The Beautiful Dream of Italian Property

A Guide for Foreign Buyers

Italian Property Checklist

For those looking to make the dream of Italian property ownership a reality, buying and renovating property in Italy can be an enticing prospect. However, Italian property comes with its own set of benefits and challenges, more so for foreigner buyers. In this article we explore the following:

  • Finding value in Italy
  • The purchase process
  • Renovate without speaking Italian
  • Finding reliable contractors
  • Allure of the Tuscan Lifestyle
  • Importance of location
  • Legalities of extended stays

Italian property
Tuscany property
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Italy street houses

Finding Value in Italy

Italy’s diverse real estate landscape offers many investment opportunities for foreign buyers seeking both financial returns and a slice of the Italian lifestyle. Different regions in Italy can vary significantly in terms of property prices, rental yields and potential for appreciation.

Understanding local dynamics is crucial for making informed investment decisions. While renowned tourist destinations may offer stable returns, exploring emerging areas can reveal hidden gems. Look for regions with upcoming infrastructure projects, improved connectivity or gentrification trends. These areas offer excellent value as they undergo positive transformations.

Finding a good property investment value in Italy involves a combination of careful research, local expertise and a strategic approach. Considering factors such as market dynamics, lifestyle preferences and the potential for renovation are the keys to unlocking the full potential of Italian real estate investments.

Compared to North America and large metropolitan markets, Italy can offer a better value and quality of life. A combination of traditional values, healthy & balanced lifestyle, quality products and an affordable cost of living make Italy an attractive proposition.

The Purchase Process

Buying a property in Italy involves several steps that may differ from those in other countries. First and foremost, it’s crucial to hire a reputable local real estate agent who can guide you through the process. The initial stages include identifying suitable properties, negotiating the price and making an offer. Once an agreement is reached, a preliminary contract (compromesso) is signed. This is followed by signing the final deed (atto notarile) at a notary’s office. A codice fiscale (Italian tax code) should be obtained to complete the purchase.

Financing for foreign buyers can also be different than in one’s home country. Generally, it is more difficult for foreigners to secure Italian bank loans than locals earning an Italian income. Italian banks will require foreign buyers to have a minimum 40% down payment. Fortunately, the cost of many properties (and therefor the down-payment) can be very affordable. Finally, a property must be deemed “habitable” for loan approval.

Cash is king and the above-mentioned information becomes a moot point when paying in Euros. An Italian bank account will eventually be necessary to pay utilities and taxes but is not a requirement to buy property. In Italy, the Notary (notario) plays an important role in the purchase process. An Italian Notary is a trusted legal intermediary who holds your money in escrow until a sale is finalized.

Renovate Without Speaking Italian

Renovation projects in a foreign country are challenging, especially when language barriers exist. Navigating permits, dealing with local authorities and communicating with contractors can be daunting without fluency in Italian. Foreign buyers, who are unaware of local market dynamics are all too often susceptible to price-gouging. To mitigate these issues, hiring a bilingual project manager or working closely with a local architect can streamline communication and ensure the project stays on track. We cannot stress enough the importance of local knowledge. 

Borgo Boutique Properties provides consulting & project management services to help buyers safely navigate through the purchase and renovation process. Local knowledge, personal experience and a team of local professionals facilitate every aspect of project & property management.

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Our Italian Property Journey

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Finding Reliable Contractors

One of the critical challenges faced by foreign property owners is finding reliable and trustworthy home renovation contractors. The importance of thorough research and recommendations cannot be overstated. Checking references, visiting completed projects and obtaining multiple quotes are essential steps in ensuring that the chosen contractor is reputable and capable of delivering the desired results.

The difficulties we faced upon starting our Italian real-estate journey, primarily related to finding honest and reliable contractors. Price gouging, sub-standard work and lack of accountability are commonly cited issues faced by foreigners. This is the most significant barrier to entry encountered by foreign buyers. Finding a solution to this problem was reason for starting Borgo Boutique property management services. The motto We’ve done the hard work, so you don’t have to’, is an honest statement founded on experience.

Benefits of the Tuscan Lifestyle

Tuscany is one of Italy’s most popular destinations for visitors and foreign buyers. For those seeking a change of pace, the Tuscan lifestyle offers a unique blend of tranquility, culture and natural beauty. The slower pace of life, exquisite cuisine and warm hospitality create an inviting atmosphere for those looking to escape the hustle and issues of urban living. The picturesque landscapes of rolling hills, vineyards and historic towns contribute to an idyllic and healthy living experience. Cities such Florence, Siena and Pisa are mesmerizing and worth visiting. However, truly authentic experiences & value can be found in the many lesser-known, small towns of Tuscany. The hilltop town of Suvereto is one such example.

Importance of Location in Italian Property

Location is paramount when considering a property investment in Italy. Proximity to amenities, transportation links and the overall appeal of the area can significantly impact a property’s value and potential for appreciation. Coastal regions, historical cities and renowned tourist destinations often make sound investment choices. A good property should offer a balance of lifestyle and financial return. Italy’s largest online real estate listing platforms, Immobiliare & Idealista are a good place to start your search.

Time Limits & Legalities of Extended Stays

Visitors to Italy are allowed to stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. For those looking to stay longer, a long-stay visa or a residence permit is required. The application process involves demonstrating financial stability, securing accommodation, and obtaining health insurance. Adhering to these legal requirements is crucial for a seamless and extended stay in the country. Visit the Government of Italy website for up-to-date information.


Buying and renovating property in Italy as a foreigner can be a rewarding yet complex venture. Navigating challenges, from the purchasing process to language barriers and contractor selection, requires careful planning and local expertise. The allure of the Tuscan lifestyle and the potential for a wise property investment make the journey worthwhile for those seeking a slice of la dolce vita.

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