Real estate law

Property Renovation in Italy

Renovating a house in Italy

Managing a renovation from one’s home country can be challenging. Obtaining permits, hiring subcontractors and architectural designers, budgeting, and dealing with legal and contractual issues can be overwhelming. Add to that an unfamiliarity with the legislation, rules, and language of another country, and the task can be unnerving and should not be underestimated.

Foreign investors are understandably drawn to the traditional Italian farmhouses and those charismatic villas and apartment buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, many of these properties were left to decline and decay when their occupants left the countryside and are in need of renovation, restoration, or partial reconstruction.

Renovating a luxury home in Italy

With a luxury renovation, you can bring to life all the dreams and desires that have always composed your personal vision of the ideal home in Italy. For the master bedroom, a spacious walk-in closet can be added, where practicality and comfort combine with elegance and luxury: comfortable leather seating, retractable or ceiling-descending shelves, targeted lighting inside and outside the shelves.

For those who enjoy company, a home theater is ideal for entertaining friends on different occasions: a large screen, state-of-the-art audio system, and equipped armchairs will dominate the most sought-after room in the house. If you prefer to have a private relaxation corner within reach, building a sauna adjacent to the bathroom or even outdoors in the garden is the right idea to satisfy your needs.

Luxury Materials? All of them, as long as they are pure

When choosing luxury materials for high-end renovations, the basic rule that applies to all is purity. Whether it’s wood, carbon steel, or stone, the naturalness and originality of the material are fundamental. Different materials can be juxtaposed to enhance their respective characteristics and, in many cases, modernize their style. For example, marble and steel can be used together in both the finishes and furnishings of different areas of the house, from the kitchen to the bathroom, from fitted walls to tables.

In the case of a historic dwelling or an old house in general, it is advisable to maintain a proper balance between the new and the old, creating a continuous dialogue between the historical and the contemporary in order to enhance both resulting aspects of the new home. For instance, the living room fireplace can be adorned with light-colored, smooth-finished natural stone. Stone is a durable and long-lasting material that, when used to clad the fireplace, highlights its traditional aspect while also showcasing the modernity of the choice.

Home Automation: When Technology Meets Italian Luxury

Aesthetic choices during renovation should always be accompanied by the functionality of the new home. In a luxury renovation, elements of home automation are a must-have today. Home automation is a discipline that focuses on the study of technologies aimed at improving the quality of life in the home by enhancing security, simplifying the use of technology, reducing energy waste, and consequently, management costs.

Having a smart home, where integrated systems are installed and all functions of the house can be managed through a digital wired system, means having total control both at home and remotely through a simple smartphone. Thanks to home automation, it is possible to control lights, manage the heating system, the alarm system, and even the opening and closing of blinds.

Renovated property in Florence, Tuscany
A fine example of renovated property by Architect in Italy

When is an Italian home legally classified as luxury?

It’s not uncommon to come across misleading advertisements on major real estate websites, where properties are wrongly labeled as luxury homes. Unknowingly, potential buyers could end up paying a 9% registration tax, which can make a significant difference when considering a property valued at €300,000 to €400,000. Frustrated with the lack of knowledge displayed by some real estate agents, I decided to write this article to help you independently identify whether a house is truly luxurious or not, regardless of what an ill-prepared agent might tell you.

Luxury homes aren’t limited to villas. They also include houses or apartments within buildings, condominiums, or structures with a volume exceeding 2,000 cubic meters. According to the regulatory text, the loss of benefits would occur when the total usable area exceeds 240 square meters (excluding balconies, terraces, cellars, attics, stairs, and parking spaces). The exclusion should apply only to the mentioned areas, not the entire non-walkable surface area, including the perimeter and dividing walls.

Luxury homes can also be defined by having at least four of the following characteristics (a simpler identification parameter):

  • Total usable area exceeding 160 square meters (excluding terraces, balconies, cellars, attics, stairs, garages, and parking spaces).
  • Terraces with an area of over 65 square meters serving a single urban property.
  • More than one elevator per staircase. Each additional elevator counts as a characteristic if the staircase serves fewer than seven floors.
  • Service stairs not prescribed by laws or regulations or not necessary for preventing accidents or fires.

In addition, the presence of high-quality materials on elevator walls, with specific characteristics, can contribute to defining a luxury home, along with three other parameters, for example, when serving less than four floors.

The presence of swimming pools or tennis courts also categorizes a property as luxury. To simplify the identification process, I have included a table in the regulations that governs the characteristics of luxury homes.

Other more technical scenarios: there are other cases that require the assistance of a technical professional to determine whether a property is considered luxury or not. Parameters for such cases involve evaluating the ratio of the cost of the covered land and appurtenances compared to the construction cost, where the former exceeds the latter by more than 150%.

Renovated Villa in Tuscany’s countryside. Courtesy of Casa & Country

Relevant italian law changes in real estate luxury classification

With the judgment 114/01/12 of October 16, the Regional Tax Commission of Trieste confirmed that even though attics have not yet received the habitability requirements specified in the decree of the Ministry of Health of July 5, 1975, the total square meters needed to identify the requirements for considering a property as luxury must also include the attic. The same ruling considered the non-livable basement as usable space (Cassation, judgment 10807 of June 28).

Implications on tax benefits

The categorization of a property as a luxury home, rather than a common residence, often excludes access to significant tax benefits. For example, the “first home” tax benefits can cause the registration tax to skyrocket from 2% to 9% of the cadastral value of the property.

There is also a new benefit for houses given in loan for use to children or parents, providing a 50% reduction in IMU and TASI taxes.

Update: Article 33 of the simplification decree, Legislative Decree 21 November 2014, no. 175, modifies the criteria for identifying residential properties that can benefit from the “first home” tax relief for value-added tax (VAT) purposes. As a result, the 4% VAT rate applies only to transfer or establishment acts.

TALIAN ARCHITECTS FOR LUXURY RENOVATION

Embarking on a luxury home renovation or villa makeover in Italy is an exciting endeavor, but it requires meticulous planning, impeccable design, and flawless execution. That’s where architectinItaly.com’s team of skilled architects comes in. With their unrivaled expertise, attention to detail, and deep understanding of Italian architecture and craftsmanship, ArchitectinItaly.com stands as the premier choice for transforming your dream residence into a stunning reality. Here are compelling reasons why appointing an ArchitectinItaly.com architect is the key to a truly exceptional luxury home renovation experience.

Unparalleled Architectural Vision

ArchitectinItaly.com’s architects possess a remarkable ability to blend creativity and functionality seamlessly. With a deep appreciation for the unique character and heritage of Italian architecture, they bring forth visionary designs that preserve the soul of your property while infusing it with modern luxury. Their creative vision ensures that your renovated home stands out as a masterpiece that combines contemporary elegance with timeless Italian charm.

Tailored Design Solutions

Every luxury home renovation project demands a personalized touch to reflect your individual style and aspirations. ArchitectinItaly.com’s architects prioritize understanding your specific requirements, preferences, and lifestyle to craft bespoke design solutions. From conceptualizing awe-inspiring living spaces to curating exquisite materials, finishes, and fixtures, their attention to detail ensures an immaculate blend of luxury, functionality, and sophistication that surpasses expectations.

Extensive Expertise and Experience

With a proven track record in prestigious luxury renovations across Italy, ArchitectinItaly.com’s architects possess a wealth of experience in managing high-profile projects. Their comprehensive knowledge of local building regulations, permits, and construction techniques guarantees a seamless renovation process. Through meticulous project management, they ensure that every aspect, from structural enhancements to the finest interior details, is executed flawlessly, on time, and within budget.

Integration of Sustainability

ArchitectinItaly.com understands the growing importance of sustainable design and environmentally conscious living. Their architects seamlessly integrate eco-friendly practices into your luxury home renovation. By incorporating energy-efficient systems, utilizing sustainable materials, and implementing innovative technologies, they create residences that not only exude opulence but also minimize their ecological footprint, setting new standards in luxury living.

Collaboration with Artisans and Craftsmen

Italy is renowned for its rich heritage of craftsmanship, and ArchitectinItaly.com’s architects have forged strong connections with skilled artisans and craftsmen throughout the country. Collaborating with these master artisans, they can source exquisite materials and incorporate intricate details that elevate the aesthetics and authenticity of your renovated home. From artisanal mosaics to custom-made furniture, the result is a truly bespoke living environment that reflects the highest levels of craftsmanship.



Cost of renovating a house in italy

Main renovation worksPrice fromPrice to
Walls demolition800€5000€
Floors2800€20000€
Whitening and shaving400€4000€
Kitchen2500€5000€
Bathroom3000€5000€
Electrical system1500€3000
Hydraulic system3000€5000
Heating and air conditioning280€3100€
Insulation and fixtures3000€25000€
Scaffolding (optional) – public land2000€9000€

Agreement between owner and contractor for construction in Italy

The next crucial step is to work out the contractual part of the renovation. In Italy, construction agreements with an Italian supplier are ruled by the standing Italian Regulation (precisely Civil Code Articles 1655 to 1677) on the matter in terms of liabilities, insurance and eventual damage. Article 1655 of the Italian Civil Code entitled “notion” defines this type of contract and states verbatim: “The construction agreement is the contract by which a party assumes, with the organization of the necessary means and with management at its own risk, the completion of a work or service for a fee”.  

Renovation work is to be carried out in a workman-like manner; more specifically, with professional and technical expertise. Accordingly, the contractor is duty-bound to detect any inaccuracies and/or defects present in the building project that could hinder or negatively affect the construction work and immediately notify the client.

Italian renovation contract sample

Download a free template of an Italian renovation contract drafted by ILF attorneys

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Property renovations and construction: the Italian Laws

In regards to property renovations requested by private individuals, the selected construction company in charge of the renovation work is obliged to sign two mandatory insurance and liability related policies:

1) a provisional, definite surety, and 2) a posthumous ten-year policy.

These insurance obligations are mandatory because they serve to cover financial areas, namely, to guarantee sureties to entities and individuals, and to offer coverage for the various risks which may incur in connection with the construction site activities and/or the after-effects of construction.

The ten-year posthumous coverage on the building for damage to the work and to third parties is another fundamental element of an insurance coverage for construction companies: in fact the builder is obliged by law, in public contracts where the amount exceeds the threshold provided for by art. 35 of Legislative Decree 50/2016 (or where provided by the Client) or in contracts between individuals in the case of the sale of future property (pursuant to Law 210/04 and subsequent amendments), to take out ten-year posthumous insurance for the works when completed. In addition, the obligation also extends to the stipulation of a related liability insurance for a construction company that protects the company in case of damage to third parties and/or people (and not only).

Crucial to any renovation project are the owners’ preferences and requests in regards to aesthetics, facilities, and utilization. Decisions made with respect to the architectural design of the building depend on whether it will be used by an individual, family, or for commercial activity such as a rental for tourists.

Our highly-skilled team of resourceful English-speaking architects, engineers, surveyors and real estate developers are here to provide you with the comprehensive assistance a foreign investor needs to successfully navigate renovating a property in Italy, without the need to personally oversee the entire procedure. You will be provided with legal assistance from beginning to end, project proficiency, and state-of-the-art technical and architectural expertise to guarantee a smooth and steady progression during the entire renovation process.

Our Services

  • We provide our clients with straightforward communication in English on all matters to establish continuous, attentive onsite assistance.
  • We share our leading-edge, innovative technology with our clients to allow them to personally design their dream house.
  • Our knowledgeable and inventive architects and engineers advise clients and suggest innovative options applicable for all properties, from private homes to investment properties for tourists or international students.
  • We offer solutions to minimize utility costs such as installing electricity automatic stops, electronic keys, and various options for managing your property overseas. Advice from insiders experienced in Italian bureaucracy and daily needs is priceless!
  • We create videos and daily reports in English updating our clients on the construction site progress.
  • We help our clients budget by providing a minimum of three pricing quotes (luxury, mid-range, and budget) to ensure that every client stays within their estimated expenses.

The contents of this page should not be taken as an authoritative statement of Italian law and practice. Neither the author nor the publisher are responsible for the results of actions taken on the basis of information contained in this summary, nor for any errors or omissions. This text is not intended to render legal, accounting or tax advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional advice concerning specific matters before making any decision.

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