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  • Writer's pictureMark Tedesco

Our Italian Adventure: Finding a Realtor in Italy

PART 79: It might be interesting to share how we pulled off living in Italy for part of the year. I will post some steps we are taking and what we are learning along the way.


We are loving every minute of it, and what was once a dream is now our life!


We live in Tuscany in the Fall and then back again in the Spring, and in California for the rest of the time (in a previous blog I explained why we live in Italy only part of the year).


Step 1: In a previous blog post, I discussed our decision to move to Tuscany from Puglia. I also wrote a blog about our decision to buy rather than continue to rent.



Buying a place in Italy is a big decision, but the whole process was made so easy by the people we met and the realtor in Tuscany who went the extra mile.


Step 2: Realtor: what were we looking for?


  • Responsiveness


When we decided to explore the Monte Amiata region of Tuscany for a possible move, we decided to continue renting, just as we did in Puglia. "But it never hurts to look at what is on the market in our price range," I told my partner.


Since we only had four days to explore the area, I contacted various realtors to set up a few house showings. Unlike the US, there isn't an MLS, in which one realtor can easily show a home for sale that is represented by another company. So I used Casa.it, which groups houses for sale on one website, to start our search.


After we found six or seven homes for sale we were interested in seeing, we reached out to the various realtors representing them.


One realtor stood out because of his responsiveness. He replied to my email immediately and showed a great willingness to help.


The other realtor offices I contacted could have been more responsive and required multiple emails and phone calls to finally talk with someone. One office, in particular, showed no genuine interest but had some interesting homes.



  • Professionality and knowledge base


We were still determining whether we were ready to purchase a property in Italy and were equally uncertain about how it all worked. We shared these concerns when we traveled to Tuscany and met our most responsive realtor. He reassured us that he could find us a rental property if we decided not to buy, and he also gave us some background on his company, which stands out from the others due to its experience, professionalism, and knowledge base.


We found that some realtors do more research than others on a property they represent. Questions like: is the property up to code? Were any changes or additions made to the property without the required paperwork? What is the history of the house?


Fortunately, the real estate agent in Tuscany that was the most responsive also had the greatest knowledge base, and each property was researched and prescreened so that there would be no surprise. Before even seeing a property, questions such as codes, additions, and history were already answered.



  • Working with foreigners (experience, language, and culture)


Nonresidents who purchase a property in Italy have particular needs. Besides the language, other questions arise, such as how to pay energy and other bills, open an Italian bank account, wire money for a down payment, or complete a home purchase.


I speak Italian, but my partner does not, and I wanted him to be part of the negotiations. We found a real estate office that has experience working with expats and foreigners. The realtors speak English and know how to navigate the Italian system to help set up a bank account, automatic energy payments, and other everyday needs in purchasing and maintaining a home in Italy.


  • Particular needs and work to be done


When we visited the Monte Amiata area of Tuscany and visited some of the homes for sale, we were still unconvinced about buying a house. Renting was a more comfortable option.


Until we found "the one."



We were awestruck when we stepped into a home for sale during our visit to the area. We saw some interesting homes that needed work in our price range, but this one was perfect. Historical, updated, and in the medieval center of town. Could this be the one?


There was one problem with this home, however: it had only one bathroom.


Could we add a bathroom? And how much would it cost?


  • The extra mile


Our realtor called his office staff and scheduled a meeting for the following day. They also took measurements of the property to see if creating a second bathroom within one of the bedrooms would be possible.


The next day, we discovered that the realty office had a designer on staff who prepared a 3-D mock-up of the new bathroom within the measurements provided. Besides design, she is an expert in local codes and regulations and provided us with the bathroom plan and assurance that a second bathroom was possible.


"How much do we need to pay for her service?" we asked.


"Nothing" was the response. "It is a service that we provide to our clients."


We made the offer, the owners accepted it, and now we are on our way to owning a home in Tuscany.


"But wait!" I said. "Who will we get to do the work? How do we get an estimate?"


"I have many local contacts who do quality work at a fair price; I will take care of that for you," our realtor said.


Our 90 days in Italy were up, and we had to fly back to the US. But, true to his word, our realtor worked with his contacts to get us several estimates on creating the bathroom and doing some smaller jobs. We received a very reasonable estimate, confirmed our understanding on a Zoom call, and agreed to start the work right after we took possession of the house.


Step 3: What we found.


When the offer on the house was accepted, our realtor, his colleagues, and other friends invited us out on the town to celebrate. We met at a cute outdoor cafe in Abadia, where spouses and kids joined us.


We started by looking for a house and, along with that, we found friendship.


Our realtor is Sandro Marucci at Remax in Abbadia San Salvatore (SI): https://www.ecocasaimmobiliare.it


Insights.


"I am surprised at how easy this process was," my partner said. "It feels like it was meant to be! And that is because the people over at Remax made it so smooth. Plus, I can see us becoming friends!"


I want to think that buying a house in Tuscany is a "meant to be."


In any case, I am grateful for it and for the amazing people and help from Remax in Abbadia San Salvatore (SI).


More next time.


Now on sale for $2.99: My book is "Stories from Puglia: Two Californians in Southern Italy." Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CRKMKPWF?ref_=cm_sw_r_cp_ud_dp_X2WRQ3PTG2ZDD7AVF6GH


And also, on Amazon Italy:


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