With the lira-euro conversion several years ago and the weakened dollar, the price of Italian real estate for foreigners has skyrocketed. Many of us just assumed that owning a piece of la dolce vita, especially in Tuscany, was out of reach. Maybe not, according to Vera Marie Badertscher, who introduces our readers to the concept of fractional ownership — starting at an investment of $90,000 plus yearly fees — in our latest newsletter issue:
The first choice, purchase of fractional real estate, gives you a deed for your share (often one-eighth to one-tenth), so you can sell the real estate or leave it to your children and grandchildren. Someone else takes care of decorating and maintenance and provides amenities like personal shoppers, transportation, spas and concierge service. Family members and friends can use the property just as they could stay in your home-because it is your home.
Fractional real estate accompanied by luxury services frequently may be known as a private residence club, or PRC. Many PRCs own other properties around the world and you can swap your time in your own for another place. These properties differ from the more widely recognized timeshares in that you own deeded property rather than just buying a piece of time.
The second option, the destination club, also thrives in Italy. Destination clubs sell a membership in a club, similar to a country club membership, that gives you all the privileges of a luxury resort/hotel for a certain time each year. Generally your time in a particular place is more limited with a destination club than a PRC, but you have more choices of other places to swap if you get the urge to go to a Caribbean island, or Cabo San Lucas instead of the Tuscan countryside. You can sell the membership, but generally only through the original owners/developers, unlike the deeded property of a fractional.