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  • Roger Hampton

3.Covid times

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

In 2020 the corona virus spread like wildfire and Italy was hit especially hard. Nobody knew what to expect and I was heartbroken whilst watching the news from a country I love. The year before we had travelled to the USA on holiday instead of Italy and I was missing it a lot when COVID came. We had tickets booked and the dream had stirred again as our situation had changed. However, our travel plans were dashed and the summer of 2020 were spent in Norway. However, something happened during this period that was unexpected. I had been watching and reading just about everything there was about Italian property and found out about an advantageous scheme in Italy that sparked something in me. As you may have read in the “about me” section, I am an Architect. We had however, for the most disregarded the thoughts of doing a renovation. I had enough on my hands with work before, but this was a bit of a game changer: the superbonus. I will explain this in more depth a little later, but it is an incentive scheme for improving the environmental and seismic qualities of the existing building stock through renovation. This meant that our budget could stretch a bit further, actually much more further than even I first anticipated. So in agreement we looked online for an appropriate renovation project in a limited area in Le Marche.

In the late summer of 2020, there was a lull in the situation with the virus, and it became easier to travel to Italy. I had found what I thought to be a reasonable property online and went alone to see it. I got that feeling that this was again something for us. It was a half finished renovation that was being sold at auction. It was very much in an area that we liked and near some good friends. The views were wonderful in a quiet, but well linked area.

Now, was the first time I met Diego. He is an engineer and has his own team of professionals. His team and I, would be able to cover all the necessary stages of a development. We struck it off immediately. So we agreed, after a lengthy discussion that it was a good property and I used the next weeks preparing for the auction. On the same trip I opened an Italian bank account which was essential for the time ahead.

The time leading up to the auction was spent preparing all the documents and we set a limit which we considered to be our max price. I think this is essential. You can so easily get carried away and suddenly you have paid 50 thousand more than planned. After all, there would be a major renovation to deal with afterwards. So I stuck to my limit and lost the auction. Two others wanted it more and paid in excess of 30 thousand euros more than I was prepared to pay. I had received advice from Diego before hand, that the cost of addressing some irregularities in accordance to the given permission, would cost at least 20 thousand euro, before we could even touch the property and therefore that 50 thousand overspend would have been real. After, we would have had to start a new application to make the changes we would have wanted. We drove past the house this summer (2021) and it is in the same state as at the time of the auction, September 2020. Maybe somebody is struggling with exactly that I have described above.

Immediately after, we were again disappointed, but we put it down to experience and moved on, undeterred.
















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