Back in the country! Had a lovely time in Italy and have written an epic blog post. Alas, much of it is inane drivel (more so than usual!) and requires extensive editing before I put it up here. Meanwhile, listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvRCFsxZ9K8 a song called Tu Mi Porti Su (You Lift Me Up) by Giorgia featuring Jovanotti. Great little song and in fact, it’s on a good album. Good for the Italian practice!
Right, there should be more posts to follow in the next few days and I’ll tell you about the Italian trip.
Ciao and sogni d’oro!
Ciao i miei amici!
Greetings all… So. Let me tell you about this week. There has been vague bits of progress. Specifically:
- Estate agents. Estate Agents came around on Saturday to see the flat and she said “it is a lovely flat” (woohoo!). She also said I’d be able to rent it out for more than I thought I could. Obviously that might not materialise in practice but it’s nice to have that as a starting point. I’m still not convinced going through an Estate Agent is the way to go! I think I’d still want to see the tenants and check references myself and I have a couple of example contracts so I think I could do it the same as/if not better than an Estate Agent that doesn’t have as much of a vested interested in my property. Going forward if I’m not in the country yes, it might be the way forward but actually it’s quite a big chunk of my monthly income that would go on this “letting” component. If there was some kind of come-back if they get in lame tenants that don’t pay, then I’d consider it but no, there’s not. The Estate Agent said they could just do the “management component” which might be worthwhile. The advertising component might be an issue but I could try www.gumtree.com and www.moveflat.com. If I don’t have any success then I suppose I could then go through an Estate Agent. Yes, think that will be my plan!
- Bathroom – the dreaded bathroom, yes! I’m getting an electrician in tonight to give me a quote on getting a ventilation fan and a heated radiator into the bathroom in order to make it rentable. <Later update – Oh how naive I am – why am I constantly surprised? I keep thinking, and I know this is ridiculous, I keep thinking that these tradesmen will turn up when they say they will. Fancy! Are there ANY Tradesmen that turn up a) at all, b) on time and/or c) that let you know that they’re late or just not turning up?! Any? Far from getting quotes from a bunch of businesses, at this rate, I would settle for any person that turned up with a spanner>.
- Spring (Summer?!) cleaning – I’ve been going through all my belongings asking myself the question “could I leave this in the flat and if not, would I take it with me to Italy?” which is good for de-cluttering! I think by the end of it, I’ll have a list of things that I will need to ebay next year before I move.
- Italy – Flying out to Perugia on Thursday so this will be my last update for a week or so. Might do a vague bit of investigating around the local area but in general, I could just do with some time off! I can’t wait 🙂
Right, off to walk Angus the Boring Dog. The electrician has missed his chance.
Not much to report – I’ve added a couple of pages, one based on the last blog and the other includes some research on healthcare in Italy.
Other news – had a great time camping and it only bucketed down for half an hour 🙂
Righto – shattered so signing out for now.
Well a slow week on the Italy front I’m afraid (though feels like a busy week in relation to everything else!).
I’ve been reading “Buying a House in Italy” by Gordon Neale (thanks Mum & Dad :-)). It’s the “best-selling and most comprehensive guide to buying property in Italy”. It’s very informative!
It tells you about the regions in Italy (there are 20 regions – 95 provinces), financial stuff, renting, types of property, how to buy, what to expect from the culture and I think one of the most helpful bits for me at the moment is just in terms of telling you what you need to do when you go over. Italy is known for its bureaucracy so it’s useful just to get an idea of what paperwork needs to be done and when. Just in terms of moving over (if you’re from the UK), it looks like there are 3 “things” needed:
- Codice Fiscale. This is a tax identity number and needs to be obtained at the local tax office (ufficio della imposte dirette). It seems to be essential for getting an Autocertificazione (see below).
- Autocertificazione (di residenza) – proof of residency appears to be important for the Italians. The bureaucracy surrounding getting this proof seems to have reduced so apparently this is all that’s required.
- Carta d’Identita – which you need to get from your local “comune”. All Italians need to have one of these (and other permanent residents).
There are other things you need if you’re a non EU citizen. And in fact, that list might not be right anymore – the book was written in 2007. I’m going to get some information from the Italian Embassy over here to double check on what I would need to do in terms of moving out there.
The book says it’s a good idea to:
- Register with your embassy/consulate just in terms of advice and information on diplomatic or passport issues or in emergencies.
- Look into currency exchange so you don’t get stung with paying high exchange rates on every purchase. Apparently there’s a company www.currenciesdirect.com that deals with that kind of thing. I have yet to really understand the implications of not going through a company like this. I’m intending to check out the website in a bit of detail and email them.
- Get an Italian bank account (but generally only transfer what you need over).
- Tell Inland Revenue that you’re moving (apparently they’ll do something tax wise so that you don’t get taxed twice).
- Get an offshore bank account (apparently you can do this if you’re not resident in the UK) which means that you don’t have to pay tax on your savings.
Otherwise – I’m afraid there’s been no progress. Off camping this weekend so I suspect it’ll be another quiet week too but endeavouring to follow up on things like contacting the Italian embassy over here, getting my bathroom sorted for renting and getting an estate agent around to talk to me about renting my flat out.
Please send me good weather vibes and I’ll be back soon 🙂
It’s all been a bit quiet on the Italy front the last few days. I think I said a while back that I had some rates back from 3 of the estate agents that I’d emailed about letting out the flat so I’ve just put them into a spreadsheet and they’re pretty much of a muchness. None will offer individual room lettings – they’ll rent out the full flat only. They offer pretty much:
- “Let only” (around 10%). For the amount of money, let only doesn’t feel like a very good deal at all. The Estate Agents will interview potential tenants, run all the credit checks, take references and try and get some people in the first place, but this doesn’t seem to be too onerous and there doesn’t seem to be any comeback with the Estate Agent if they select you some waste of space scoundrels who don’t pay. I don’t think I want to pay that much for what feels like just avoiding a bit of hassle.
- “Let & Rent Collection” (around 12%). Same issues as with the above only they charge even more for accepting the money?! There must be some kind of hidden benefit here – I can’t understand why you’d pay extra for the money to go into somebody else’s bank account first?! OR perhaps it covers “sending the heavies around”. In which case, perhaps that’s worthwhile?! I’ll have to see what they say about that one.
- “Fully Managed” (around 15% / 17%). This seems like it would be a good idea – I wont be in the country to be fixing things if there are problems but it’s still does seem an awful lot of money for the amount of money I’ll be getting in the first place – almost £3000 a year in some cases. I’m considering whether there’s anyone else I know that would be willing to manage the property but for less than I’d pay an estate agent. I wouldn’t want to give a friend the responsibility of finding tenants – that’s probably too much to expect of anyone, but just in terms of maintenance I think wouldn’t be too difficult. I’ve got a couple of people I can think of – I’ll broach the subject with them.
What else? On my quest to sort out the flat before I start renting it out – I’ve been following up with the tradesmen who replied to my “mybuilder.com” advert. It’s been frustrating – a couple didn’t reply, one guy didn’t phone me back when he was supposed to and the other guy didn’t turn up at all. I think there’s a niche in the market for decent tradesmen.
Still, it might have been in my interest. A friend came around to have a look at the bathroom and reckons I need to put in an electric extractor fan to prevent the steam from building up and meaning I have to keep painting it all the time (I say that – what I mean to say is, meaning I have to keep looking at it flaking away all the time and chastising myself for not painting it). It’ll be a bit of a hassle – running the electricity through some kind of conduit from the bathroom light switch to the outside wall (hence perhaps why it’s best to do that before skimming it). And whilst I’ve got the electrician in, I’ve made an executive decision to sort out the radiator which hasn’t been connected to anything remotely hot since I’ve been in the flat so I’m looking at some kind of radiator which runs of electricity and central heating.
A week or two back, I made the difficult decision to start reading enjoyable books quit book club. It’s been a weight off, I can tell you. So, in celebration, I’m reading a book that a friend gave me for my birthday – a book by Tim Parks called “Italian Neighbours – An Englishman in Verona” about a couple that move to Italy and some of the quirks/nuances that they come across. It’s well written, funny and insightful. It clearly would never have made the “1001 Books to read before you die” list J.
Italian lesson on Monday went va bene (ok) but I have a lot of homework. In fact, on that note, I’m going to get started.