Maria is a MyBelPaese member who is no stranger to both the joy and the challenges involved in making a life in Italy. She relocated to Tuscany many years ago, and she often finds herself in the position of helping newcomers to the bel paese navigate some aspect of establishing a life there. She shares the following tips to anyone who might be considering a similar path.
For many wanting to buy a home abroad where they feel they get better value for their money, Italy offers many appealing options. There is, of course, always that dream of turning those wonderful holiday memories into a permanent reality and having a life in Italy rather than a trip there. Property values in Italy have increased dramatically since the 1990’s but there are areas—mostly in the southern regions of the country—where property is still inexpensive and where there are some wonderful opportunities.
Here ends the dream and some reality needs to run alongside your vision of living on a carefree, permanent vacation. This is not to say you won’t be able to enjoy all the alluring attractions you have or would like to experience, but some of the spin needs to be removed from the picture. Here are three pieces of advice to keep in mind in making the transition from traveler to resident in Italy.
1. Get Your Mind Out of “Vacation Mode”
Remember, you are not going to be on vacation if you are thinking of buying a property in Italy. Approach buying a house using the same criteria you use at home and be prepared to accept the different regulations and timetables.
2. Location is Paramount
Presumably you don’t know exactly where you would like to settle. Take time to travel to the regions you think you are interested in. I cannot emphasize how important this is. You will waste an awful lot of your time; real estate agents will get frustrated if you haven’t narrowed down the area within the region you’d like to buy a property; and the sellers won’t make an effort to be helpful unless they are an international property company.
3. Understand that Real Estate Agents have a Local Focus
Real estate agents in Italy only tend to sell properties in the area where they have their offices. They often work with other local agents who may have different properties to offer, but you will probably have to go to several agents once you have a good idea of where you want to buy a house to get a reasonable picture of what is for sale.
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