Beware the Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

| March 23, 2014

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You have just found your Italian dream home… but now the question is: are you sure it actually meets your budget?
Apart from the property price there are other expenses you should check before signing the final deed.

Indeed, as we have just discussed in previous articles, when buying a home, you probably know you’re going to be paying taxes on the transfer of property, namely registration, mortgage, cadastral taxes and VAT in case you buy from a contractor; the money for hiring a notary figure, who is fundamental for the preliminary sale contract and the final deed, and do not forget the commission due if you get help from a real estate agent to find your house in Italy. There is no way to avoid them!

But in many cases there could be also some “hidden” costs homebuyers should be on alert for and consider in advance in order to save money!

Do you like the idea of owning a home without having to manage it or fix it up? Be careful when buying a turnkey property! There are some additional costs you could ignore, such as the presence of garages and cellars. You would better ask if they are included in the price or not, if not expressly specified, or else you may have an unpleasant surprise.

The same can happen with water, electricity, telecommunications and gas system which still require connection. This could be a further large expenditure you likely did not expect.

Furthermore, if you buy a brand new home, the price of the turnkey property remains that you have agreed only if the building is completed according to the timetable. Generally the penalty for the delay relapses on the contractor, but if a specific clause is not present, it could lies on the new owner.

In case you buy a “secondhand home“, you may be required to pay condominium charges for the current and previous year the owner has not settled, as you are the person succeeding him to the rights of a condominium. Bear in mind that you have not to refer to the calendar year, but to the ‘condominium year’, that is the reference period related to the management, which can obviously not coincide with the calendar year.

Secondly, regarding expenditures for ordinary maintenance, namely all that relating to the works of repair, renewal and replacement of the property finishes and those needed to integrate or maintain the existing technological systems, it is up to the person who was the owner at the time when works physically initiated to pay for them.

As per extraordinary maintainance, – that is to say those works dealing with replacing and renovating structural parts of the building, the realization and integration of technological and bathroom fixtures, and restoration works – if the expenses have been approved before the notarial deed then the seller have to pay for them. The same applies if they start after that date.

The solution to avoid unpleasant surprises? Be careful and rely on the advice of a professional to analyze your contract thoroughly before signing it, as an extra expense for hiring an expert is nothing compared to the thousands of euros you risk to pay in case of hidden costs!

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