So, you want to know how you can find a place in Italy you can fall in love with and afford?
For everyone its different – I hate to tell you this and it might sound kind of kooky but my house found me!
I was talking to a girlfriend who was thinking about her next property purchase and I told her she just HAD to check out Italy especially a little place called Alberobello (see pic below). Fabulous little ‘hobbit-like’ houses in the south east of Italy in the Puglia region.
Unfortunately she felt owning a house in Italy was way outside her comfort zone. I on the otherhand decided to trawl through thousands of realty ads seeking a house that I could buy on a tiny budget.
Surprisingly I didn’t have to trawl through so many advertisements and I still say the house found me! I wasn’t truly serious in my search it was more of a fantasy and then I saw it – it was the amazing ceilings rather than the tumbledown appearance that sold me. So I sent off an enquiry to the real estate agency who replied straight back.
Not yet with the time (it was December 2010 and I was mid-contract on a 55m private yacht) or quite the deposit I advised of my needs in seeking a property and my budgets for purchase & renovation but was firm with them that I hadn’t the time to see it until the end of March 2011. The lines of communication silenced and it was another two months before I made contact with the agency again.
I arranged to see the property at the end of the March and the agency sent me a whirlwind schedule of other potential properties to consider. After a few minor dramas in getting to Abruzzo (another story) the house I fell in love with on the internet was the second house on the list. It was EVEN BETTER than I could have imagined! The ceilings on the entrance level were amazing but so too were the barrel vaulted ceilings in the basement which had somehow missed being photographed for its promotion. In some ways it was WORSE than imagined the photo that looked like there was a solid terrace on the first floor was not a true depiction the terrace had fallen into what was the bathroom many years ago.
Undiscouraged but with an open mind I visited another 13 properties at least 4 were habitable immediately. Despite this, the little ruin I had found spoke to me!
I asked to visit the property again on my last day of viewings and was ready to sign on the dotted line when the cost of the Agency and the unknown Tax bill were thrust into the equation – unable to commit due to my schedule I advised I could not continue at that time but was adamant if it’s meant to be mine it will be!
The agent that showed me the property contacted me later that day to advise the owner would drop his price even further than he had already offered to drop to secure the sale. I advised that the sale price was not an issue it was the added charges of nearly 10K that had me concerned and my time constraints with signing a ‘compromesso’ (promise to buy). I asked him if the owner would agree to his original price in exchange for an extended settlement period? It took some time but a few weeks later I was advised ‘yes’ he would.
In June 2011 I signed the compromesso - next month November 2011, I will be the new owner of this amazing little property in the heart of Abruzzo.
I will share with you my experiences in looking at other properties and the sale process at a later date. I hope you enjoy this journey with me.