When buying a property in Italy everybody seems to want an old farmhouse to restore. It seems cheaper and people don't seem to worry about the repairs. Buying an old farmhouse of 300m² for say €150,000 that needs fully restoring will normally add another €200,000 to the price and quite often the bill increases if 'things' are discovered during the rebuild. What you end up with is a place that is to your own liking but not the cheap place in the sun that you expected. As a rough guide you need to allow between 750 and 1,000 euros per square metre for a modest restoration and more for a total rebuild using the materials salvaged from the demolished house. However, you can make a lot of money this way, as the example above could be worth €400,000 or more when finished.
Building and restorating a property is not easy if you don't know anybody around and if you don't speak the language. Therefore we can recommend an excellent team of experts in building works, who speak English too. We even have started working with a professional Dutch builder, Casa Unica Development, who is able to take over the entire building works for you.
Any structural work needs permission from the Comune (local council). Any permission must be submitted by a geometra (who will be the surveyor of the building works) and all structural work must include seismic protection (approved by an engineer) which all adds to the cost. Even the colour you paint the outside of your house must be approved by the authorities and only certain colours can be used. The project must be started within a year and finished within three years. As well as all the normal things like safety fencing, etc. you must display a board stating the project number, who is doing the work, who is responsible for safety, when it will be completed by and even who owns the property.
Remember also that it is likely to take quite some time to get through all the plans, permission and restoration of a property and all that time you will not be earning any income for holiday lets. During this time you will not be able to use it yourself either, of course. You may feel that it is a better idea to buy a property that has already been restored and be able to let it immediately.
You can sometimes live in the property and do it up yourself. But eating dust, no shower, cooking in your camper every night for weeks is not a perfect situation!. A good idea is to renovate an annexe, if there is one, and move into that to oversee the restoration of the main house.