Italy, the new property hotspot?
Italian property lawyer Massimo Migliorini tells all about property investments in Italy
Are you interested in overseas property investments? Are you confused about how to go about arranging the finer details or worried that youâll struggle with the language barrier? If so youâll be pleased to know that weâve got Italian property lawyer Massimo Migliorini in the studio to tell you all you need to know about buying your very own Mediterranean retreat or even starting a new life abroad.
Italy is now the number one place that us Brits want to move to, and itâs hardly surprising considering the culture, cuisine and beautiful fashion and design it has to offer. One enticing financial bonus of buying in Italy is that inheritance tax is non-existent making it the ultimate place to buy a nest egg for your children.
Massimo will also be telling us all about the best way to find out about everything the Italian property market has to offer without having to root out your passport. La Dolce Vita with Viva Italia festival comes to London on the 13th-16th of March and is a must-visit for anyone interested in overseas property investments. The event will be celebrating all aspects of Italian lifestyle and culture but will specifically offer you exclusive insight into buying a property abroad. Agencies, developers, architects restoration experts and lawyers will all be on hand to guide you through the Italian property process from start to finish. And you can even bid for your very own Tuscan Farmhouse restored by renowned architect Giorgetto Giugiaro.
If youâve always envied the sweet life why not tune in to our webchat and submit some questions for Massimo. Heâll be using all his legal expertise to help you make your Mediterranean dreams come true and no doubt heâll be able to recommend one or two property hotspots that simply cannot be missed.
Italian lawyer Massimo Migliorini joins us live on Wednesday 20th Feb at 12:45pm to discuss the Mediterranean lifestyle
For more information visit www.ladolcevitaevent.co.uk
H: Katy Pullinger, host
M: Massimo Migliorini
H: Hello and welcome to the Travel Show, I’m Katy Pullinger and I’m sure many of you watching have got a major interest in buying in Italy, and if you have I’m sure you’ve got a million questions to ask us, where do you start? How are you going to combat the language barrier? Where do you begin? Well thankfully we’re joined by Massimo Migliorini, thank you very much for joining us today, whose going to be answering all your questions – well as many of them as we can get through. Now on your screen there is a little box where you can put your question in, with your name of course so we can say hi, submit those questions and we will try and get through as many of them as possible. Now coming up on the 13-16th March there is of course La Dolce Vita festival which is going to be – well an extravaganza celebrating everything that is Italian, of course Italian culture does, you know affect so many of us in the UK, to what we eat, what we buy, the fashions and things that we wear. So of course if that sounds like something that you’d be interested in then you need to get online and start getting your tickets. We’ll tell you a little bit more about that in a little while. But Massimo, welcome to the show, thank you again for joining us. First of all where would somebody start if they were thinking about buying in Italy?
M: From his bank account!
H: Of course, the money!
M: The money, yes and we look at your budget and then have a look how much are you able to spend because many places in Italy have got different prices, for example if you go in the north in the lake area very close to Switzerland, very close to the mountains, everything is more expensive. If you go in Tuscany we are talking about an affordable price maybe where you can by a farmhouse for €2 million, but if you have just a small budget, and when I say a small budget I talk about €50,000, €70,000 you can buy a property in the south of Italy, maybe you can buy an apartment in an off-plan development in Calabria, or maybe you can buy a typical house in Perugia that is called toulan, is the typical house there and maybe you can spend just €50, 60,000 so it’s quite affordable
H: Exactly, that’s the kind of budget which I expect a lot of people are thinking about. Because they’re probably thinking a nice little apartment, for holidays, take your kids and not have to absolutely cost a fortune
M: Yes in fact let me say that properties are – people buying properties in the north of Italy are very rich people and they buy because they consider to move to Italy maybe in a few years when they’re going to retire from work, and -
M: And they’re available to spend - I don’t want to say all the – all the money they have, but ok quite a huge amount of money, in the region of a 3, 4, 500,000 Euros, ok I don’t want to say people who spend properties in Tuscany because maybe in Tuscany you can buy you know the bed and breakfast,
M: Commercial activity, where you can give hospitality for the – but otherwise yes, the majority of people buy in Italy, in the south of Italy because you can have the sea and you can have also a mountain, a wonderful scene in the south of Italy, and you can buy affordable prices yes
H: So the good thing is that you can cover all different areas that whether you’re retiring to move there or – or of course you just want a change of scenery, a lot of people you know look out the window – we were talking about this earlier – see the horrible weather in the UK and think you know what, I want sun all the time, so you might want to completely sell up and move there as well, so that’s an option too and of course buying for a holiday home
M: Yes. For example I had some clients in the past, in the past few months, maybe in the last year, some clients that can work over the internet, and they decided to move their residence to Italy, work over the internet from Italy, enjoy the food, enjoy the place, enjoy the sun and work from Italy so they can enjoy all together
H: Is it fairly easy there? It’s all very well saying you know it’s easy to buy, but where would you start? Do you go to – online or do you have to go to Italy and – you know – obviously you need to start rekeying where you might want to stay
M: You have many options – I think looking over the internet is quite – it could be quite dangerous because we know that pictures can be modified and not always what you see is what you get
M:Or if you have the chance to go and spend a few days just a short holiday in Italy
M: You can see the place, and maybe you can contact a few estate agents and they will look at some properties, and if you’re lucky you can also have the chance to see the property and to see also the inside of the property, and then you can consider – when you come back – you can consider if Italy is what you like
H: Sure but a good starting point would be to go to the Dolce Vita festival
H: Because there’s going to be loads of different representatives of housing and of course all the different culture throughout Italy so you can get a really good flavour or -
M: Yes there are many, there are many companies, many estate agents showing the development pictures of areas, pictures of houses, you can have a very good contact, but in any case if you have the chance to spend a few days in Italy I always suggest my clients -
H: Of course
M: Do go and see the property, for example I remember that a couple of years ago I had a client from the USA and over the internet she browsed the north and the south, the two islands, and she really wanted to buy a property in Italy, but we always found many problems when we went to carry out the survey by the surveyor by the gerometer we went to carry out the survey on the property that she chose over the internet, and we always had problems because if you don’t see the area, if you don’t – if you cannot see the property you don’t know if it is what you like
M: La Dolce Vita is a good chance to have a look at everything
H: Yes, because it’s all very well finding a house or a property that you like but if it’s not anywhere near the beach or not anywhere near shops or the things that you actually like to have around you, especially if you’ve got kids, you need to know that you’ve got something to keep them occupied around you
M: And also that it is a safe area
H: Yes, of course yes
M: You need to be sure that it is a safe area because in any case if you buy in a city, it’s not a safe area for kids so
H: So you might want to find an area where many people do also speak English, because it can be helpful. It’s also nice to try and learn some of the language because you know you’re making an effort
M: There is a difference of opinion about this because I have known many people that want to buy properties in Italy because they want to become involved in Italian lifestyle and they want to become part of the village, part of the community and then there are many clients, especially who is buying off plan in development in the south of Italy where everything is for foreign people, for British people
M: So you can find many British people, everyone speaking English and maybe when the development will be finished there will be likely a shopping centre with British food and with British goods but on the other hand there are especially clients are buying in the north of Italy in the area of the lakes, and people buying in Tuscany, they want to stay independent
M: They want to become part of Italian lifestyle and of the Italian community
H: Exactly. Now changing the subject just a little bit, we’ve got a question from Vicky from Cardiff who says she hears that you don’t have to pay inheritance tax in Italy. Is this true? Sounds too good to be true
M: It is true, not always, it depends because Italian people do not pay inheritance tax for inheritance lower than €I million and it’s a huge amount of money for Italy because on the account of probate what is called donazioni e successioni, that is the equivalent of the grant of probate. You don’t have to declare some sort of goods like for example what you have on a bank account, but you just declare what you have in a safe, real estate properties and what you have in bonds for example, and this is true. On the other hand if you are a UK citizen you have to consider that you’re always subject to UK legislation
M: And therefore you could be liable to pay inheritance tax in the UK
M: So what UK people always must take an eye on the UK legislation. This is true for in any transaction, it is also true for Capital Gain tax because you’re always able to pay what is the tax rate in UK
H: Right, ok. I hope that answers your question then Vicky. Cerys now wants to know “where are the key investment hotspots in Italy?” Now I’ve been hearing a lot about Lake Como recently because of course George Clooney lives there, or he stays there a lot doesn’t he?
M: Yes and we find that since George Clooney bought the property in the Laguna Como, prices have raised a lot. In any case it’s true. All the area in the north, the Lago de Garda, the Lago de Como and Lago Maggiore are very expensive areas, very nice because in any case you’re on a lake so you have a very – a very nicely climate so in winter time you’re very close to Switzerland so you can go there in just 10 / 15 minutes maybe?
M: Yes. And in summer time the weather is not too hot so you can enjoy the sun in summertime, you can enjoy nice climate in winter time, you can go skiing in Switzerland
M: Yes. Then there are places in Abruzzi, Marchee and Tuscany, the centre of Italy
M: Where you can have very nice countryside, very green and very nice countryside, and you are not far from the sea anyway, because some places in Tuscany, ok Tuscany is on the sea, part of Tuscany is on the sea but if you buy, for example in the countryside inside Pisa or Lucca you can be at the sea in just half an hour maybe, half an hour by car so you can -
M: Wonderful places, Forte de Marmi, very nice place
H: It’s good places to go to when you’ve got that choice at different times of year to be able to you know not be that far away -
H: From different activities and things
M: Exactly and then don’t forget that Tuscany is there – is the origin of Italy so you can have history, you can have Pisa for example
M: Florence, these cities are -
H: And it’s all -
M: From that point of view very nice
H: Sure and it’s all that culture as well that we all find so inviting about Italy which is of course what the Dolce Vita festival is all about. So we’ll show you a little clip from last year and perhaps it will get you inspired to go and have a look. Have a look at this
“Italy is one of those countries that’s famous for so many things. I think what we’re trying to bring is the whole Italian experience.”
“The British public want to live a little bit of La Dolce Vita. We want to slow down at times, we all really rush a lot and really lead busy lives.”
“La Dolce Vita is something in my blood”
“La Dolce Vita is about the soul of Italy”
“It’s Italy, it’s fashion, it’s cars, it’s food, it’s wine”
“The words themselves mean, you know the sweet life and that’s what Italy really can offer you”
“Everybody’s eating, eating and drinking wine”
“It’s as much a social event as anything else”
“All the atmosphere is what’s important”
“They’re famous for food and drink of course, but they’re famous for fashion and style. We’ve got some absolutely beautiful examples of fantastic fashion items, handbags, jewellery and again I think the important thing is these are things that you can’t see in the high street.”
“People who are into Italy, obviously one of the next stages is to actually then go and buy a property in Italy – there’s an incredible amount of property on offer her.”
“I’m supposedly off to Tuscany this year so some of the wine, food –“
“The aim was to give a day of being in Italy. I think we have achieved that.”
“And it’s been absolutely fantastic.”
“Great day, really enjoyed it.”
“It’s a perfect, perfect chance to experience Italian style in every aspect, and you’ve got it all under one roof.”
“This is Italy”
H: So as you can see the festival is about far more than just property, it’s about everything, the culture, the food, the fashion the people – and I tell you what, that’s made me hungry Massimo, how about you?
H: I want a pizza now
M: Why not – an Italian pizza
H: Exactly. Now tell me a bit – obviously you’ve been living in the UK. How different is it – how much does it compare really? What’s the differences that you find mainly?
M: I want to say that in Italy everything is more relaxed, especially compared to a city like London where one is running, always running, always running. In Italy you can do your job anyway but everything is more relaxed there, everything moves maybe slow, slower – sorry.
H: No no no don’t worry at all. I know exactly what you mean though the whole kind of just -
M: It’s our culture
H: The rat race as we call it here
M: You can enjoy the life, you can enjoy the life, the weather, the food, the – for example the main difference is that almost everywhere except very big cities like Como and Milano, but almost everywhere people used to have a proper lunch
M: Whereas in the UK you always – you just have a sandwich
H: You grab a sandwich and a meal deal
M: In Italy we have this tradition about food where we used ot meet our family round the table,
H: It’s social
M: All our friends around the table yes and for us eating is an occasion to socialise with people
M: We don’t use for example to spend a lot of time perhaps after work because after work we used to go home, and we used to spend time with our families and with our friends, but inside home, we enjoy our house
H: Which is really nice and I love the way that the families do have these sort of 6, 7 course meals where it’s just meal after meal and you know trying a little bit of this and a little bit of antipasti and pasta and a bit of this and a bit of that, and it’s so wonderful and like you said so sociable and lovely to be so sociable with your family because I think a lot of people in the UK -
M: Yes, especially -
H: Avoid them
M: Especially like Sunday or Christmas or Easter we used to have a proper starter ,a proper dish of pasta
M: And a pizza with some vegetables and a desert, it’s a complete meal that you can have - yes
H: Which is wonderful. Now we were talking about socialising with your family, we’ve actually had a lot of people asking us and specifically Rosa – hello Rosa. She says “I’ve always dreamed about moving to Italy with the kids.” Which areas would you recommend for bringing up her family?
M: I – ok I could suggest at the centre of Italy, Tuscany or Marche because they are very green. On the other hand they are quite expensive
H: IF you’ve got a big budget it’s good for your family
M: Because in any case if you want to move your family to Italy, I would suggest with kids I would suggest you to have a look in a village instead of a city because in a village everyone is more friendly, and life is safer, so yes a small village near the countryside even if it is just 20, 30 miles far away from the city, from a city, but ok it is just a village so where people are friendly and there is not so much traffic like in the city and everything is better, especially for kids
H: Great. And now going back to the Dolce Vita festival, what are your top tips for if you want to go in looking for property? Where should they start at the festival and will you be there yourself this year?
M: Yes I will be there in the weekend. I don’t know, I’m not sure if I will be there on Friday but certainly I will be there on Saturday and Sunday. If you are looking for a property and you want to have a good deal in La Dolce Vita don’t stop at the first estate agent you find, have a look at many estate agents.
H: Sure. Shop around
M: Shop around. Yes collect as much leaflet as you can and much more information you can and then compare it and don’t think that the cheaper offer is always the best
M: Because on -
H: There might be something hidden there?
M: Yes exactly, exactly and then in any case I don’t want to point – to act on your behalf, but in any case ask for some advice to a lawyer because the conveyancing procedure in Italy is so different form the UK, you can have so many tips where you can go and – I always suggest to ask for some advice to a lawyer, to an Italian lawyer so you can understand where something can go wrong
H: Ok well I’ll have to look out for you then at the event! Well Massimo thank you very much for joining us today and if you would like to go to the festival then you need to go online to ladolcevita.event.co.uk where you can buy your tickets. And that is of course from the 13th – 16th March and that’s at London’s Olympia. So if you want to get in there you better get in there quick because of course all that pizza is ready and waiting for you to snuffle it up. Thank you so much for joining us today and we’ll see you next time on the Travel Show, goodbye