italy or the wonderful people. We had a great few days exploring and visited Lucca twice. Thanks again for all your helpful advice.
Many thanks for this link. Much appreciated.
We understood it is hard to get an Italian mortgage and better to pay in cash if possible - so we are using savings and maybe borrowing from parents. Our bank will not lend money to buy houses abroad or we would indeed be financing through them. We could re-mortgage our house here, but it is not considered a very wise thing to do. My husband will look again at financing I am sure as he has an excellent job and good income for this country and repaying a mortgage would not be difficult. But it needs figures first and this was the purpose of the trip. We need to know how much we will need to ask for. I was hoping just to pay for the house and the roof, and then complete the rest of the work later.Until we have figures, we cannot budget or approach a finance company, but from what I learn here it may well be out of our reach for us. Up front costs would be too high. If we spread the cost we could do it, but not all at once. This is as I understand from my husband.
Thank you Ugo. At the moment we do not even have the measurements of the property, but when we do I will look at the likely costs you describe.I think it will be too expensive for us, even though the property is a low price and we budgeted for the roof. If It was in the UK we could save costs easily, but it sounds like in Italy it is not so easy to do things yourself to save money and that there is much paperwork to be completed before every action.I do understand that every country has different rules and that they can be more expensive in some countries than others. And wealthy people will spend more, so it is beneficial to have wealthy people come to live there. We are looking for a simple life, and to spread the costs of the renovation over a number of years as money becomes available. It does not sound like we will be able to do this, as I understand from your answers. We must have a bathroom immediately, to have it 'habitable', so must connect electricity immediately, water installed immediately, have heating installed immediately. We will not be able to afford this as well as the roof. We have tickets booked and a hotel and a viewing. Now I think it will be a waste of time, but at least we can be in beautiful Italy for dinner and see the countryside while we are there. I feel very sad now, but at least we tried.
Modicasa, this is a very good question. On the estate agent’s website I think it is described as ‘rustico’ ‘with land’. The plot is fairly large, but mostly just grass lawn. There is a small olive grove. There is also the metado, and I wondered if it had been used as a productive farm in years gone by. But it has not been occupied for many decades. The impression we were given was that the change would have to be made to make it ‘urbano’. And the cost would be 8-10k. As others have pointed out, there are problems with this, but the info came via a third party who was phoning on our behalf, so I am not 100% sure of the exact conversation.Our renovator is going to look at the building for us and will answer questions when we meet him. He can ask the agent for the visura then. I just hope the agent has useful information with him. Communication is tricky, but hopefully our renovator will help us from now on. I will ask for testimonials for him too.We are not hugely wealthy people and would not require high quality bathroom and kitchen fittings. We live very simply. Maybe this project is best left to the millionaires. I am much less hopeful, having read the answers here, that we will be able to achieve our dream.
Thank you Steve! Yes, we imagine that a new roof will cost more than the property! We have been warned that building work is very expensive in Italy!
We are not planning to do specialised work like electrics or even plumbing, although I plumbed in my own bathroom here in the UK, with the help of my clever Father. It was not hard.Here anyone can do anything they want to their own property, except gas installation I think. So I just find it strange that the local council has so much control over you. DIY is almost a religion here! If you want to build an extension you need planning permission, but that is all. People are free to decorate or rewire or do their own plumbing as much as they want. In the the property there are already walls up, already wiring. It would just need updating. I propose only to paint walls, repair plaster, repair brickwork and install a kitchen, clean tiles, mend window frames, replace shutters. Nothing complex or dangerous! I think I will take advice from the professional in Italy from here on. Thanks for your help Ugo.
You are not allowed to plaster or paint or fit a sink in your own homes in Italy without permission??!!! That’s insane!!! I’m beginning to think this is a very bad idea all round...
Thank you for the tip off! It sounds like an absolute minefield, from start to finish! Everyone keeps telling me we are mad.There is a local builder who has an English speaking employee who we know is good, by word of mouth. We will be sure to get more than one quote and add 20% minimum. I think as long as we can get the roof done we should be ok for a bit. We can camp in the garden and do DIY whenever we get out there. That way we can do bigger jobs as the money becomes available. We won't be spending very many weeks there per year, until my husband retires, so we will have plenty of time to get things done.But the major work of getting the place watertight cannot wait and we need to address it immediately. The roof will be the decider, along with this land use tax. It is very much in the balance whether we proceed. But it is a beauty...