Monday, March 30, 2009

What Should my Preliminary Contract Contain

Although this post doesn´t constitute legal advise, it will give you a guideline as to what to expect within the private contract.

• detailed cadastrale description of the land;

• ownership of the land and related title deed( s ) ;

• good standing of the land (mortgages and any
other legal burden have to be fully detailed, i f
a n y ) ;

• planning authorizations issued ;

• duration of the building works and exact time
when the property will be finished, transferred
and handed over.

Any contract must therefore contain the following annexes :

• a plan of the entire development ;
• a plan of the single building unit ;
• a detailed description of the building specifications , which the developer should carefully follow during the building works .

The above would be regarded the basic structure you should look out for in all preliminary contracts.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Worlds Biggest Black Coral Reef Discovered in Calabria

The largest forest of black coral has been found off Calabrian shores.

Marine biologists made the discovery close to the Scilla region, overlooking the Straits of Messina.

''This is the first time these rare and protected species have been observed and studied in their natural habitat thanks to the sophisticated robot,'' said project chief Simonepietro Canese.

Calabria's marine diversity is currently subject to a survey and will continue next year.

Source :Ansa

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AirFrance-KLM complete 25% purchase of Alitalia

The deal has been concluded today at a cost of €323 Millions, this will further increase their access to the Italian domestic routes Alitalia currently have, helped by their recent acquisition of Air One.

Lets hope that they address the cost of some of their internal flights!

Press Articles for Calabria Property

There have been two articles giving some negative feedback on some Calabria property developments within the space of three weeks.

Most of the projects that both articles refer to,I cannot give insight into, as we do not work with company who promoted them.

Jewel of the Sea is a project that we have offered, although it was only the front line beach phase and we have just been informed that VFI are withdrawing from further promotion of this development. Until we hear the official story we will not be offering this project until further notice.

I have questioned two lawyers within the region about environmental issues hindering the construction progress and there is little or no knowledge of this and no official statement given. I had hoped to get to Calabria this month, to try and clarify the situation personally but have had to postpone the trip.

I really don´t want to speculate until I am in possession of all the facts, then I will relay them to you in an honest and straightforward fashion. Communication is key in the current environment and although this can take time please be sure that I will always do my best to pass on relevant information.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Former Italcitrus plant in Reggio Calabria will House Futuristic New Complex.

Architects AKA, a Rome company, have just been successful in an architecture competition with their proposal entitled "Digital Origami".

The complex will house television and audio-visual production facilities, as well as exhibition spaces for temporary installations and film festivals.
The project involves restoring four of the six existing buildings, demolishing the other two and construction a new, semicircular building with a piazza at its centre.

The competition was announced on April 2008 with the submission deadline on September 2008, the jury decision was publicly announced on March 2009.

The project contract is foreseen to be held near the end of 2009. The construction timeline stands on 18 months.

Organizers: Reggio Calabria local authority.
Development cost: 6.650.000 €
Area: 10.200 sq m

Source : Dezeen

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ryanair Article From The Times Newspaper

For those of you who missed the article " 20 reasons not ro fly Ryanir" yesterday in The Times here it is...........

1. 1p flights are never 1p

Even if you strike it lucky and find a 1p flight you actually want to take, Ryanair charge you for the pleasure of paying for it. To the tune of £4.75. For each passenger. Each way.
And that doesn’t even include

2. The check-in charge

If you want to book a bag into the aircraft hold you must check in at the airport, which will cost you £4.75 per passenger, per way, if you book online and a whopping £10 per passenger, per way if you pay at the airport or over the phone. And it doesn’t matter if only one person in your party takes a bag, everyone else still has to pay to check in at the airport too.
This week Ryanair announced that it’s all change from May when airport check in will rocket to £20 per person, per way. That is a grand total of £160 for a return flight as a family of four.
All without factoring in…

3. The baggage charge

Which is an extortionate £9.50 per bag, per flight. Or £19 if you book at the airport or over the phone.

4. The sneaky weight limit

Ryanair set its weight limit for hold luggage at 15kg catching the majority of passengers off guard.
You’re not allowed to pool bags either so, even if you have a party of four sharing luggage, if the bag weighs 16kg you will be charged £14 per additional kilo. Nevermind that it makes not a jot of difference to the weight of the aeroplane.

5. Queues glorious queues

If you’re still talking to your partner following the inevitable blazing row about why you shouldn’t just pay the bloody charges listed above, you won’t be after being told to join the back of the enormous queue at the ‘payments’ desk.

6. The additional baggage charge

Probably best to wear all of your clothes at once on the flight if you are travelling somewhere for more than a couple of days (until Ryanair start charging passengers for excess body weight that is). Check more than one bag in and it will cost you another £19 per extra piece of luggage, per way.

7. The website is rubbish. On purpose.

You have no choice but to book a Ryanair flight through its website so the airline may as well make it as stressful an experience as possible. The website is ugly for starters, and it crashes. All the time.
Because you can’t easily browse for dates when cheap flights are available you have to dedicate at least five precious hours of your life to sitting in front of the screen and laboriously trying different combinations to find a good deal.
And if you don’t understand what the hell you’ve just pressed there is no one to e-mail. Because Ryanair want you to spend more money and phone its…

8. Premium rate internet helpline

Calls cost £1 a minute to speak to someone in a call centre. Be amazed if you can explain what your problem is for under a fiver.

9. You can only fly cheap mid week

To get the bargains that make the pain of Ryanair worth the gain you have to be prepared to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, which can rule out the bargain European weekend break. Kind of why you wanted to book with Ryanair in the first place.

10. You have to travel at obscene hours.

Not only are you travelling on a Tuesday you also have to be prepared to wake up at 2am to get to the airport two hours ahead of your 6.55am flight. Or, if you choose a more civilised evening departure time, arrive in your destination at midnight with no where to stay because…

11. The destination airports are in the middle of nowhere.

Don’t expect to fly to Frankfurt if you book a flight to Frankfurt, to name one of many examples. Frankfurt Hahn airport where Ryanair land is 120 km from the city centre.

12. A bottle of water on board costs £3

I know the moral of this story is to buy a drink from WH Smith before you board, but it’s still annoying.

13. Sweaty, plasticky seats

Whatever you do, don’t wear shorts or you might be stuck to your seat forever and forced to listen to…

14. The in-flight musak

Pray that your flight is not delayed before it takes off or you’ll have to put up with the bleepy, computer-game inspired musak that is played on loop as your board, over, and over.
15. The fanfare

Do we really need the shrill fanfare that sounds when/if the flight lands on time? Or does it just ruin the first three minutes of each passenger's holiday?

16. You can’t book a seat

As if the British holiday ritual of crowding round the baggage carousel isn’t enough to warrant the use of blood-thinning medication, Ryanair invite you to partake in the extreme sport that is racing across the tarmac to get a seat next to your companion. Flip flops are a distinct disadvantage.

17. No refunds, ever Unless you have a spare few days to waste do not even bother trying.

18. Poor compensation

A report by the UK’s Air Transport Users Council has found that the world’s airlines lost more than one million bags in 2007 and more than 42 million pieces of luggage were mishandled worldwide.
Guess who it named as the worst airline for compensation if your bag goes missing or is damaged?

19. You are always being flogged stuff

No we don't want your ridiculously overpriced travel insurance, car hire or Ryanair tea-towels. Go away.

20. Michael O’Leary himself
Don't tell me you can bear to make him any more smug?

Somehow I think the journalist responsible for this has an axe to grind with said company!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Calabria Property - When its Time to Sell!

Ok, you are probably thinking why would someone who owns a real estate company be giving me this advice?

Simple. This is something that more and more people are doing, I am not going to pontificate to you about how using an agent is the only way to go, because truthfully it isn´t. You have a choice,in fact most people who try and sell their property privately will use an agent in conjunction with their own efforts, don´t forget the bigger the audience the better the chance of you selling.

Anyway, that's enough of me trying to explain why I´m offering advice, here is some information that will help you -

Selling Your Calabria Property

A real estate agents role consists of advertising property;

  • advising on value
  • taking good photos of the property
  • writing a good honest description
  • co-ordinate and conduct viewing and deal with offers.

Now I´m sure none of the above activities are beyond any of you reading this blog.

Advertising Your Property in Calabria Online

Online marketing for property is growing at such a rapid rate, that getting your property out to the masses has never been easier, so this is way you are going to go.

There are many online services you can choose to sell them privately and I´m not going to advertise any of them here.I think it is better if you do some research yourself , as I described for rental companies, use some phrases on Google search that people would type in if looking for a property. Ie Calabria property, property in Calabria etc.


  • Get good clear photographs of your property
  • Think of all the benefits and list them
  • Establish a fair price by market comparison
  • Choose a good property portal that shows high up in Google for selected key words
  • Check terms and conditions and how you are billed from the portal
  • Arrange a key holding service to show prospective clients if you are not there
  • Make sure you have a good lawyer who can draw up contracts
  • Negotiate offers hard, its your money!

I know many people who have employed this method, with varying degrees of success so it does work.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Alitalia Special Offers

Alitalia are running a special promotion on specific Italian and European destinations, Reggio Dello Stretto is included, so keep your eyes peeled for flight bargains. The offer is between 29th March and 20th September 2009.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Company Flying Rome - Lamezia

Blue Express ( )is operating a new connecting service from Rome Fiumicino to Lamezia 6 days per week.

For the initial launch they are offering 2000 tickets at heavily discounted rates (around Euros 24.99!).

Increased accessibilty is good news for everybody, lets hope we see more airlines following.

Google Statistics

I did a little research on Google to find out how many people are showing an interest in property in Calabria.

Over the last year there have been approximately 4400 searches per month for the phrase "Calabria property" typed into Google, with the highest month being April last year.

The reason I have included this is for those of you who bought property in Calabria for investment purposes, even though the market has softened considerably, there is still a healthy interest within the region.

I will include rental search statistics in my next post, as we are starting to enter the time of year where if you have a completed property you need to start getting it out there if you want some summer rental income.

The above figures are taken directly from Google Adwords and although they are not 100% accurate they give a good guideline of appetite for any given market.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Economic Cycles

Although this is not directly related to Calabria, I am reading a book published in 1937, called Investment for Appreciation by Lawrence Angas.

There is a section that outlines economic cycles and includes the sequence :

  • Revival
  • Prosperity
  • Boom and Credit Crisis
  • Collapse
  • Recession and Repeat Cycle

It shows that the current pattern of events and economic news are a piece in a jigsaw that repeats itself again and again.

We are currently in the recession stage of the cycle, so lets see how long it takes to get to Revival!

Calabria Property Snagging

For the uninitiated "snagging" is where you examine your newly finished property before delivery and create an inventory of faults, poor workmanship etc, to be corrected.

This stage is crucial, as if its not done properly you could be spending money down the line to fix things that could have been rectified by the developer.

I have included the basics here (the list could be bigger, but I have included the essentials) so you have a cursory understanding of what should be checked, although professional help is advisable if you are unsure or this is totally alien to you.

  • Check services, fixtures and the building internally and externally.
  • Check electricity supply
  • Water, turn on the taps, flush toilets
  • Check your white goods (cookers, fridges etc).
  • Ensure sockets and switches are straight and flush with the wall
  • Study your paint work.
  • Make sure your floors are level
  • Check floor tiles/for scratching
  • Look for possible leaks and damp patches
  • Check mirrors for scratches
  • Any cracks in plasterwork
  • Always check in daylight hours, preferably on a sunny day, as that really shows up poor workmanship.

After you have checked all your rooms, draw up a list of incomplete work or things that you are not happy with, then ensure the builder gets the list (probably through your lawyer) also make sure there is an agreed timescale for the work.

Never ever feel pressured to sign off until you are 100% happy that your requests have been met.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Somewhere to Eat After Your Flight into Lamezia

Strangely enough if you did not feel like the curly sandwiches on offer on your flight to Lemezia, don' t worry because close to the airport you have the Bufalé Café ( Commerciale Due Mare, Maida).

Great Pizzas, fast service for the price of a Burger King.

Michael Oleary Promise = 107,000 Free Ryanair Flights

Michael O'Leary of Ryanair made a promise of free flights, linked to the performance of Airlingus of which they own 29%.

Figures released today by Airlingus mean that Ryanair should be giving away 107,000 free flights!

Maybe the money will be made back by the £1 per toilet visit business model he wants to employ.

Source : Bloomberg

Monday, March 9, 2009

Trying to get an Accurate Average Price per SQ. Metre in Calabria

I have been trying to get a proper average price per M2 in the Calabria region for my clients and myself for some time. did a great survey and produced the value of advertised property which I posted previously.

The Global Property Guide produced a survey similar to that of Italy Mag, however the figure of Euro 7054 per metre was a snapshot of capital city living, rather than the emerging Southern Italy.

Nomisma publishes average prices for some areas, semi-annually and has done since December 1990, but not for Calabria! Il Consulente Immobiliare have actual transaction statistics but the information isn't easily obtainable.

We have already done a calculation of this for our clients on the majority of licenced projects in the region, but am looking to produce a "total" guide as soon as I can.

"Yes, There is a Recession, But its Not Tragic"

The omnipotent Silvio Berlusconi (Italian Prime Minister and the person who made the above quote) seems bullish about his goals for Southern Italy and Sicily, after wanting to push on with the Messina Straits bridge construction.

Mr. Berlusconi is the richest man in Italy, and knows a thing or two about making money. He has been involved in property development along with several other businesses that help contribute to his billionaire status.

The new centre left Democratic party leader Dario Franceshcini commented that Mr. Berlusconi "sits in his golden bunker and has no idea what ordinary people are going through".

Of course we are in a recession at the moment, but in my mind positive thinking and action is what will get us through, as history demonstrates. Although Mr. Berlusconi isn't in a position to feel the financial pain many are experiencing, at least he is pursuing a venture that will help the Southern Italy economy immeasurably for years to come and shows his commitment to bringing parity between the North and South.

A contributing factor to the current climate is undoubtedly consumer sentiment and until that returns, we won't see an upturn in the economy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Special Treat in Crotone

For those of you who love top class food, Ristorante La Sosta di Marcello in Crotone is one of the best restaurants in the Calabria region.

Really exceptional food here and critically acclaimed.

I have included the link below for you to have a look at. A word of warning - this place isn't cheap, but if you have a special occasion its well worth the price and the journey!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mortgages in Calabria

I know many of you will be looking into what mortgages are available currently and in a previous post I gave you an idea of cost. Following on from that I thought I would give you a brief synopsis of the requirements and a basic outline of whats available. I will be going into this in more detail over the coming weeks.

Mortgage Criteria
Mortgages will be in Euros and are secured against property. Mortgages in Italy are full status, so you will need to demonstrate income.
80% of the purchase price is the maximum available. Italian lenders look at how easily you can meet your monthly payments, as a guideline, your outgoings as well as your repayments on your new mortgage should not exceed 35% of your gross monthly income.Rental income you receive can also be considered.

Available Mortgages
You can mortgage both new and old property. The property must be registered at the land registry and be deemed habitable. Please note that the criteria for ‘habitable’is set by the local authorities and without this certificate a mortgage will be refused.

Types of mortgages available
Both interest-only and repayment mortgages are available, on a variable or fixed-rate basis, or a combination of both.
Terms can be from 5 to 40 years, however loans must be repaid by the age of 85.

Here is what you will need to produce proof of -
identity & residenceincome & outgoingsBank statementsProperty details

How long will it take?
An agreement in principle can take approximately five working days. However, for loan amounts in excess of €750,000 this may take longer.

Life Assurance
Not compulsory in Italy

Building insurance
The lender will insist you take this out with their recommended provider, look into the specifics it covers, because it will usually cover the absolute minimum

Italian Bank Account
You will need to open an Italian bank account , from which your mortgage repayments will be debited.
Keep checking for more information on mortgages in Calabria, or simply add your email address at the right to get posts each time they are issued and remember do your research before proceeding with any financial product.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Role of an International Real Estate Company

I have been thinking carefully about this subject for some time, having been operating within the industry for years, I find it really sad reading some of the stories posted on many of the forums. Many purchasers are left in the dark during the construction process and in some cases as soon as their deposit is paid.

I don´t want to appear like I´m preaching, but this business requires more than that of your local estate agent in England.

There currently seems to be concern on some of the forums about delays on various projects, this is really annoying for you all and I appreciate that. What I think seems to be more annoying (correct me if I am wrong) is lack of clear information on why.

Correct information can be difficult to obtain, especially when different languages and cultures are involved, but I do think it is up to the selling agent to push for answers, rather the buyer.

Through my experience I can´t think of any international development in an emerging market that has finished exactly on time and although I am far from complacent about this, there are a whole host of dynamics that have adverse effects on the stated completion times eg. weather, issues with subcontractors etc.

What I will add is that although it may take time I WILL get answers for my clients to most questions they pose and hope that they feel they can trust us to do so, rather than waste their own time going around in circles!

What I do find sad, is that many clients end up looking to agents who do provide clear information as they aren´t getting any from the company they originally signed up with.
On a positive note the current economic climate will ensure only the those who deliver great service will survive, removing shoddy operators and leaving the companies willing to go that extra mile.

Good news for the property industry and for you, the client.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Euro Weakens as Jean- Claude Trichet Comments

The European Central Bank alluded to further rate cuts, leading to the Euro weakening. If you are needing to buy Euros keep an eye out for more announcements from Mr. Trichet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rightmove Warn of Scam

Hello to you all.

I thought this press release, detailing a current scam, was relevant to everyone owning a property overseas - I have included the article below.

Rightmove has warned owners of homes overseas to be wary of companies offering to buy their properties. The property portal has become aware that some companies are approaching owners currently selling their properties and are claiming to be associated with Rightmove's overseas division, Rightmove Overseas.

Rightmove Overseas deals directly with property advertisers and has no relationships with companies that purchase property from vendors, the online property advertiser has said. Rightmove currently has relationships with just two companies:, which is part of the Rightmove Group, and The Rightmove Abroad.

Neither of these two companies would offer to buy property abroad.Head of overseas at Rightmove, Robin Wilson, said: "We gather that certain companies are contacting vendors, usually via another website they are advertising on. They imply they are commercially associated with Rightmove and tell the vendor that they represent large investors who can make an offer on the property."The companies operate a scheme, which Wilson describes as being "too good to be true": "

They explain that they already have the funds available to purchase the property outright, but the vendor must pay a security bond, typically one per cent of the property value, in order to release a 10 per cent deposit."Rightmove Overseas is warning its customers to be aware of potential scams.

The company is particularly concerned that in this case the Rightmove name is being used to imply credibility. Wilson clarified Rightmove's stance on overseas property purchases: "Rightmove Overseas only markets properties for sale from our advertisers. We don't get involved in any transactions with companies offering to buy overseas properties and are categorically not engaged with, intending to acquire or looking to partner with anyone operating like this."Anyone who receives a communication from companies claiming to be affiliated with Rightmove should check that emails come from an address ending in

If consumers have any suspicions they should contact Rightmove Overseas.

Source: HolidayLettings

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Wrong Way to Value a Property

Having been working within the international property industry for years, I have seen many things, from ridiculous capital growth projections, sky high rental promises to plain unprofessional conduct.

The problem with any sort of prediction is you can´t really use previous years growth or performance to predict what you will get in the future ( I sound like my stockbroker now!). It is also worth noting that just because an agent tells you that property has inceased by over 20% this year, that doesn´t mean someone will walk in and pay 20% more. A property is only worth the price a buyer wants to pay for it. I always laugh when I hear "on paper its now worth x amount".

My favourite, though has always been the valuation process undertaken by some agents.

Some familiar dialogue

Client : So, Mr. Real Estate Agent, I want to sell my property, what price would you suggest?

Real Estate Agent : How much do you want for it?

Client : Well, I was very much hoping that you could give me an idea.

Real Estate Agent : Yes but, how much do you want for it?

Client: Arrrg!

A good agent will give you solid examples, he will show comparisons of similar properties in the region, if your property is in a development then he will know it like the back of his hand.

Although in reality it is a far less exact science than back in the UK or USA, there is still enough information around to give good advice on price and sales strategy.

But remember, do your market research too and get a few valuations before you decide on what price is right.