The lure of Italy with its culture and cuisine causes many people not only to holiday in Italy year on year but to dream of buying a property of their own in a sun-drenched corner of rural Italy. However, the cost of maintaining a second property abroad can be a stumbling block that seems hard to overcome, but what if your dream purchase could pay for itself?

Many overseas purchasers have recognised the wisdom of choosing a property that also has a potential income. The success of such a venture depends on what you want out of the property and how much you are willing to put in to developing its commercial potential. The most popular way of recouping the costs of a foreign property is to let out the property to others – frequently friends and family - when it is available but that is not the only way.

A straightforward holiday house or apartment can provide a steady income throughout the spring, summer and into the early autumn and with the help of a good local manager it can be done at long distance. Depending on the property, the running costs, maintenance, advertising and management fees can be comfortably paid and can also provide a small income. However, if you are only at the property for a limited period during the year problems could arise unnoticed and this largely depends on how good your property manager is. If, on the other hand, you intend to relocate and manage the property yourself the risk dissipates.

The alternative of taking the step to move abroad and run a commercial venture, a bed and breakfast for example, is not to be undertaken lightly. However, there are many very successful enterprises, for example, themed holidays, which offer their guests more than just a place to lay your head. Art, cookery classes or outdoor pursuits can be a very attractive proposition for tourists looking for something more than simply a place to stay.

Alternatively, taking on a productive vineyard or an olive grove and selling the produce to the local restaurants and hotels can be another way of generating income from your property.

It goes without saying that very careful research with the help of a professional advisor is a strong recommendation. Before you even think about looking for a property you should consult a professional expert to learn about the risks and understand all the potential liabilities and costs you may face, including potential pitfalls. Once you have identified a commercial proposition, ensure that meticulous due diligence is carried out. The real estate lawyers at Giambrone are extremely experienced in interrogating the provenance and accuracy of data and information associated with Italian property.

A property that generates income and is set in a wonderful region can be an idyllic lifestyle choice provided you have made sure that there are no nasty surprises.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.