Real estate agents in Italy
Having read a number of posts and comments on this site which constantly bemoan the lack of professionalism and honesty of Italian real estate agents, the Italian legal system and the general issues surrounding the purchase and restoration of houses in Italy, I would like to send a bouquet and provide a word of warning. Last November we completed the purchase of our dream home in Emilia Romagna with the minimum of fuss or aggravation. Our agent Graziella at Emilia Properties was at all times extremely professional, answered all our emails promplty and went to great lengths to ensure a smooth transaction. Similarly the geometra/architetto Massimo was thorough and prompt. From seeing the property in May, putting down a deposit and returning to settle in November, it all went as planned. All this from looking on line in Australia and travelling to Italy and on each occassion having one week to work through the various issues. We even had discussed the restoration of our property and left with an indicative plan (in May). The week we were there to do settlement (November), we had a meeting with the Mayor of our town, the planning director along with our architect/geometra and had in principal agreement to the things we wish to do. I believe this was because: a) we did our homework before coming over and knew what we had in mind, what we could afford and what we wanted in the future. This made it easier for the agents who did not have to second guess what we meant. What we had more trouble with was the UK websites such as RealPoint Italy where we found our property listed at a much higher price, with all the same information as on our agent's web site. When I queried this, our agent replied. I finally wrote an email to RealPoint myself yesterday advising them that we settled on the property on the 23 November 2010 and would they please remove it from their site. Initially receiving a generic response, I finally received a response to say they have advised it is 'sold'. Buyer beware - check out the realestate agent, try to use one in the area where you are considering to purchase, make sure you aren't transferred to another site (as happened on several occassions) and if you can speak to someone who knows the agent. We were fortunate to have a member of the Italy Mag community reccommend Graziella to us. Also when you pay your deposit you should meet the owners as we did and ask the questions about the property you are purchasing, we have made great friends with them as well. We stayed in the town on our last visit, used the local shops, tried to interact with as many of the locals as possible and all in all received a tremendous welcome as we tried to integrate and become part of what will be our new community. We are now in the process of selling up and hopefully starting our new life in Italy in June. Not all Italians are out to rob you blind, and you also have the responsiblity to use your own initiative and find out as much as possible and make the best of your new lives.