Saturday, February 28, 2009

Using The Web to Rent Your Property

The internet has grown to be a massively effective tool when it comes to any form of research, and people looking to source their next holiday is no exception.

There are a number of good sites out there that will list your property for a small fee, or there are even free classified sites you can try.Do some research yourself by going in to the various search engines Yahoo, Google, MSN etc and type in different combinations of phrases that prospective holidays makers may use, such as "holiday rental Calabria, summer rentals Calabria " .

Google is by far the most popular resource for search, I always like to change the area by taking away the .co.uk and adding different regional variations IE if I think Ireland would be a useful market to target, check who appears at the top of http://www.google.ie/ or Russia www.google.ru , google.com (sorry if this is obvious).

Also note that Google will generally have a "sponsored links" area at the top or down the right hand side column. This mean companies have paid to be featured there, bear in mind that advertisers in these areas can rotate or disappear for a while and if you include your property with them, it may not be visible consistently.

http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/ http://www.rent-holiday-homes.com/ are popular sites, have a look through them and get a feel for how they work. I would however encourage you to do your own research, as outlined above.

Tips on Listing


  • Good clear photos are a must, make sure your property looks immaculate in the pictures (this is obvious but you would be surprised!) often you will need to resize your images - I use http://www.drpic.com/ it is free and easy to use.


  • Honest, accurate and compelling descriptions (don´t embellish)


  • A bulletpoint list of benefits
I will be paying special attention to rentals and rental management companies in Calabria as I think they will play a hugely important role for my clients and for everyone else who is looking to monetize their property. Keep checking my Blog.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ryanair - Where Spending a Penny Could Cost You a Pound

I have just read an article regarding the possibility of introducing a pay- as - you go toilet on Ryanair flights in order to cut costs.

What next?

Maybe a deposit taken in the event of you using a lifejacket, or 50p per sickbag?

Come on.

Busy Week Draws to an End

Here we are on Friday, a busy week for us here in the office. We have been really surprised how quickly people have gotten to know about this Blog, sending emails and asking questions involving many different topics. Rentals, investment, legals are just some of the subjects I have been getting in my inbox.

My week has ended on a high note, as after marathon research and negotiation we have managed to secure a fabulous project in Riace. I don´t want this to be a site promoting developments I am involved in so I´ll leave it at that!

I hope to have some good pictures and some great restaurant recommendations (hopefully ones I don´t know about already, so I can try them when I´m there next month) over the next few days, kindly supplied by one of our clients currently out in Reggio surveying the progress of their purchase.

Keep checking or subscribe by adding your email on the right enabling you to be notified by email of each new article.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Worlds Largest Suspension Bridge on Your Doorstep

I have already posted some artists impressions of this behemoth on my blog earlier this month. For those of you who missed the article in The Telegraph yesterday I have included it here -

Italy will forge ahead with a controversial plan to build the world's largest suspension bridge, a massive structure which will arch between the mainland and Sicily, the government said on Wednesday Critics say that at six billion euros (£5.4bn), the cost of the two-and-a-half mile bridge across the Strait of Messina is far too high and have questioned the wisdom of building such a giant span in a region which is prone to earthquakes.

Some engineers have given warning that the area's huge pylons would be vulnerable to high winds.
"It's true that it costs six billion euros but this is the project and we're not going back on it," Altero Matteoli, the public works minister, told Italian radio.
He acknowledged that it would be essential to improve the ramshackle roads and railways on either side of the bridge, in Sicily and the mainland region of Calabria.

"The bridge will oblige us to improve railway and motorway infrastructure as well as the ports. It's an enormous amount of work that will also increase tourism."
The project, which Mr Matteoli said could get underway this year, was first envisioned by Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, when he was in office in 2001-2006, but then ditched by his centre-left successor, Romano Prodi, amid concerns that it would mostly benefit construction firms run by the mafia.

Mr Prodi's administration labelled it a vanity project and "the most useless and harmful plan of the past 100 years."
Mr Berlusconi was re-elected prime minister last year and put the project back on track.
He insists that it will create thousands of jobs, boost tourism and improve transport links between the 'toe' of the Italian mainland and Sicily, replacing ferry services.

The bridge would be able to handle nearly 5,000 cars an hour as well as high-speed trains.
The dream of building a bridge across the narrow strait was first envisioned by the Romans and later considered by Sicily's Norman rulers. The Telegraph

This is yet another landmark that will raise the profile of the region, along with the Regium waterfront development, also posted on this blog.

Accessibility is currently lacking within this region, so this is more than a few steps in the right direction.

I know at the moment confidence is low, given the state of the worldwide economy and its easy to fall into a negative mindset, but bear in mind all of you who purchased in this region have done so before the majority of the cohesion plan funds have been deployed(Complete 2013). Imagine how fabulous Calabria will be when the work is complete.

You certainly won´t be able to buy a good quality apartment with a sea view for €1980 per square M2, thats for sure.

Please don´t forget to subscribe to my posts by leaving your email address on the right, I will be publishing some interesting, useful stuff over the next few months that I would hate you to miss.

Ciao.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Price per Square Metre in The Reggio Area

Following on from the article outlining average advertised property price, we have done a price per m2 analysis of the developments within the region.

I won´t name individual developments, but the gulf between the most expensive and cheapest is significant.

There was one project that had an apartment costing nearly €3400 per m2, this was by far the most expensive, in fact its closest in price was €500 m2 less!This particular apartment did have a unique feature, therefore I can understand why it is more money, it is always difficult to put a price on something unique!

The lowest price per m2 I found was €1943. The developments mentioned had good sea views and similar qualities. The determining price factor was distance to the beach, but bear in mind we are only talking about 100 metre variant.

Refer back to my previous post if you are wondering how I work out my calculations.
My personal opinion is that at present anything over €2500 per m2 is excessive and if you are looking at getting a reasonable rental yield per m2 I think my assumption is justified.

Birds Eye View Photos of Reggio Marina





There will be a significant change to the Reggio waterfront when the planned structure by architect Zaha Hadid is completed.

I will publish further details here as soon as they are available, although there are inital impressions featured on this Blog.

Gerace - View of Locri and Beyond




Inland from Locri, not too far from Siderno you have the charming hilltop village of Gerace.
Ruins of the old Norman cathedral and medieval town have a truly atmospheric, eerie feel.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Average Advertised House Prices

There is an interesting article in Italymag today giving average advertised house prices.

Here is how the chart looked -

1. Basilicata € 141,430.232.
2. Calabria € 210,329.483.
3. Abruzzo € 227,174.674.
4. Puglia € 234,166.925.
5. Molise € 235,648.65

This was in the "affordable areas" category. Now take a look at the other regions´advertised price - there is a significant gulf, to say the least!

1. Tuscany, € 837,267.882.
2. Veneto € 748,410.533.
3. Lazio € 735,411.084.
4. Sicily € 705,361.885.
5. Trentino Alto Adige € 699,166.67

These figures were aggregated from over 11,000 property adverts across Italy, just to give you an idea of the depth of this survey.

Even though these figures allude to the advertised price, rather than actual transaction value I still think it makes for interesting reading.

Source: ITALYMAG

The Village of Stilo


Who would have thought a village of such natural beauty would have inspired Fiat to produce a car that doesn´t quite share the amazing aesthetics of this truly charming place.
Seriously though, if you take the SS106 from Siderno and just before you arrive at Monasterace Marina take the SP9 towards Bivio Guardavalle.
Keep following this road and you will eventually get to Stilo.
This really is a picture postcard village that epitomises rustic italy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ensure Your Private Contract and Bond Cover You.

I have had a number of queries regarding the purchase process and how best to protect yourself when buying a property overseas. This isn´t specific to Calabria, but can be applied to any international destination.

Although I cannot and will not give legal advice, I can give you some tips that will assist you and hopefully make for a trouble free purchase.

- Make sure you have a full understanding from the agent of what you are actually getting for your money, IE. Size of apartment + terracing, air-con included, kitchen appliances, style of flooring etc.
Keep a note of this as it will help you reconcile the details presented in your contract. Should there be any disparity between what you were originally told and what appears before you in your private purchase contract you take the appropriate action, either renegotiating or walking away.

- Read the contract very, very carefully before signing. All the important stuff including specifications, sizes etc appear here. If you sign without checking properly and a discrepancy arises upon completion that you failed to notice at the signing stage, you will have little chance of recourse.

- Check the lawyer has the original bank guarantee, also make sure you understand the conditions of the bond. Ask what specific cover it gives, length of validity, late clauses etc. How will you action the bond should you need to and how long will recompense take.

- Be nosey, ask your lawyer questions about any aspect of the transaction you are unsure about. This is important and no question is "silly" or unimportant.

The lawyers I have worked with in the Calabria region have all done a superb job, definitely putting their clients´first. However, you should get involved with your purchase and check everything yourself carefully thus eliminating any issues.

View from Mount Sant' Elia - Palmi Reggio


This amazing view is taken from Mount Sant' Elia in Palmi, giving you stunning vistas across the Thyrrhenian Sea.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Buying in Calabria - Who Does What?

After looking through some of the forums and seeing the comments people are making regarding their prospective or current purchases, I thought I would clarify the roles and explain who does what when a property development appears on the market.

Please keep in mind I am simplifying some of the processes and on occasion there may be some overlap in roles discussed, as always this is to give you a rough guideline.

The Developer - The developer essentially puts the components of the project together. He will source and buy the land (sometimes will acquire the land from the owner for no cost, but agree a split on profits when the project is complete), he will employ an architect who will draw up plans and then submit them to attain the relevant planning consent. A project manager will be hired who will co-ordinate the contractors and sub-contractors and get the project delivered.
Generally, the actual developer will have nothing to do with the selling of the project. This is usually passed on to a Promoter.

The Promoter - The Promoters role involves packaging up the project and turning the non-user friendly architects images into glossy brochures and client friendly literature. They will advise the developer on pricing and look to market the project and raise its profile.

The Master Agent - The Promoter and the Master Agents Roles sometimes blur slightly. A promoter can sometimes fill The Master Agents job.

The Master Agent will distribute the project out amongst the real estate agents. They will then provide all the necessary information about the development including web images, prices etc. in order that the Real Estate Company can furnish clients with everything they need.

The Real Estate Company -The role here is to market the project to the general public, using the web, exhibitions, magazines and anywhere else appropriate. They will handle the buying process and act as an interface between the customer and the other parties involved, giving the client a clear picture of what is happening throughout the process.

As I said at the start of the article this is a rough snapshot of how things work, and will hopefully give you all a better understanding of the role each party plays.

Michel Thomas - A Truly Inspirational Linguist and Teacher

There are few people in life you come across who absolutely blow you away with their knowledge, passion and seemingly unconditional dedication to their chosen subject.

Undoubtedly some of you are trying to learn Italian, readying yourself for when you can spend time in Calabria and go into Reggio, order food and converse a little with the locals. Many of you will be attending night classes, buying books trying your hardest to understand and learn Italian.

I went through the same thing too, years ago when I decided to leave blighty for good, I started going on crash language courses, Open Univerisity on the TV etc.

Then I came across, by complete accident Michel Thomas´language courses, boasting no written work necessary, in fact urging you NOT to do any homework. I also saw his list of distinguished clients and thought I would give it a go.

After listening to the first ten minutes I quickly realised it was nothing short of a revelation and you could certainly see why this great man had achieved the many accolades he had. Two things stood out, the first is how different his teaching methods were, the second, how quickly you actually learnt things, almost subconsciously.

Michel Thomas famously quoted "There is no such thing as a poor student, only a poor teacher".

He had devoted his life to teaching after he had been able to transcend his mind, whilst being tortured when captured by the Gestapo, for being a resistance fighter in WWII.
This fascinated him and he came to the realisation that the mind can do pretty much anything if you apply it.

When I finished his course, then completed another, I pretty much believed that no matter what it is you try to learn, if done in the right way it is possible. For me, my language skills improved hugely. When listening to him instructing his students, who were at all levels, you could not fail to see the love he had for both language and teaching.

Unfortunately Michel Thomas died in 2005 , here is a link to the Guardian Obituary that will give you some insight into this truly great man.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Working Out The True Price Per Square Metre

Hello again to you all. The above subject is one of controversy and its interpretation varies widely between developers.

I found this out first hand when trying to compare prices between developments, sometimes I felt it was like comparing apples with bananas so to speak.

I always work out the price per metre as total usable internal area divided by the property price.

eg A €139000 villa with an internal living space of 65m2 would give a price per m2 of €2138.46.

Please bear in mind you can include terraces,communal area, solarium's and gardens in this figure and if you do that's great, but make sure you are doing that for all the properties you compare.

This is true if you get the price per m2 from a developer, because some will include car parking spaces, store room space etc. that's fine too, as long as you do the same with every development .

You want to make sure it is a level playing field, in order for you to build a true picture of value. Also bear in mind that internal areas given can include unusable space such as walls etc. this is common practice and isn´t underhanded, its just how it is.

Proximity to the beach, build quality and several other factors will determine the price of your apartment, don´t get too bogged down with the above findings, but obviously if there is a huge unexplainable price differential, maybe you should steer clear!

Scott Henderson Trio - Teatro Umberto, Lemezia Terme

Scott Henderson is a truly amazing jazz guitarist who happens to be playing in the above theatre on March 21st.

He is a genuine virtuoso, if you are a guitar enthusiast and are in the area you really must go and see this incredible musician!

Furnishing Your Calabria Property

Another question I am frequently asked from clients who intend to rent their property is - How should I furnish it?

Here is some advice from hard gained property rental experience that will give you an idea.

- Keep in mind most furniture packages available don´t include basic items such as ironing boards & irons, vacuum cleaners, etc

- If you intend to rent off-season when it can get cool in Calabria make sure you have some rugs and a reasonably priced heater.

- Air-conditioning - Not cheap, but if I had the choice to rent an apartment with air-con or one without, I know which one I would choose. Not installing this may be false economy. If your budget wont stretch, try ceiling fans.

- Buy easily replaceable items, as you don´t want to have a set 12 different glasses and different coloured plates!

- Don´t buy leather Sofas unless you really, really want them yourself. They are too hot to sit on in the heat and freezing when its cold.

-Take an inventory of all that you buy and make sure this is checked by your rental management agency after each rental. (Take a deposit for damages)

- Shop around for electrical items as they can be expensive in Calabria


If this is a only a rental investment property, leave your own taste for you own home. You want functional, good value durable items that are as neutral as possible.

Above all enjoy yourself furnishing your new apartment!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Cohesion Plan 2007 - 2013

I have been fascinated by this, much talked about, "regional operational programme" and specifically what it will consist of. I know that this plan has been part of every real estate agents spiel, however I thought it seemed a little vague. I know this plan was initiated in ´07, however I have never seen it published anywhere easily accessible.

To that end I thought I would add the specifics of the plan to my blog to end speculation and more importantly for those of you who have actually parted with your money and bought a property will see where this money is being spent.

When you read the specifics below 12% of the fund will be allocated with the intention of making Calabria "an internationally competitive tourist destination" and a further 16% on the "internal and external accessibilty of the region" - Ryanair watch out!!

I do like to post my own narrative on this blog, however given the subject matter I will make an exception.

On 7 December 2007 the European Commission approved the Calabria Regional Operational Programme for 2007-2013. The Programme comes under the Convergence Objective and has a total budget of approximately €3 billion. The aid provided by the EU through the ERDF amounts to some €1.5 billion, i.e. half of the entire Programme. This figure represents 5.2% of the EU's total investment in Italy in the context of Cohesion Policy for the period 2007-2013.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

Around 58% of the Programme funds have been earmarked for investments directly linked to sustainable growth and jobs in line with the Lisbon and Gothenburg agendas. These include projects on R&D and innovation, entrepreneurship, information society, energy efficiency and renewables, education and training, and major infrastructures of European-wide importance.
The Operational Programme is devised to identify and analyse the region’s potentials in accordance with Community and national frameworks setting out the principles for the allocation of EU funds. The general objective of the Programme is to foster sustainable economic development with a view to converging with the average development levels of the EU. This should be achieved by mobilising the potential of the region by means of boosting its competitiveness, making the territory more attractive, and diversifying and modernising the productive structure.

2. Expected impact of investments

With the EU contribution, it is expected that the Programme will lead to an additional annual increase of 1.6% in the regional GDP through to 2015 and an additional annual increase of 0.3% in employment growth. 43 500 new jobs are therefore expected to be created by 2015. Furthermore, female employment rates should increase to 40.2% by 2015 (compared to 35% in 2005) following the creation of 16 500 net jobs for women.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme is structured along nine priorities:

Priority 1: R&D, innovation and information society [approximately 10% of total funding]
This priority aims firstly to strengthen R&D and innovation by working together with business in an effort to foster competitiveness, and secondly, to facilitate access for citizens and firms to the information society.

Priority 2: Energy [approximately 7% of total funding]

This priority will focus on promoting diversification of energy sources, with particular attention paid to renewables, and on stimulating energy efficiency and savings.

Priority 3: Environment [approximately 12% of total funding]

This priority will concentrate on risk prevention and other measures aimed at ensuring environmental sustainability, while retaining traditional measures like waste management and pollution reduction.

Priority 4: Quality of life and social inclusion [approximately 9% of total funding]
The priority will focus on improving the quality of and accessibility to education and training in remote areas. It will also look to increase the quality of life, guarantee equal access to social services and ensure security for both citizens and businesses.

Priority 5: Natural and cultural resources and sustainable tourism [approximately 12% of total funding]
This priority aims at promoting biodiversity as well as preserving the region’s natural and cultural heritage. It also aims at increasing sustainability while maintaining the international competitiveness of tourism in the region.

Priority 6: Networks for mobility [approximately 16% of total funding]
The main objective of this priority is to develop the internal and external accessibility of the region, with a special focus on promoting intermodality and sustainable urban transport.

Priority 7: Productive systems [approximately 14% of total funding]
Under this priority, measures will be taken to improve the competitive conditions of businesses.
Priority 8: Cities, urban areas and territorial systems [approximately 17% of total funding]
This priority aims at promoting competitiveness, innovation, attractiveness and quality of life in both cities and rural areas.

Priority 9: Technical assistance and interregional cooperation [approximately 3% of total funding]
The priority will ensure effective assistance to the Managing Authority of the Programme concerning management, evaluation, audit, information and communication activities and other tasks that are necessary for correct implementation of the Programme.

Keep checking my blog or add your email to the right and get posts automatically.

Source: EU Regional Policy Iforegio

The Mortage Process - What to Expect

Many people in the region will be thinking about mortgages as your property nears completion. Here are some of the associated costs.

Mortgage costs

The only cost you will see when your loan is being processed is the property valuation charge at approx €230. When the mortgage is agreed and the funds are released they will be in the form of a bankers draft - Please note the following will be deducted.

Application fee

1% of the loan amount

Building insurance

This will vary, but please note this does NOT cover contents


Mortgage registration tax (imposta sost├Čtutiva)

0.25% of the loan amount if you apply to be an Italian resident (first home), 2% of the loan amount for second home (non-Italian resident).

The initial funds will be released to the notary and only paid to the vendor or to the borrower when the mortgage charge (ipoteca) has been registered.

Completion fees (€110) and pre-first instalment interest to be paid with first payment.
Administration fee of €5 will be added to every instalment.

Additional Costs When Purchasing - I know this has been covered in a previous post, but always worth mentioning

New properties - VAT or 'Imposta sul Valora Aggiunto' (IVA) - this is only payable for new properties and varies from 10% up to 20% for luxury homes.

Re-sale properties: transfer taxes come to around 10%, comprising registration tax (7%), mortgage tax (2%) and land survey tax (1%). If the property is to be the main residence (i.e. customer moves in within 18 months and doesn’t move out of the area for five years), registration tax is reduced to 3% and the mortgage and land survey taxes reduced to nominal sum (around €129 each).

Notary fees - these also vary according to the declared value. Allow around 1% of the purchase price.

Solicitor - 1-2% of the purchase price.

Agents Fees - Variable, negotiate. If you bought of plan all the agents fees will have been included.

Surveyor's fee – if you need the services of a surveyor, the fee is usually around €500-€1,000.

Please note this posting does in constitute financial advice, but will again assist you in getting the overall cost clear in your mind.

This is a subject that will feature as and when I have information I think will be useful to you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mr. Berlusconi Causes Uproar in Reggio


Calabrians have gone up in arms because, Silvio Berlusconi (Italian Prime Minister) has requested that the Riace Bronzes should be taken from the National Museum and displayed at the G8 summit this summer, at La Maddalena, a tiny island off Sardinia.

For the uninitiated these bronze statues were fished out of the sea in 1972 and are the source of immense Calabrian pride. They were also stopped from appearing in the Olympics in 2004.

A Facebook group has also been formed aptly titled "Hands off the Riace Bronzes."

Is My Rental Income in Italy Taxable in The UK?

Hello to you all,

The start of another week, so I thought to get everyone motivated I would do an article on rental income taxation!!

Please note I am not a tax expert and you should always consult your accountant/financial advisor, when it comes to tax or any financial decision.

This information will hopefully be useful to you, providing you with guidelines, helping you work out your rental plans when the time comes.

Here goes - if you pay tax and are a resident in the UK you must inform the authorities of any rental income gained from overseas property lettings. This can be found on the foreign pages of your Tax return. ( found on a PDF below)

Contrary to popular belief you need to pay this even if you are paying tax in Italy. The UK tax authorities will assess this and credit you back accordingly.


How much you pay depends on whether you're 'resident' in the UK and 'ordinarily resident' or 'domiciled': Here is how they define these terms

Resident


if you're in the UK for 183 days or more in a tax year, you're a 'resident' for that year for tax purposes

if you come to live in the UK permanently or to remain for three years or more you're resident from the date of arrival
you're also treated as resident if you're in the UK for an average of 91 days or more in a tax year (worked out over a maximum of four consecutive tax years)


Ordinarily resident


if you're resident in the UK year after year you will normally be treated as 'ordinarily resident'
you're treated as ordinarily resident in the UK from the date you arrive if it's clear that you intend to stay for at least three years


Domiciled


your domicile is normally acquired at birth but domicile is a general law concept, decided by a range of factors
You can be more than one of these - or none.

Ok so Whats Deductible - what counts?


You can deduct the same expenses and allowances from overseas property letting income as from UK property letting income, including travel costs. (The expenses must be solely for running your property letting business.)

Expenses and allowances on income from property

Profits and losses from different overseas properties


Because all overseas property lettings are treated as a single business, losses from one overseas property are automatically offset against profits from the others. And if you make a loss overall, you can offset it against future years' overseas rental profits.
But UK and overseas letting businesses are taxed separately - losses from one can't be offset against the profits from the other.

Download the foreign pages for your tax return (PDF document, 73K) Opens new window

Help with completing the foreign pages of your tax return (PDF document, 187K) Opens new window

This should be a starting point for you, don´t forget to register your email in the top right hand box as I will be publishing information on EVERY subject relating to owning and staying in Calabria.

Information Source: DirectGov

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mortgages for Property in Calabria

I will be consulting some industry experts over the next few weeks regarding the mortgages available for those of you completing on your property this year.

Keep checking this blog or register your email to the right to be informed of a new post.

Keep an Eye on Sterling/Euro March 5th

There is the strong feeling that the European Central Bank (ECB) will cut rates further when they meet next month on the 5th March.

Rates cuts result in currency movement so follow GBP/EUR rates closely, I predict that by June this year the ECB will be looking at rate of 0.5%.

Many people who are looking to complete their purchase over the next few months are undoubtedly watching the rates with more than a little interest. I will be commenting on this much talked about issue over the next few weeks.

Don´t forget pop your e-mail in the top right box and get these post as and when they are published.

Valle Dell'Acate, Il Frappato - Sicilian Red

Ok, so this wine isn´t from Calabria, but from neighbour Sicily, however this is the absolute perfect accompaniment to all tomato based dishes, so I thought you would be interested.

There is a real raspberry scent in this wine. This red would be regarded as a light to medium bodied.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ryanair Reschedule Some Flights

Those of you who have booked to go to Lamezia from Stansted from March onwards, verify your flight is still scheduled for the day you booked it for.

Ryanair are sending emails to those it affects, supplying you will the nearest dates or, if that isn´t acceptable, a travel credit or a refund.

If you are traveling over the next few months check your emails, to avoid a nasty surprise when you get to the airport!

So How Much Rent Shall I Charge in My New Apartment?

Just to follow on from my insight into Rental Management Companies I thought I would impart some of my market knowledge on actual current rental prices within the a proven tourist destination in Calabria, namely Tropea.

I have adjusted the prices as I see fit, as Brancaleone is not as established as the Tropea area and therefore will need to build on its growing popularity to reach near parity with the Vibo Valenta region.

Peak Season July/August Low Season Nov to March

1 bed - sleeping 4 - Low £160 per week High £ 400 per week
2 bed - sleeping 6 - Low £220 per week High £ 590 per week

These figures are based on apartments having a decent view, pool on the complex and access to a beach. There are several dynamics that can raise or lower the price - as I said this is only a guide, but will give you foundations for your pricing structure.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Community Setup - What to Expect

When your apartment or villa (if its in a community) is completed, the developer will appoint an administrator to manage the overall upkeep and day to day chores associated with the smooth running of your complex.


Gardening, general maintenance, swimming pool, cleaning communal areas etc all have to be given to the relevant sub-contractors and , of course paid for. Then ,in the first community Annual General Meeting (AGM) , the owners get to vote as to whether this administrator stays or a new one is appointed.


This task seems simple and straightforward, however this is something not to be taken lightly as it can impact you financially and will have a direct effect on how well presented your apartment complex looks.


As you are often away from your property, participation in AGM´s can often be difficult, it is however very important to voice your opinion and make you vote count. (you can vote by proxy)

When assessing whether to keep your default administrator scrutinize the accounts closely.

here are some questions you should be asking yourself ,

  • How competitively priced is each individual contractor?
  • Could some of these contractors be affiliated with the developer?
  • Is all the money clearly accounted for and transparent?
  • Within the period this administrator has presided, have the services delivered been of a high standard.

This is commonsense stuff but believe me, a shodily run development can effect resale potential , excessive communal cost is also a factor when it comes to sell.

I will be covering more on this subject over the next few weeks.

Don´t forget you can get posts via your email by registering in the box on the top right hand corner.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bagnara Marina North of Scilla





Continue north past Scilla on the E45 and you will get to Bagnara Marina, well worth a vist just for the views and the restaurant Palma D'oro overlooking the marina.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Waterfront Project in Reggio









Zaha Hadid Architects has revealed these images of its latest project, a museum and performing arts centre in Reggio.

The mayor of Reggio Calabria, Dr Giuseppe Scopelliti, joined Zaha Hadid at a ceremony on Thursday to sign the agreement to design the Regium Waterfront project.

The buildings will sit on a sea strait separating continental Italy from Sicily, and be visible from the Sicilian coast.

Source : BD Architects website

Sunday, February 8, 2009

IMPORTANT RYANAIR INFORMATION

Great News!

Ryanair are once again increasing their schedule to Lamezia.

From the 4th April the route increases to 3 times weekly. Booking early ensures the best prices as always.

Flights will depart and return as from the above date on Fridays, Mondays and Wednesdays.

Get booking!

Interested in Understanding More About Calabria?

Follow the link below, as it is dedicated to the preservation of the Calabrian culture, language and customs.

Something of interest for those who want further insight into this magical place.

http://www.circolocalabrese.org/group/index.asp

Calabria 2010 - Join the Party

During the summer, between June to September, a huge event will be taking place in Calabria, with parties, festivals and general fun.

The mission is as follows -

"During the next two years we will be creating a catalogue of all the major tourist attractions in Calabria so you can make plans to visit them during the summer of 2010."

Calabria is calling everyone all over the world with ancestors (as well as anyone who wants to join in) from Southern Italy to come and join in the fun.

Keep checking our site for full program of events.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Rental Management Companies - The Good , The Bad and The Ugly

I am currently getting a lot of people asking me about rental management companies in the area. I can´t recommend any specific businesses, but I can give you a few words of advice from my experience .

Let me tell you a little story.

After a hard week at work, many years ago, sick of the cold UK weather, a trip to my apartment in Spain for the weekend would be just what I needed. I booked a flight for early Saturday. I thought, because everything was a bit last minute, I wouldn´t bother calling my rental management company, who were diligently looking after my apartment.

When I arrived at my place the following morning, I opened the door and was greeted by suitcases, beer bottles and overflowing ashtrays. I had tenants that I didn´t know that I had, if you catch my drift

Without going into the ridiculous chain of events that ensued, all I need say is I decided I would not be using that company ever again and promised myself that occurance would never be repeated.

Ok, horror story over. What do you do to circumvent rubbish like this?

Here are some points you should follow when selecting a company to fill this position of extreme trust.

Choose a company that knows the local market

Knowledge means that the they know what prospective tenants are looking for. If they are good, they will think of the property as if they were renting it themselves.
Making recommendations to you that will increase overall return while improving the property so that it becomes more desirable, will help increase rental rates, lower turnover and decrease vacancy. The company should be able to advise you on your pricing competitiveness. Always do you own research on price.

Set up a meeting with the company

If the rental management company you are choosing is a good one, they will set up a meeting with all new property owners and go through both parties expectations. Getting to know your property manager will help improve interaction and can give you a good idea of how they will work to improve the return for your property.

Ask your property management company to give you the references of three clients with similar type properties.

Get in contact with these people and ask them questions about all aspects of the service they are getting.

Make sure that every time you call that they answer.

Self explanatory, if they are not answering the phone before you have made an agreement, what will they be like when you have paid them some money?

Make sure your money spends time in your account, not the managers

Property management companies typically collect rents on the first of each month( for long term rentals ) or upfront at the time of arrival for short term. Clarify the timescale for payment and make sure the management company sticks to it. Earning interest on the rental revenue can really add up over time. Some companies will try and keep the revenue in their account as long as possible so that all interest earned is earned in their accounts, not the yours.

Find a company that understands accounting

Accounting for revenues and expenses with investment property can be a difficult task. Organization and great accounting skills will ensure your management company is accounting for your property correctly.

Find a property management company that good relationship with the tenants

Tenants are the lifeblood of your rental income and should be treated accordingly. Satisfied tenants mean referrals.

Make unannounced visits to your property when it is vacant from tenants

This is the true acid test and will give you a clear picture of exactly what is going on.

Hopefully through careful selection you can avoid any unpleasant experiences.

Keep checking for posts on this blog regarding all aspects of owning a property abroad and great tips on whats hot in Calabria.

Happy renting!

If you look to the top right, above the weather indicator, you will see you can be notified of new posts by email. Just so you are aware we hate spam as much as you, so you will only get an update from us as each post is made.

Siderno - Ristorante Vecchia Hosteria

If you havent already been to Siderno, then you should.
There are some great shops and there is a distinctive "buzz" about the place.
I recommend La Vecchia Hosteria on Via Matteotti. Great food, great atmosphere.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Computer Generated Images of the Proposed Messina Straits Bridge




Although the bridge plans had been scrapped under Prime Minister Prodi, Silvio Berluconi had secured funding from the EU to the tune of €65 billion before he was ousted from government.
The project is now going ahead due to Berlusconi returning to power, although timescale for completion is not readily available.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Medsea Looking to De-List from Stock Exchange, for the 2nd Time

Medsea, one of the original companies involved in the Calabria property market have asked to de-list from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in November. This will be the second time they have made this request.

http://www.londonstockexchange.com/LSECWS/IFSPages/MarketNewsPopup.aspx?id=2015881&source=RNS

Their Finance Director resigned in December.

http://www.londonstockexchange.com/LSECWS/IFSPages/MarketNewsPopup.aspx?id=2035714&source=RNS

They are now putting several alternatives to their shareholders, accessing the best way to move forward for them.

Unfortunately, their share price is now trading at 20p from a 52 week high of 13.00.

I appreciate this is hardly breakng news, but there has been so much talk on forums elsewhere on the web, that I though publishing the actual documents submitted would end further conjecture about said company.

Reggio Lungomare (Reggio Seafront)

The seafront in Reggio is absolutely stunning and is one of the most beautiful walks imaginable. Have you ever seen a smoking volcano? You will here on a clear day, as Mount Etna grumbles away across the Messina Straits.
Great bars, tree lined walkways and few tourists.
Magical.

1% Interest Rates!!

On an unrelated subject, that is however close to our hearts, the Bank of England (BoE) have lowered interest rates to 1%. I think we are well on our way to 0%, the building societies are getting worried and are appealing to the BoE enough is enough.

They want it all their way!

Those of us with tracker mortgages may not have to worry about too much month at the end of the money for a while.

Try logging onto First Property Choice Economic Insight for more sarcastic business commentary.

Further Useful Numbers for The Reggio Area

Reggio Train Station Details

Central" Reggio Calabria station Information office
- tel. 0965 899123 - 892021
Customer reception and assistance for the disabled
- Phone 0965 27427)
Railway police (heaven forbid)
- tel. 0965 812177

Car Hire Details ( as always shop around to get the best price)


Avis tel. 0965 643023 http://www.avisautonoleggio.it/

Europcar tel. 0965 643431 http://www.europcar.com/car-ITALY.html

Hertz tel. 0965 643093 http://www.hertz.it/

Maggiore tel. 0965 643148 http://www.maggiore.it/

Taxi Services

Via C. Colombo tel. 0965 27850
Piazza Duomo tel. 0965 27550
Piazza G. Garibaldi tel. 0965 27450

Top Restaurant in Brancaleone

Check out Ristorante Venezia da Luciano for great freshly made pasta dishes. There is a fabulous rooftop balcony for dining in the summer. Incredible value and a real family atmosphere make this a must.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Getting Around By Rail

Here is a site in English that gives you all the information you need in order to travel around Italy by train.

http://www.italiarail.co.uk/

Sila National Park

Here is the link to Sila National Park, all the information you need is provided on these websites

http://www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.sila/Eindex.html

http://www.parcosila.it/en/index.php?sez=4

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Top Tip : Shopping in Reggio

Reggio Di Calabria is an absolute must see, a busy and vibrant place with all the sights and sounds of a thriving town.

If you enjoy retail therapy visit Il Corso Garibaldi this will cater for all your shopping needs and you don´t have to worry about dodging rogue Vespa scooters as the area is pedestrianised during the day.

Alternatively for the culture vultures check out the bronzi di Riace (the Riace Bronzes) in the Museo National Della Magna Grecia ( National Museum of Magna grecia).

Enjoy!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pre-Release Properties Near Tropea



We have been lucky enough to find an exceptional Calabria property development overlooking Tropea. The above picture shows how the views from your terrace would look.

As you can image this sort of unique view close to the best beach in Europe ( according to The Times) will be a little popular, whether there is a credit crunch or not.

This is on a pre release basis and can only be described as breathtaking, Click here to register your interest.

Flights from Stansted to Lamezia

Just to keep you all informed, we have found some great value flights into Calabria on the Ryanair site.

Look hard enough and some Saturday to Tuesday flights are coming in at 100 GBP.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Travel in Calabria


Getting Around Calabria
Car: The A3 or Autostrada del Sol, shown on the map, runs toll-free from Salerno to Reggio Calabria.
By rail: the Rome - Naples - Reggio di Calabria follows the autostrada route. Other lines include the eastern line of Taranto-Sibari-Crotone-Catanzaro Lido - Reggio Calabria and connectors Lamezia-Catanzaro, and Paola-Cosenza.

Airports: Lamezia is Calabria's largest airport, with connections to the main Italian cities and to some European destinations. Minniti Airport in Reggio di Calabria offers flights to Rome and Milan as well as Malta and Madrid in summer. Sant' Anna airport in Crotone is relatively new and offers some international connections like Istanbul, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Monaco.

Ferries: There are connections across the straights of Messina to Sicily. There are also ferries to Malta.

If You Are Buying an Off-Plan Property in Calabria Please Read

In my previous post (entitled Buying Guide) I have given a full breakdown of the procedure and what to expect during your purchase. Something you should double check with your lawyer before you send a penny, is that they have the original copy of the bank guarantee.

Lawyers should do this as a matter of course, however I have seen at first hand monies being released to a developer when all the lawyer had was a promise the guarantee was in the post, everything worked out ok, but you do not want to leave yourself open.

Your bank guarantee is absolutely essential, as it guarantees the deposits you send to the developer. If the unthinkable happens, your money will be returned to you.

Buying your dream home should be a pleasurable experience, so its important you do your groundwork initially. You can then sit back and wait for the time you will be sitting on your terrace, watching the Calabrian sun set, enjoying a glass of Pinot.

Cheers!

Top Restaurant Tip

For fabulous seafood with a view across the Messina Straits, try the restaurant "Il Pirata" in the neighborhood of Chianalea (Scilla).

Sit on the wooden decking and admire the view, whilst eating the most delicious sea food you can ever imagaine.