Ritaruth Image
04/24/2010 - 13:33

I've just been looking at some property for sale on line and I have found the same property on sale with 3 different estate agencies, one asking €395,000, another €345,000 and third €299,000! That's one heck of a difference! Is this common?


Thats quite a big spread but unfortunately price differences (maybe not as big as this) are quite common. The important thing is to identify who the actual estate agent selling the property is and approach them directly. Many companies providing "property services" are not in fact registered agents and make their money from people purchasing at inflated prices. Its very important to do your own research and drill down into whatever property you are looking at. (look at what comparable properties are selling at, on a m2 basis for example). Its hard, but many people are in denial that they initially paid over the going rate for their property.

I read a while back that there can be an 'Foreign' price and an 'Italian' price.  Is this actually true? As Ruth says the local estate agent is the lowest - is this the best place to look? Hope you find what you are looking for Ruth and of course at the right price!

Dear Ritaruth, if you need help , just ask. This is my job, not my primary one (I restore historical buildings in UK), but still my field. I am an italian architect and I have been working in Uk for 4 years growing respect for english people and their love for Italy. I help people buying properties in Italy, as estate agencies in Italy sell houses with different prices depending upon the potential buyer. As italian I could deal with them and find out the right price for that market. If you need just ask.   Regards. Ella

most of what has been said in other replies is also true but there are a couple of other aspects which lead to these is people's (vendors) reticence to engage a single estate agent to handle the sale ie. often there is no exclusive mandate. this can lead to single estate agents "attributing" a price to a house.Another aspect is the fact that if one is talking about a rural property ..casale,country house,abandoned farmsteads,cottages etc.. then there is no price.Whilst modern and urban properties are generally sold on a price per square metre basis in the case of rural properties this can vary tremendously for fairly ephimeral reasons eg. lovely rural property with some land and an unfortunate view of the back of a distant chicken meal factory, or too great a proximity to a main road,or particularly critcal geological situation like built on sliding blue clay etc etc the result is your price per square metre is straight out of the window.Curiously enough when we bought we never made an offer we signed to the price.From what i've seen it appears usual however for Brits to haggle on the price or make much lower offers than the asking price.I know an estate agent who aware of this,raises the price so the client can go thru the charade of haggling the price,the price comes down ,everyone's happy and the house is sold at the original "base" price.At which point the differing prices can be explained a little.Besides estate agents it's not unusual for the vendors themselves to change/raise the price.agent a. talks to vendor and puts it on the market for 299.000. but it hasn't sold.the vendor hears that his friend giovanni sold his for when agent b.comes to the vendor he says he now wants 335.000 for the place as it's better than giovanni's place which sold for 325.000..

It all sounds quite normal to me!  The reasons are many and various, but usually are 1. online property services want their cut, especially som British based 'buyers' agents who often split the extra with the man on the ground. 2. the difference between the asking price and the price that the seller wants 'in tasca' 3. The odd vendor who thinks that foreigners will pay more 4. The strange Italian mentality that if a house doesnt sell then its because its too cheap 5. Vendors complete inability to pick up a phone and tell agents that they have changed the price 6. Online property services are just trying it on, and have no mandate from the original owner.  If someone is interested they approach the owner with the 'new' price. The motto - always use the agent with the mandate. 

Well, it should be!  But it isnt... you have to assume the following....  A British agency or buyers agent cant sell property legally in Italy, so they should be working with an Italian agent.  On that basis it will be the Italian agent that has the mandate - and the others are just inflating the price.  If there is more than one Italian agent, it will 90% of the time be the agency with its base in the same region as the property.  The Italian based portals advertise on behalf of local agents and often just grab the info - so its possible the local agent will have a reduced price while the national will still have the original asking price. Even if you choose to use the non mandate holding agent, at least by scouting around the internet you should know how 'trattabile' the price is. There is an unpleasant practise from some estate agencies - mostly Italian - to just go and take photos of rivals houses and put them on the web with a lower price.  When someone enquires they go to the owner and tell them they have a buyer and get in under the wire.  FOr the buyer the agent will turn round and say that the owner has put the price up - usually when you actually go and see the property.   So any agent especially in the south of Italy - who only has exterior shots and doesnt offer the interior shots on request, may be just trying it on with a ridiculously low price.  

In reply to by Ram

Thanks for all that information. It is certainly well worth knowing all that. I'm trying to arm myself with as much information about all these possible scams before embarking on the house hunt!