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Investing in Property in Italy

Rent a property in Italy
Rent a property in Italy

INVESTING IN PROPERTY

Buying a property in Italy is typically part of a plan to eventually retire there. It is much easier to make this decision when you’re younger and still have a steady income and many years until retirement.

It can be a great investment to buy a property now and rent it for most of the year, except for your few yearly visits, until you are ready to move there.

Or you could also just buy property to rent it as an investment without planning to eventually live there full-time, which could also make you a lot of money.

You’re much better off renting to tourists to pay for your fees and mortgage rather than keeping the home empty most of the year while you’re away.

Plenty of tourists come to Italy every year, and they need a place to stay. Rest assured  that there’s a high demand for rentals!

B&B STYLE

B&B

Okay, let’s back track a bit. You might be thinking, “I want to buy a place because I DO want to move there.”

Maybe your plan is to buy a place and live there but you’re too scared to make the commitment or worried that you won’t be able to financially support it.

However, a great solution could be to start a bed and breakfast hotel. It’s actually very popular in Italy to rent out rooms in large properties.

You’ll just need to get a license from the local comune and also to get a certification saying your home is suitable to live in, called the certificato di abitabilità (literally “certificate of habitability”).

If you’re friendly, enjoy meeting new people, and want to have a closer interaction with guests staying at your property, this could be a great option for you.

Offering an English speaking live-in host can be an incredible advantage in marketing your place. These places are called agriturismo or B&B so make sure you use the right terminology when writing your property postings.

PROPERTY MANAGERS

You’ve decided to buy. Now, how do you manage the property from abroad? Luckily, hiring a property manager can solve your problems.

This agency will manage the property for you, greet guests, act as a 24 hour emergency service, solve all hands-on issues, and also help you with advertising your property.

Typically these agencies have a variety of properties and a returning client base, meaning you are essentially two steps ahead without having to do anything on your own.

It can be difficult to trust another person to run your business for you but it also makes everything much simpler.

Sanremo, Liguria, Italy Investment

AGENCY AND PROPERTY MANAGERS

Tourists are more likely to trust reputable rental agencies instead of an online ad from a stranger. These agencies also spend a lot of money and time ensuring that their website is search engine optimized and easy to find.

Plus, clients know that if they go with an agency, they are guaranteed help if something goes wrong.

If it’s 2 in the morning on the other side of the world and a guest calls you and says “a pipe burst, the apartment is flooded” or “the washer broke and my clothes are locked inside” there’s little you could do for them in that moment, but someone from the rental agency could help them immediately.

That being said, getting into a rental agency is no small feat. Agencies have very strict codes and restrictions about the properties they allow in their portfolio.

You may not qualify as the standards are very high. However, if you do, the property managers typically take between 15–30% of the rent.

SELF-MANAGED RENTALS

If you’re set on doing things on your own, then it’ll be more work but you will be able to keep your profits for yourself. If you’re going to handle it alone, especially from abroad, keep in mind these few things.

You should definitely hire someone in the area to help with greeting guests and cleaning in between visitors. You can easily hire a cleaning service.

However, it’s important to also hire someone you trust to hand out the keys of your property to visitors and to help them if any problems arise. You may have to invest a bit in advertising as well, since you’ll be starting from zero with no real base of customers.

As time goes on and you receive positive reviews online or clients begin telling their friends about their great experience, it should become easier to find guests.

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy Investment
Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy *

THE MARKET FOR INVESTMENT

Of course there will be competition in this business. There are plenty of hotels, hostels, and people renting out their properties.

It’s good to have reasonable expectations. Usually you can expect to make about 5%–15% of the property value every year in rentals.

This accounts for costs like advertising or a property manager, cleaning, etc. If you decide to buy in a city, it’s best to focus on smaller properties, such as two bedroom apartments.

When moving further and further out into the countrysides, bigger properties make better investments.

Sovana, Tuscany, Italy Investment
Sovana, Maremma, Tuscany, Italy *

Whether you decide to set up a B&B, go through an agency, or manage your property alone, it should be a great investment.

The return on investment is high and the market remains fairly stable in Italy. It’s safer to buy in Italy than many other places, since tourism makes it easy to keep the property rented all year round.

Lakeside Properties in Italy

Orta Lake San Giulio Island
Orta Lake San Giulio Island

While the Mediterranean peninsula of Italy is surrounded by 7,500 kilometers of seaside, there are also magnificent lakeside views as well. The majestic serenity of some lakes is complimented by the dramatic landscapes of others. Whether you fancy a sand lined lagoon, a fresh water sanctuary in the mountains, or a pond surrounded by the forest, Italy has it. The lakeside is more peaceful than the sea and can make for a great holiday home or even a place to live in all year.

Lake, Iseo, Lombardy, Italy Lakeside
Lake, Iseo, Lombardy, Italy *

The main lake district is in the north of Italy, consisting of Lake Como, Lake Garda, and Lake Maggiore. However, there are more lakes throughout the country. We will dive into the northern lake district first and then move on to the other regions. While all of Italy’s coasts are beautiful, the lake coasts are unique and offer a very different feeling compared to the sea. Many areas have restrictions on building so the nature and greenery around your home are protected. The real estate market is very safe in Italy with many buyers and plenty of demand for property. This keeps the prices stable and makes it easy to sell your house if you ever want to. There are very few spikes in the real estate market.

THE NORTHERN LAKES

The lakes of the north are close to big northern Italian cities like Milan so there is plenty of money to spend on stable infrastructure and tourist attractions. Wealthy northern Italian families search for second homes here so properties are expensive as the demand is high. Still, you can find some good deals if you look around carefully. This area is well connected to other cities and countries. All of the lakes are close to Milan, Italy’s biggest and most international city, which has incredible connections to the rest of Europe. Italians enjoy these waterside towns as a break from the city life. This is a wealthy area with a high quality of life.

LAKE COMO

Lake Como is one of the most well known lakes of Italy. It’s famous for many things, especially its beauty, but also because the world famous actor, George Clooney, has a property here. Some believe this is the most romantic and beautiful of all the Italian lakes but each one has its own charm.

Lake, Como, Lombardy, Italy Lakeside
Lake, Como, Lombardy, Italy *

This lake can feel quite magical and surreal. With a view of the Alps and misty fogs, it can look like a scene out of an old romantic painting. Since the lake is quite narrow, each coast offers a view of another coastal town on the lake. Many famous people own properties here and many towns are sophisticated and elegant to cater to them. Houses here can be quite pricey so be prepared to spend a pretty penny.

LAKE GARDA

This lake is Italy’s largest and most visited and it’s situated about 80 miles east of Lake Como. It’s a fantastic place for windsurfing and sailing due to strong northern winds and it becomes very crowded during the summer months. Lake Garda has mountainous terrain for hiking and sightseeing in the north, which gets flatter and flatter as you move down the coastline. You can find villas and apartments here, many with shared swimming pools. However, villas also often have private amenities. Garda is very family friendly as many Italians bring their children here. However, Garda probably is the most expensive of all the lakes for buying property.

Lake, Garda, Lombardy, Italy Lakeside
Lake, Garda, Lombardy, Italy *

LAKE MAGGIORE

To the west of Lake Como we find Lake Maggiore. This lake also offers great views and is breathtaking. The east side of the lake is better for purchasing property and is less crowded than the west. A 1-bedroom apartment can cost about €120,000 while a 2-bedroom place starts from €180,000. Stresa, on the western side, is the most expensive area. If you’re purchasing a property with the intention of letting it, you will probably have bids for renting. If the property is in a convenient spot for skiing, you will be able to rent it more easily in the winter.

Isola, Bella, Lombardy, Italy Lakeside
Isola, Bella, Lombardy, Italy *

CENTRAL ITALIAN LAKESIDE

While foreigners may be most familiar with the lakes of the North, there are dozens of lakes of varying sizes all over the country. There are some beautiful lakes in central Italy as well, especially in the regions of Tuscany and Umbria, and near the capital city of Rome. The central regions may not be as metropolitan and wealthy as the north, but they offer the best wines and also have breathtaking landscapes. They are cheaper than the northern lakes and have a warmer weather.

LAKE BOLSENA & LAKE BRACCIANO

Lake Bolsena is the 5th largest lake in Italy and is said to be the cleanest lake in Europe. To the south of Bolsena, is Lake Bracciano. They are worth visiting together as they are quite close. As Lake Bolsena is close to Rome, it embodies much of the same southern, ancient Roman charm. Italian visitors and foreigners both love to buy and rent properties on this lake for their holidays. This area has building restrictions however, so the number of properties is limited. You can get a small cottage starting from around €70,000.

Bolsena Castle, lakeside

Bolsena Castle *

LAKE TRASIMENO

The fourth largest lake in Italy is Lake Trasimeno. It’s known for its warm and shallow waters. Apartments here start from around €70,000. Larger apartments can reach up to €150,000 if they have a balcony or larger garden area. Most properties have been restored and are very beautiful and modern. The lakeside is adorned with forests, vineyards, sandy beaches, and fields of sunflowers. It’s truly a picturesque site!

Lake Trasimeno, Umbria, Italy lakeside
Lake Trasimeno, Umbria, Italy *

LAKESIDE PRICING

Pricing in the Italian market is at a bit of a stand still, as owners are not in a hurry to sell their properties. You have plenty of time to shop around and pick the property you like best before buying. Overall, this is a great time to buy and the market is very safe and secure. Italy’s lakeside properties are a great investment!

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