Restoring a home in Piemonte

Buying a House to Restore

Should you consider a restoration project in Piedmont?

There are pros and cons to taking on such a project. If you asked me the question 6 years ago I’d say there were probably more pros than cons, but not these days. I think there’s a much stronger argument against restoring. Let me explain.

There are far fewer houses for restoration on the market
Not much comes on the market these days. All the good ruins have been bought (some do come up occasionally). The temptation might be to restore something that has good potential but is a compromise on location. That might be fine but then one day you decide to sell and lose a fortune. I’ve seen it many times.

Restoration can be expensive and can be tough
Builder were cheaper in the past. They did a lot without paying taxes so prices were lower. Now everything is checked by the tax office. You can’t draw more than €1,000 from your bank account without the Taxman writing you a nice letter expressing how much he’d like you to visit his office.. to pay a fine.

Now the potential problems. I’ve known plenty of people that have taken on restoration projects and most say the same thing - if they knew it was going to be so hard, so stressful, they never would have done it. The bureaucracy here can be challenging and restoring ancient stone houses that are held together with mud is bound to be trouble. Estimates generally end up being half of the real cost and time estimates the same. Someone contacted me recently for some advice. He’d bought a project and so far has spent €700,000 on it. I think it’s worth €300,000 at the most - when they eventually get to finish it. You must get good, honest help.

Life is short! Buy a house that’s ready to move into
The alternative is to buy a house that’s ready to move into. A lot of people have restored and some areas of their houses might be a little unfinished. Great! You get a project and when it’s done you’ll still be in love with it. No painful memories! And house prices are lower now. €450,000 can get you a very nice house, with furniture!

Piedmont Guide Book