Advice on buying a house that's not for sale

02/28/2012 - 16:57

We've been looking for a house in the Aosta Valley for some time haven't yet found the right house on the market through the normal agencies. So we have started looking at rustici not on the market instead and think we have found what would be perfect.The problem is how best to approach the owners to see if they are interested. Our Italian is still pretty basic which makes the conversation hard. Has anyone got any advice? We have thought of writing letters or perhaps engaging a geometra to make the approach. Are these good ways or will they tend to put sellers off?



Do you have any friends who know the property owner that could speak directly with him/her?  This is what we have done with several properties we were potentially interested in Le Marche.  We have befriended the family whose agriturismo we like to stay at in southern Marche and on several occasions either our friend or his father took us to speak with the owner.  In our case, my husband is fluent in Italian, so language is not a barrier, but in yours, your friend could help in the translation.  I think it is always preferable to speak directly with the owner rather than write a letter.  I don't know how you'd fare having the geometra approach them.   

If you are happy to pay commission (personally I am if it is a good agent as they are truly worth it especially if you don't speak Italian), then find an agent you like and trust and ask them to do it. They are in my experience happy to do that.

My mother was from that 'semi-autonomous' region, whereabouts have you found your ideal home? I used to know that area like the back of my hand having spent many child-hood summers there. Good Luck. P.S. Silly me, should have looked at your gegraphical coordinates... Derby - picked that place because it sounded English? :) Very nice too, brings back memories...

I just love the area, but then what's not to like. Especially if you like mountains, snow and cheese, i.e. fontina. We're looking for a house somewhere high up (for the views and access to mountains) somewhere in the upper part of the valley, between the expensive parts in the north west and the commuter villages towards Aosta. Derby was a bit of an accident, but my friend had an apartment for rent there and it was just too easy to move in here. It's a bit shady though and we'd like to get something with a bit more sun in winter. Which part was your mother from? I'd love to hear your stories...

Thanks for the suggestions. I think we'll try exploring both options and see which one we feel happiest about at the next stage. We're booked to see an agent tomorrow and will sound him out. I was shying away from talking to the agents because we've had mixed experiences with them here. Some have been excellent though with one we had to walk away in the middle of negotiations because of extreme unprofessionalism. I was reluctant to get friends involved. They have offered help in the past but the ones I think would be great are really busy with their work. It sounds like geometras don't fall into the category of professionals ;)

I think it is well worth asking a geometra - they often know of properties that might be for sale. I found my house through a local geometra who knew what I was looking for. Often locals contact him when they have a place to sell, in preference to talking to an agent.

Thanks belvedere. I spoke to my friends downstairs who suggested this could work too, if you know a local gemoetra. They could make some enquries and introductions but, if I understand correctly, cannot receive a commission for doing it, at least under current laws. My friends also suggested a good contact might be the notaio who did the last rogito for the property.