Inspection and surveys before buying property
When you’ve decided to buy a property that you like in Italy, you should make a close inspection of its condition. The type of inspection will depend on whether the property is a ruin in need of complete restoration or a modern home.
An old property may show signs of damage and decay, such as bulging or cracked walls, rising damp, missing roof tiles and rotten woodwork. Some areas are susceptible to flooding, storms and subsidence, and it’s wise to check an old property after a heavy rainfall, when any leaks should come to light.
Pay close attention to restored properties
In the case of a property that has been restored, it’s important to ascertain how well the job has been done, particularly if the owner did it himself. Although a vendor must certify that a property is free from any ‘hidden defects’, this provides little assurance as he can usually just plead ignorance and it’s usually difficult or expensive to prove otherwise.
Ensure that the structure is sound
The most important thing is to ensure that a property is structurally sound. Although building standards in Italy are generally high, you should never assume that a building is sound, as even relatively new buildings can have serious faults. Since the collapse of several apartment blocks built in the 1960s, properties in Rome and other major cities have had to have a libretto testifying to their sound structure.
Some lenders insist on a survey before approving a loan, although this usually consists of a valuation to confirm that a property is worth the purchase price. A master builder will be able to tell you whether the price is too high considering any work that needs to be done.