On our way to Italy

Dawn Image
04/27/2010 - 11:38

Hello,We are finally coming to Italy, just have to find the right property we are looking for a city apartment and will come over for a few days in the next couple of weeks to start talking to estate agents. What is the best way to approach this, do we make appointments with them before we come or can we just turn up and see what they have like we can in the UK.Some guidance would be appreciated.ThanksDawn.


well Dawn, it works exactly as in England, thy might already have something to show you on catalogue. If you need let me know where you are I might give you some addresses of estate agency in Toscana, Abruzzo, Puglia, Liguria and Sicily. Regards. elab

Hi Dawn! I would look through the website and I would make just two or three appointments with those agents that may have an interesting property on their lists. Give them also an idea of what you are looking for. Some properties are not advertised and the agent may organise four or five similar properties for you to inspect at the same time. Also, look at other local agents. This is what we did and it worked for us. Best wishes,

You can just walk in and they will be very glad to see you but, as Gala says, an appointment is a good idea too.  I agree that you should do as much research as you can before you visit them.

In reply to by Patz

Thank you all very much for taking the time to reply.  We are interested in Florence and would maybe consider the outskirts, also interested in Palermo, we are going over to Florence in a few weeks for a couple of days to have a look to see what is available.  If we have to rule Florence out due to budget we will look in Palermo and possibly another property to escape to in the very hot summer months.  I am looking forward to our new life so much we have been planning this for the last 3 years. Dawn. 

In reply to by Dawn

We spent a winter researching Italian property prices on the internet and reading relevant forums.  We printed out details of properties in the right price bracket for cross reference purposes, and then made several visits to North tuscany, the area we were interested in. We hired a car, toured the areas shown in our property print outs, and walked into agencies with likely properties displayed in the windows.  Every time, the agents made time for us, and if they couldn't show us a particular property that day, then they called us on the mobile to tell us when they would take us to view.  In this way we got viewings of a wide variety of properties, and were able to make price comparisons.  We discovered that the photos of properties were almost useless.  Often you'd turn up and find all the other houses around were abandoned/derelict (or looked it).  Sometimes you'd get a lovely surprise with an amazing view that hadn't been advertised as a feature. There's nothing like going and looking for yourself, and giving yourself plenty of visits and time.  It became a project for us. We ended up with an apartment in Lunigiana (N Tuscany) as the prices are extremely reasonable in comparison to other parts.  We drew up a list of our priorities.  In our case it was a) around an hour's journey of an airport  b) not too much work to be done  c) shop and facilities within easy reach d) good road and train communications.  (We don't always want to have to hire a car), and most importanly, some outside space - a garden or terrace. We've only had the apartment for 9 months, so everything is still new to us.  We manage to get there about every 6 weeks or so.  Allan is doing well with the Italioan language, but I haven't made much headway yet! Good luck with your search.

Hi   We bought our house in Umbria (just up the hill from Tavernelle) 4 years ago now.  I spent 6 months trawling the internet looking for suitable properties to look at so narrowed down our choices to 10 for viewing (we had 3 weeks out there).  Some bore absolutely no resemblance to their descriptions and for some the photos were taken many years before judging from the comparison between beautiful tiered garden to bombsite we saw at one memorable place.  We had one (well known) agent (British) who proceeded to tell us we couldn't afford anything they had after we viewed and turned down two properties on his books (he had no idea of our financial circumstances) but the Italian agents we saw were very helpful and friendly.  We found Andrea who acted as an agent for several owners/estate agents who showed us the ones we had asked for then a couple more he thought mught suit.  Luckily for us he is a trained "avvocato" (?) that strange crossbreed of occupations the Italians seem to love - 1/2 legally trained and 1/2 accountant, he made the offers for us, sorted out the compremezzo, acted as translator and then temporary Power Of Attorney at the notarys insistence (as the notary would not let us sign anything we did not understand) and now pays our bills/taxes etc until we move there fully next year and can stand in line at the Post Office along with everyone else - never known such a cash friendly country!!  Research will save you a lot of wasted time especially if you are only going across for 2/3 days at a time to look/view.  Another tip - try not to go a-viewing in August as lots of people were on their big holidays and refused to let us view during that time.  We lost the chance to view and buy a watermill which was our favourite at the time but the owner lost the sale for the want of 1 or 2 viewings.  All the very best with your search and let us know how you get on Cedric

Chalk and cheese!  You will find Palermo very expensive - now you can pay about 4000 euros psm in the centro storico - people have finally discovered the reason for living in a city again, so price are comparable to Florence.  In FLorence anywhere within the city walls is fine to live, though I would always opt for the slightly cheaper Oltrarno out towards the Porta Romana.  Palermo obviously has zones that you should avoid - but you will learn this when you visit.  It depends what you are looking for, but most stranieri buy near the Politeama which have large houses, wide streets and is more 'user friendly' than the little vicoli in the true centro storico.  Good luck

If you are interested in a Tuscan city besides Florence, I would strongly recommend Lucca. It is one of my favourite cities in Italy and the "centro storico" within the old walls is pure fairytale. Also, it is conveniently located, near airports, other interesting cities, beautiful countriside and the sea is nearby. The train takes you to Santa Maria Novella station in Florence in an hour and a few minutes without having to go by car. It also exudes quality of life and style and it is not overcrowded by tourists. I would advise you to have a look before you decide.

All I can say is just have patience, (It has seemed to take forever to find a suitable project in the area we wanted), then be prepared for a few dissapointments on the way( we lost a couple of very nice properties through who knows what). However you will get there. But certainly spend the time and do the research. Good Luck.

In reply to by IBarfoot

Thank you all for your replies, we have been planning this for a long time and have done a lot of research, but up until now we were not in a position to proceed, now we are at the point where we can finally make the move. We want to be in a busy city and after many trips over a long period of time have narrowed this down to Florence and Palermo, yes I agree with you Ram and we were in Palermo last month and looked all around the area of Via Liberta and the streets leading from it and would look at apartments in that area. Gala Lucca is indeed a lovely town and we have visited many times but like I said we are looking to settle in a city as we both enjoy the hustle and bustle. We will be in Florence in a few weeks, you never know we may find somewhere suitable on our first trip..!!!   Dawn.