I am off to Italy on Sunday with my dad (when you are 77 and retired you can just head off on these fun trips) to look at 12 houses in 4 days. Buying a house in Italy, from what I have been told, typically takes around 6 months from making an offer to moving in. I thought we should just sell up here in the states and head to Italy with our little guy and a few bags and look once we are there. My sensible husband thought it would be better to move there once we have found the house and made the offer, less disruption and ambiguity. I quickly got onboard with this new strategy and within 2 weeks of this new decision I booked a flight and have 15 houses lined up to see.
We are lucky in that we have a pretty good list of requirements for this dream house and I am pretty excited about the houses I will be seeing. The 2 biggest factors for us in choosing a house are that it must have at least 2 hectares of land and a large kitchen, ideally with a fireplace and sitting area. The need for at least 2 hectares of land, which must be mainly arable and flat, is a great way to weed out loads of homes. We are keeping the search limited to the areas of La Marche and Umbria which also helps keep the list of homes down. Umbria has many more times the number of homes for sale as La Marche but this is not surprising given the number of expats with second homes who apparently are looking to sell.
As I prepare myself for my trip I am reminded of the things I learned about home buying in Italy from a nice Italian man who I spoke to in May 2017. He told me that when buying a house in the Italian countryside your first offer should be 70% of the asking price. Houses in Italy can be listed with more than one agent. You can work with one agent who can arrange viewings of any house available on the market (including any house listed through any other agent). Once you are registered as a client of an agency though any house that they advertise you must see through them. This can get very complex when you are a client with 2 agencies and both of them are selling the same house. In a case like this you let them fight it out, usually they will agree to split the commission.
In typical ‘me’ style I decided to do my own research and am now working with about 5 different estate agents, I love making my life complicated!
Stay tuned for several posts next week on my house buying process from Italy!