Flat, ceilings and radiators (what a fascinating post this sounds!)


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.



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