While there have been perhaps less properties coming onto the market in the last month or so, now is actually a very good time to look for property. Lots hit the market in the autumn for various reasons. Some Italians are selling second homes because, perhaps, they have used the house less in the summer than they used to or because they are fed up of renting. Others are wanting to sell inherited property before the winter to avoid having to do maintenance in the spring.
Far less people come on property viewing trips in the winter, so when those properties don’t sell straight away and there are fewer viewings, owners are more prepared to drop the price or accept lower offers. From that point of view January and February are maybe the best months to house hunt. Additionally it isn’t a bad idea to see Puglia at its worst, weather wise and, if you are buying a property which needs work, you can get work done in time for the summer – essential if you want to rent the property out.
Property pricing in Puglia is a strange thing. Valuations, if done at all, are on the basis of value per square metre of properties in that area, irrespective of the type of property, not on the basis of similar things sold in the recent past. Many estate agents will just put on the price that the owner wants. When it doesn’t sell at that price, which may be unrealistic, the price is then lowered, but it may take a while. For this reason properties which have already been re modernised are often over priced. Owners want to get back what they have spent, with a comfortable margin but from the foreign buyers point of view the fittings may not be to their tast and they would want to change them in any case. Properties which need remodernising are almost always a better buy.
The one above, in Nardò, is an example of prices being lowered in the winter for a fast sale and is a really good buy at 48,000; it is worth 53,000 to 55,000 on the current market and would be worth high fifties low sixties if some basic maintenance and repairs were done, the bathroom updated and the roof terrace dressed. The front of the house needs repainting and the flat roof terrace needs repointing so the plaster on the vaulted ceilings has been damaged by infiltrations of rainwater which has put viewers off even though it is an easy fix and has good rental potential due to the location and views from the roof terrace
Recently on the market (above) is a property in the Monopoli countryside with fantastic potential. Properties like this were common a few years ago but now only tend to turn up already restored, with a poo,l at prices north of 750,000. This one, at 365,000 needs complete renovation, though it is structurally sound, and a pool added, but has a wealth of original features and character. The original living space has period floors and vaulted ceilings but there is also an attached barn and agricultural storage rooms. It would provide 3- 4 bedrooms but, as there are 6 hectares of land, it could be extended to almost double its size. There are sea views from the roof terrace and it is right on the edges of town, with enough land that it still feels secluded. The price is very fair and I think that this one will be gone by the spring.
Back in Nardò there is another ‘you don’t find them any more’ opportunity. The builder I have worked with for a few years now had the foresight to buy up some medieval properties in a little enclave facing the castle and he has been very slowly restoring them. One part became a restaurant L’inferno, two are tenanted and another one is a holiday rental. There are still unrestored buildings left which he has now decided to sell, with the advantage that he is still prepared to do the restoration. The location is perfect. My favourite of these needs complete restoration but could be spectacular – the views from the two terraces are superb and the two ground floor rooms have beautiful, early, vaulted ceilings, fireplaces and the original floors. In total this one would provide two bedrooms and bathrooms a livingroom and a kitchen opening onto the roof terrace. There are also two other properties. No price as yet because it makes sense doing the whole little area as an investment project with a resident manager, the restaurant already on site and so on. The owner is open to all possibilities though. With this one, and either of the others email me at email@example.com for further details.
I continue to get hundreds of questions about buying in Puglia and there still continues to be a scarcity of reliable information out there. I was disappointed to see recently that a well known overseas property company who present themselves as an information rich service published a two part guide to buying in Italy which was entirely formulaic, low on useful advice and largely a vehicle for selling other services. With that in mind, I am publishing an e book on Buying property in Italy late in January. This will be accompanied by a series of online seminars (maximum 6 individuals or couples so evryone can ask questions) which start in 10 days. I have just launched a crowdfunding page for the book – by pre ordering a copy (£20) you get a free seminar thrown in (will normally cost the same again). To preorder a copy go here
For details of the seminars email firstname.lastname@example.org