I have been somewhat quiet on the blogging front as, for the last 11 months, we have been working flat out on a large restoration project. The house was the first one mentioned in this article. Someone saw it on my blog, bought it and we started work straight away, It was a wonderful project to work on, and it is the first project where I have been given virtual carte blanche on the interiors and furnishings, which I loved. The process of restoring the house was quite an adventure and we found all sorts of weird and wonderful things. Work went quite quickly but we got caught up in horrendous Italian red tape at the end, when it came to launching the house for holiday rentals.
However, a good three months later than we hoped for the house is now ready to rent. Over the months we have had groups of people ‘testing’ the house for us and received rave reviews. Due to the unfortunate timing we still have August and September availability, offered at discounted prices. The house is fabulous, ideal for families or small groups with lots of little extra luxuries and everything you could need for a fantastic holiday. Do go and have a look http://www.palazzocairney.com and watch this space for the story of the restoration. Also see the before and after videos and the journey from the owner’s perspective here
I have been so busy with Palazzo Cairney (the name started out as a joke, and then stuck!) that I have done very few property viewing trips compared to last year. I have done a few though and what was interesting is how fast interesting properties are moving at the moment, My clients would have had to make an offer within 2 days of viewing to have been in with a chance. Equally it was much harder to set up appointments, as, by the time people arrived, half the properties we had planned to view had already been sold. I saw two things I really liked, both in the 200000-230000 price range. One was a farmhouse in the Monopoli countryside, dating back to the 1600s, with a garden and a hectare of orchards. This needed some work but, restored, would have provided four bedrooms and bathrooms with a pool in the garden. This sold, very quickly, for 220,000. At the same price were some small trulli, recently restored to provide two bedrooms (though I thought the kitchen and bathroom needed reworking). Original floors, a fantastic view and a hectare of land made these very desirable and they went almost immediately for 200,000.
Closer to home, in Nardò, property prices have shot up, though properties are still a good buy as there is a high rental demand, and prices are likely to increase further. A client bought an already restored apartment with original floors and a panoramic roof terrace for 53,000, planning to live there. Life took him elsewhere and so he rented it to a tenant for a year, before deciding to sell. it is now valued at 65,000 – so more than 20% profit in under two years, plus the rental income. He obviously could have had more rent if he had turned it into a holiday let. I also recently saw a town centre property which I thought was a great price, at 50,000. It needs work (the roof terrace parapets need raising and bathroom and kitchen re doing) but is structurally sound and would have two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
For real bargains though you need to go to lesser known towns nearby, Galatone and Copertino are both a good bet, as they are still near to good beaches, Lecce and Brindisi airport. You can still find apartments in Galatone for under 40,000, even less in Copertino and both towns are reasonably lively year round.
What I am increasingly coming across is people who contact me and who don’t quite have the budget for what they actually want. They are perhaps hoping they will get lucky but the reality is that, if things are cheap, they need quite a bit of work. Often they have read things online which makes them realise that now is a great time to invest in Puglia and they are ready to do something – they just perhaps have unrealistic expectations about what they can achieve.
This is happening so often that I am finally going to launch the Puglian property investment fund that I have mentioned before. I have thought about fractional ownership but I think that, in practice, putting together potentially incompatible people in group ownership could be problematic. This will work differently. I have identified, and will continue to look for, properties which can be easily and relatively quickly, be restored and ready for holiday rentals (or in some cases resale). Investors can put as little as 2000 euros into a holding company which will have a charge over all properties bought. They will be guaranteed a return on investment of 5% a year, but it may be as high as 10%. In the meantime they will have a pool of properties which they can use for their holidays at very discounted rates (or free except for running costs in low season, or when there is last minute availability). Email me at email@example.com for details.
I am also finding is that I get continue to get significant numbers of general questions and enquiries from people who are thinking about buying in Puglia. Some are related to specific properties, others are more general. There is still a huge amount of misinformation out there, when there is any at all. I used to answer everybody, quickly, and I still do when I can but it isn’t always possible. There is also a limit to how many property viewing trips I can do. With this in mind I am running three small group property finding trips aimed at people who are in the early stages of the process. These will last four days, but can be extended to take in further personalised viewings. On the first two days there will be seminars and question and answer sessions on the buying process and the current state of the market as well as an opportunity to explore different areas of Puglia. Guests can also book 1-1 sessions to evaluate particular properties which may interest them and we can make appointments to view them.
On the following two days there will be property visits, to see specific properties – (guests with different requirements will be split up) which are a good example of their kind. We can also make individual visits to properties which guests have identified before they arrive. Guests will be helped to obtain codice fiscales (without which you cannot buy in Italy) and open bank accounts if appropriate.
There will then be a further two days (optional) where guests can have individual viewings of properties which we have identified as being of interest in the previous days.
The trip will include lots of exploring different areas, and more delicious Puglian food and wine than you can probably eat/drink! Accommodation will be in Palazzo Cairney which we will use as a base, or in other rooms ver nearby. We are planning dates in September, October and November…. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details