Your search to buy property

Your dream to buy

Maybe you have enjoyed one or more holidays in one of the houses and apartments that SpecialUmbria offers to rent. Or, you are on the look for a property to buy in Italy for some time.  You may have seen all kinds of properties for sale during your stay in Umbria. You probably have fallen in love with the region of Umbria and you have decided to buy ‘something’. Or even, you have found a suitable place you would like to but you would like to really understand what you can expect before you really buy.

SpecialUmbria is available to give you the helping hand. We have gone through the entire experience ourselves and since 2008 we have successfully guided many of our clients. We see it as our aim to help you finding your dream property, assisting you to understand all the important aspects when buying and guiding you smoothly through the entire acquisition process.

SpecialUmbria as real estate agent

Since early 2010 SpecialUmbria is a certified real estate agent registered at the Chamber of Commerce in Perugia (PG), Italy. Always within the framework of our philosophy (see also ‘About us’ on this website) we stand for optimal service to guide you through the entire acquisition process. We guarantee extensive communication and explanation of every detail regarding the property, making also the whole buying process a smooth and pleasant experience. We are not only your estate agent, but also your guide on more (touristic) information in the region, being one of the major players in the high end rental market in Umbria since 2008.

The profession of  real estate agent / mediator in Italy is strictly regulated by law. The agent is entitled to mediate the sale/acquisition of real estate both on behalf of the owner as well as on behalf of the buyer. Also, the agent may work for only one the parties, like only the seller or only the buyer. In any case agents are required to be registered and must clearly inform any of the parties involved about their role and point out all duties and rights. Only once an agent has presented a specific property to you as a potential buyer and you will eventually buy this property, this agent (and only this agent!) is entitled to receive commission from the buyer, once the buyer has been notified of the signed acceptance by the seller of the offer to purchase signed by the buyer. In all other cases, you are not required to pay any fee unless explicitly agreed upfront with the agent involved for any specific work.

SpecialUmbria always works along these principles. At the start of any working relationship SpecialUmbria explains everything what it can and will do and will give upfront clear quotes of its fees so that a buyer can fully decide in freedom. Once a buyer has selected a property to purchase, a proper collaboration agreement written in English for the mediation of the acquisition of the property will be signed by the buyer and SpecialUmbria.

SpecialUmbria as search agent

We are happy to work with you as your trusted search agent. This may be at any stage of your property search, from the very beginning or even when you have already identified the object of your choice and would need advice and assistance for the next steps of buying.

We would start with an intensive intake (telephone call or meeting) to discuss your ideas, wishes and needs. We will define a clear list of search criteria and its priorities. We will not only look for the house or apartment of your dreams in our own portfolio of objects and projects for sale but also within our network of trusted colleague estate agents. During every further step of the acquisition process from visiting potential houses and apartments (on your behalf or together with you), the negotiation process as well as the buying itself, we will guide and facilitate you.

Your search criteria

Before we start searching together we believe it’s fundamental to define your search criteria as interested buyer as clearly as possible. This list will enable us to find you the best property. In our experience it would be important to consider the following questions/items:  

  • How will you use the property: as a private residence, as a business investment (acquiring via a company), as a rental object or a mix?
  • Location (is key!):
    • how should the accessibility be from abroad (distance from international airports, availability of motorways, length and quality of local access roads)
    • vicinity of direct neighbors (extent of required privacy)
    • how does the town planning of the direct environment look like (urbanization plans)
    • position of the house/apartment (altitude and specific land characteristics (hill side, plain land, general weather conditions))
  • The buildings itself: type of object (see below), required minimum and maximum dimensions (sqm), internal lay out, eventual extra building allowance;
  • The private land: required minimum and maximum dimensions (sqm), type of land (garden, wood, farmland, olive grove, vineyards, etc.);
  • Availability of external services: proximity of villages/large cities (shops, restaurants, specific sport facilities, et cetera);
  • Availability of internal services: supply of gas, water (mains / private well), sewage, electricity, internet and mobile telephone reception;

Together with you we will prepare a full list of your search criteria and define its priorities.

Type of object

Obviously there are many differences when buying an apartment, an existing old house (or even a ruin) or just a piece of buildable land (eventually with a turn-key building project on it). Some important considerations for each type are:

  • Free standing or apartment
    • Level of maintenance: a free standing villa with private swimming pool and garden will cost annually obviously more than an apartment in a townhouse; SpecialUmbria will assist you to obtain a clear overview of  the annual maintenance cost.
    • Participation in a condominium: sometimes you can divide the maintenance cost of shared services with other co-owners if you buy in a complex (e.g. common swimming pool or elevator/staircases in a townhouse); SpecialUmbria will get you an idea of your annual contribution to these cost.
    • Participation in consortium: often in the Italian country side, local white roads are to be maintained by any confining property owner who makes use of these roads. In some cases the maintenance of these roads is organized in a consortium; SpecialUmbria will help you to understand how this consortium works and what related costs are.
  • Existing object

If you consider buying an existing, older house you would like to be sure that the property is technically in order and doesn’t contain any hidden defects of which you must be aware before buying. Beside the owners obligation to properly inform both the agent and a potential seller of his or her property for sale, you as a potential buyer has the right to investigate the (technical) status of the property. Although it is not mandatory, you may want to hire a technician (architect or engineer) who can conduct a full technical survey. The outcome of this survey may be a suspending condition in the offer to purchase (see also ‘steps when buying’ on this website) that you may want to formulate to the seller. In other words, a negative outcome may resolve your offer and leave you free to refrain from buying. 

  • Buildable land / Off plan project

Constructing your own property yourself in Italy should be a fun experience. Through our project management services (see also ‘project management’ under ‘property services’ on this website) we can guide you through every necessary step. In some cases you can acquire from the seller only the buildable land where you are free to choose your own builder, eventually with assistance of SpecialUmbria. In other cases, a builder/developer may offer a turn-key off plan project where (s)he not only sells the buildable land but also the construction of a house. In most cases you are free to choose the position, layout and design of the house yourself.

In nearly all cases we advise our buyers to acquire first the buildable land at the notary while signing a separate building contract with the builder where the construction itself is paid in stages along the building process. In the preliminary sales agreement in this case you may put the obtaining of the building permission as a suspending condition (see also ‘steps when buying’ on this website). In that case you are certain that the Council will allow you to build the design you want, before you buy. 

Timing of buying

Often timing is crucial in the buying process. One may think of the following circumstances: 

  • Market conditions

Despite the general economic decline since 2008 real estate prices in Umbria have not seen major drops. Central Italy has always been considered as a relative safe investment haven with a good regulated real estate sector, also from a town planning point of view. Prices have however definitely been adjusted in the past years which makes it attractive to look for a suitable property. 

  • Tax implications

Sometimes sellers are willing to consider interesting selling prices because they themselves can benefit, at the right moment though, from special tax facilities which are not always available to him or her. 

  • Rented for short terms

In some cases a property for sale is also rented for short terms. SpecialUmbria always makes precise arrangements with both the owner and the buyer respecting the interests of all parties involved. Any (future) rental income that is certain through realized bookings may even be an interesting negotiation factor between seller and buyer.

Total evaluation of property investment

SpecialUmbria is not only your guide in finding the right property, but will also consult you on the entire investment to make:

  • total cost estimation investment / annual maintenance

We may prepare you a full overview of all the cost involved, both for the investment itself as well as once owning your property (including all average annual maintenance cost and eventual rental projections). 

  • eventual wish for third party financing

SpecialUmbria may guide you to a (local) bank in its network that may support you to partially finance your acquisition, e.g. through a mortgage. Please bear in mind that you may even want to put the successful outcome of your finance request as a suspending condition in the offer to purchase or preliminary sales agreement (see also ‘steps when buying’ on this website). In this case, in the event that you may not obtain a mortgage, you are free to resolve the contract and refrain from buying. 

Other important aspects

Some other relevant aspects when buying property in Italy are: 

  • Identity of the seller

The simple fact if the seller is a private person or a business entity (company) may make a big difference in terms of taxes to pay. If you buy from a company the seller will have to issue an invoice on buildable land or buildings which is subject to VAT, a higher tax % than the regular stamp duties. SpecialUmbria will assist you in having a clear view on all these cost before you buy. 

  • Pre-emption rights neighboring farmers

If you buy in the country side of Italy you may be confronted with pre-emption rights from neighbouring farmers. If one of these farmers can proof that he or she needs the land you intend to buy for the expansion of his or her farming business he or she may exercise a pre-emption right where he or she is allowed to buy at the same price as you are willing to. In these cases SpecialUmbria will have added a suspending condition on pre-emption rights in the offer to purchase or preliminary sales agreement. By doing so, you are absolutely certain that no one can and will exercise the right to buy, before you do yourself.

  • Active and passive right of way

It is of utmost importance to understand any necessary right of way. You may need an active right of way to cross somebody else’s land to access your future property yourself or you may need to grant the passive right of way to anyone else to cross your land to reach his or her own property. SpecialUmbria will assist you to have these rights clear and explicitly defined in the final deed of sale.

If you are interested in working with us on your property search we are happy to discuss your wishes and needs. Feel free to contact us without any obligations. For an overview of the properties for sale in our portfolio click here.