• Your specialist Lake Garda Real Estate Agency


Renovating a home in Italy - all you need to know.

Spring has arrived prompting us to write about a question we encounter frequently, our foreign buyers who are considering buying a property which requires some renovations or upgrades to make it more energy efficient or better suit their needs. Here a few tips to make your home renovation exercise easier.

Before you start working on any home renovation project, it is important to first understand that building regulations and costs regarding this exercise are not the same in all regions and that they change over time. It is therefore advisable to carefully check the current building regulations and costs of renovation in your region before you begin the work.
• Even if you visit Italy periodically and speak some Italian, you may not speak Italian fluently enough to find suitable builders or subcontractors, making it difficult to know where to start. In this case, we will be happy to recommend reputable local tradesmen and professionals such as Architetto (Architects) and surveyors, locally known as Geometra, that will be able to provide you with advice and written quotes. Always ask for references, or to see examples of their work.

• A reputable architect or surveyor will provide you with all the important details regarding your renovation project.
– He or she will give you the best information on costs and materials and will further assist you running and supervising the entire project.
– The architect or surveyor will also draw up plans for the entire project according to your requirements.
– He or she will also provide you with accurate estimates of costs and duration of the renovation works.
– The professional is further well informed of the charges levied by the Town Council, or “comune”, for renovation projects.

Work can sometimes costs more than you expect. This is because some problems are not revealed until work is started. Often items are forgotten from the budget, or you change your mind and alter the design or specification. Always have a contingency of 10-­‐20% to cover unforeseen costs and fully expect to spend it. Make sure your plans are as detailed as possible; prepare your budget by listing all tasks, materials required, and who is going to do the work. Don’t forget to allow for skips, scaffold hire, plant hire, and tools. Estimate costs by look at similar projects in the area. 

Before you start on your home renovation works, be informed that you will be required to apply for approval to modify or renovate an existing building. The permission for this kind of work, just like in other construction projects, is granted by the Local Council to either the owner of the home or the person in charge of the work such as an Architect or surveyor. However, renovations that are considered as routine maintenance do not necessarily require permission from the council and are simply the home owner’s responsibility.
Keep in mind that you may encounter  more restrictions in historically protected town centres. Although at times frustrating, these rules are designed to protect and enhance the historic urban fabric and the original town.
It is very important to sign a contract with your chosen builder before the work begins. The contract should entail all the costs involved, the work schedule, and terms of payment for the intended work. 
As far as costs are concerned, keep in mind that in Italy you are normally charged for renovation works on a per square metre rate which varies depending on the region. Time is another important consideration but generally most renovation works usually take between 6 months and a year depending on factors such the property’s size and the magnitude of the project. There are also a few building tax benefits on work and materials required to renovate a home in Italy, your Geometra or Architect will be best placed to advise you on this.