Xpats

Buying and retiring in Southern Italy

As my readers know, we bought a condo in southern Campania (southern Italy) in 2013. It is about 1.5 hours south of the Amalfi Coast and 2 hours south of Naples. Maybe closer if I drive really really fast. We had no intention to buy a home but while looking for a vacation villa, we came across our new home. The taxes are much lower than in the states, food (outside the big cities) is cheaper and the beaches and mountains are beautiful. The people are friendly and endearing.

We plan to retire there about half time when my wife retires and spend the other half time at our condo in Florida north of Tampa. Both places are cheaper to live and have a good tax structure. Both have great beaches (Clearwater Beach was voted America’s best beach). Italy has better views of both mountains and the sea and has better ancient cities to visit. Life is what you make it. Retirement, in my opinion, should be fun, stimulating and interesting.

This BLOG explores how we bought that condo in Italy, nearby cities as well as Italy’s big major cities. My wife writes a BLOG specifically on Southern Campania. Explore Italy on your vacations and decide if this is a place for you to retire.

Kathleen Peddicord wrote an article on retiring to an affordable Italy for Money.

George

 

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Campania, Closing a property in Italy, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Owning a home in Italy, Xpats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Two Related BLOGs

As most of you know Jo Anne has been working on a much need BLOG about Southern Italy and in particular southern Campania called Mezzogiorno Living. My BLOG, Travel in Italy BLOG, is still about traveling in Europe and in particular Italy. These both BLOGs together will give you a high level view, in my BLOG, and a drilled down detail view of southern Italy, in Jo’s BLOG.

I will be discussing all the places in Europe we travel with emphasis on Italy. Italy is special to both of us. Jo will be discussing what to do in southern Italy. Her BLOG is both a website and a BLOG. Her home page is a regular BLOG with her last BLOG on the top. The sidebar on the right side has a SEARCH box to find anything you are looking for. It searches all BLOGs as well as all her menu pages.

Her menus look at stores, restaurants, beaches, towns etc in Southern Italy. On a smart phone the menu is gotten to by clicking the bars in the upper left hand corner. Each menu may have sub-menus that will take you to pages of information. You will find addresses, phone numbers, links to websites and Trip Advisor links.

When we bought in this area, we had a hard time find local restaurants, supermarkets, stores and interesting towns to visit. I wish we had this site when we were first visiting this area. I hope both sites help you with information and travel in Europe and in Italy. Buon Viaggio!

George

 

Categories: Campania, Customs, Dolce far niente, Europe, Ferries, Festivals, Food, General Travel, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mezzogiorno, Mountain Towns, Owning a home in Italy, Planning a vacation, Regions of Italy, Renting a place in Europe, Romance, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Southern Italy, Supermercato, Traveling without a tour, Xpats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Journey to Own a Home in Italy

 

Many of our readers ask us about owning a home or condo in Italy. What is involved? How did we do it? We bought a condo with a sea view in Velina Italy in Campania. It was a scary and wonderful experience at the same time.  This BLOB is about what you must do after you bought the new place. You need furniture, kitchen ware and storage (Italy doesn’t have closets).

M2 - IMG_5355

OK now you bought a home in another country. You bought a kitchen so you could cook (these are typically not included in a sale). You bought a bed to sleep on maybe a couch and table and chairs. Oh the fun is just beginning! What about all those small things around the house you need but don’t have in your new place. Here is a small list of items we had to get at a local IKEA in Italy:

  1. Bed linens, pillows and a blanket
  2. Mattress pad
  3. Mirror
  4. Toilet brush
  5. Hooks for towels
  6. Math mat
  7. Kitchen towels
  8. Hot pads
  9. Silverware
  10. Pots and pans
  11. Cooking utensils
  12. Wine & water glasses
  13. Bowls
  14. Cork screw and beer bottle opener
  15. Sharp knives
  16. Cheese grater
  17. Cutting boards
  18. Callender
  19. Can opener
  20. Pasta spoon
  21. Napkins
  22. Place mats
  23. Storage containers
  24. Tools (metric system)
  25. Scissors

IMG_4769

Oh the necessities of life are fun. The other problem we will have is we are planning on stopping at IKEA on our way from the airport to our new home. No problem you think? The cars in Italy are tiny. 2 American suitcases and a bunch of stuff from IKEA may strain the car’s capacities. Even so it will be fun and an adventure! We actually had to make a trip back up to the IKEA (about 2 hours) to get our stuff.

The kitchen is small by American standards and the refrigerator is tiny but we must remember we are in Italy! You don’t shop for weeks, you don’t buy processed foods or even frozen foods. You buy fresh each day for what you will need. Suddenly the refrigerator seems large. If you are planning to buy in Europe or live for an extended time, live like the locals. Forget the way you do things back home. It  is, after all, an adventure into learning.

On subsequent trips we bought furniture and a bedroom set with a large armoire. Now we had a place to sleep, eat and lounge. We also had plenty of storage. As we write this BLOG we are having a AC unit installed to help on those few still hot and muggy nights. This summer was the hottest anyone remembers. Be adventuresome!

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Campania, Closing a property in Italy, Europe, IKEA, Italy, Velina, Xpats | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to buy a Place in Italy – Part 19

Well we are back from our second stay at our Italian villa. Life goes on but we still dream of the sites, the people, the food, the wine, the gelato, the beaches … and on and on. In this BLOG we will discuss some of the considerations of buying a place outside the USA. First you need to find your dream place, The internet is full of places for sale. We chose solely on the views. Once you find a place and negotiate your price, you will need to transfer money as a down payment. We did this by wire transfer from our US account to the owners account in Italy. We were working through a realtor in the UK.

Money transfers are a big thing in this day and age of terrorism. Our Homeland Security requires documentation of any foreign account that is over a dollar value even for a day (when we did the transaction it was $50,000). Check the web for current restorations. There is no tax due on this amount (it is NOT the IRS). It just notifies our government that you had an account with substantial funds and the reason. We filed the paperwork and all was well. Not filing can lead to huge fines! In addition the Italian government requires paperwork on amounts over $5,000. We keep our transfers around $4,000 (which lasts a few years).

The next feat was to transfer the amount you will owe at closing. This can be $1000,000 to several million depending on your property. Of course if you take out a foreign mortgage that amount will be reduced by the mortgage amount. We decided to pay cash. The problem we had now was our government requires the person to be present when opening a foreign account. At the time we could not initiate a wire transfer remotely. We would have to fly to Italy open an account, fly back to the US and transfer the funds, then return to Italy for the closing. That would cost an extra $1200 to $1600 in airfare. Luckily we found companies like World First that transfer dollars to Euros and wire them into your foreign account. On smaller amounts they charge a small amount over the World Bank exchange rates. On large amounts they match it. Wiring from an US bank directly would cost a fee plus an extra 4-8% on the amount. If you were wiring even $100,000 that would be $4,000 to $8,000 extra.

In Europe kitchens do NOT typically come with a house (new or resale). People take all appliances, cabinets and sink with them. We had a beautiful tile wall with electric plugs and switches, pipes for water & drainage. That was our kitchen. We bought an entire kitchen and had it installed. It included refrigerator, stove (oven and cook top), sink and cabinets. It fit the wall perfect. We love our kitchen and it didn’t cost anything near what it would in the states. Refrigerators are very small by US standards. You do NOT need a big refrigerator/freezer. Italians use very little frozen items (mostly ice cream and ice cubes). They buy everything fresh each day so the refrigerator doesn’t need to be big. If you are going to buy in Europe, get into the lifestyle. Don’t try to fit our American standards to your European house!

NB - IMG_4770

You will use your foreign account to pay taxes, water bills, garbage pickup bills, electric & gas bills. Most banks have electronic banking so you can control you account from the US. Most also do not translate their pages into English. You have to do some translation on your own and get use to the site. You can also setup auto pay with all bills except taxes and Garbage pickup fees. For us these two are about $500 a year payable half in summer and remaining half in December. The bank website has a special page to pay these taxes.

Tomorrow we will discuss Living style in Italy. Houses are small but people live outside a lot.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Europe, General Travel, Home Land Security, Italy, Money, Owning a home in Italy, Xpats | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

How to buy a Place in Italy – Part 3

OK closing is over we are on our way back to the US but still thinking about our beautiful place in Italy. We begin to plan our next trip. We will spend 11 days (Jo is still working). We choose November (Thanksgiving week) to get us the extra day and to see how the winter is in Velina. We reserve plane tickets, rental car and a hotel for last night in Rome. The drive back to Rome is 4.5 hours and our plane departs at 11 am. It would be a very early morning and risky to attempt this in the same day. We drive up to Fiumicino Airport on Saturday and stay the night so we are ready for a Sunday morning flight back.

There is no kitchen or furniture in our new place. It would be like camping out with a bathroom to stay like this (Jo is not a camper – She has always told be camping is staying in a Hilton with only one bathroom). So we look for a kitchen. Kitchens come in modular form with cabinets, sink, refrigerator, stove and cook top. You can also get a dish washer at the expense of cabinets. We decide on not getting a dishwasher. We did not like the kitchens in the other units of our place. Our condo manager (the owner’s daughter) helps us remotely. We look at kitchen places in Rome but delivery is way too expensive. Maria manages to find a wood cabinet (dark stain) kitchen with everything we want.

NB - IMG_4770

She negotiates a kitchen with a table and 6 chairs for the price of the kitchen. We then decide to get a bed (mattress and frame – Italians do not use a box spring) from the same place. They come and install the kitchen and setup our bed. We are not ready to come back to Velina without camping out.

We find online that our Home Land Security requires a form documenting any foreign deposits over $50,000. If your account had $50,000 or more, even for a day, you must declare it. This is NOT an IRS form. So I download the form and fill it out. The fines are huge if you are caught without doing this. We are now ready for our Thanksgiving in Velina Italy.

Tomorrow we will discuss the Thanksgiving trip, our first stay in Velina and the town and people we met.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Europe, General Travel, Home Land Security, Italy, Owning a home in Italy, Velina, Xpats | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Business in Italy

MR - IMG_4731

We recently bought a condo in southern Italy in the town of Velina (Campania). Two weeks ago we went to open up the place and get some furniture. We found a store that sells furniture and found a love seat, two chairs and a table made of wicker. It would be perfect in the apartment as well as on our patio looking at the sea and sunsets with a glass or two of vino. They, of course, spoke no english and my Italian is very limited. We were concerned that it wouldn’t fit in our car. The man, sensing or problem, brought a truck up and loaded the furniture on board. He didn’t take any credit cards so we had to stop at a local ATM with him following us. Then he followed us up a hill to our new place. He unloaded all the furniture, took it up two flights of stairs and into our apartment. Waited for us to be pleased with it and then, and only then took the money!

Categories: Campania, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Velina, Xpats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An XPATs Journey to Own a Home in Italy

English: Logo of Ikea.

English: Logo of Ikea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK now you bought a home in another country. You bought a kitchen so you could cook (these are typically not included in a sale). You bought a bed to sleep on maybe a couch and table and chairs. Oh the fun is just beginning! What about all those small things around the house you need but don’t have in your new place. Here is a small list of items we had to get at a local IKEA in Italy:

  1. Bed linens, pillows and a blanket
  2. Mattress pad
  3. Mirror
  4. Toilet brush
  5. Hooks for towels
  6. Math mat
  7. Kitchen towels
  8. Hot pads
  9. Silverware
  10. Pots and pans
  11. Cooking utensils
  12. Wine & water glasses
  13. Bowls
  14. Cork screw and beer bottle opener
  15. Sharp knives
  16. Cheese grater
  17. Cutting boards
  18. Callender
  19. Can opener
  20. Pasta spoon
  21. Napkins
  22. Place mats
  23. Storage containers
  24. Tools (metric system)
  25. Scissors

Oh the necessities of life are fun. The other problem we will have is we are planning on stopping at IKEA on our way from the airport to our new home. No problem you think? The cars in Italy are tiny. 2 American suitcases and a bunch of stuff from IKEA may strain the car’s capacities. Even so it will be fun and an adventure!

The kitchen is small by American standards and the refrigerator is tiny but we must remember we are in Italy! You don’t shop for weeks, you don’t buy processed foods. You buy fresh each day for what you will need. Suddenly the refrigerator seems large. If you are planning to buy in Europe or live for an extended time, live like the locals. Forget the way you do things back home. It  is, after all, an adventure into learning.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Campania, Eating Italian, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Velina, Xpats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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