House Hunting in Italy 101 - Part 2

‘Do not expect Barbie all dressed up and made up’ is the golden rule of property viewing in Italy!

Starry eyed house hunters are often left a little disillusioned and more than a little perplexed by the lack of proper presentation of the houses for sale. It is only natural that one measures what you see by what you know. As in so many other aspects, Italians stand proudly defiant in the way that they do things also in this regard.

Houses brimful with old fashioned and oversized furniture, dated finishes, some peeling paint and even a mouldy patch or two are quite common. Allora, take a deep breath and do not panic! Mentally peel away the offending visuals and just look again — consider the bones of it and see the potential.

It also helps to understand why it is so, and what a splendid opportunity it really is. Disenchantment will quickly make way for a quiet excitement which will settle in your soul just like Italy did.

Italy does not have the ‘buy and flip’ culture prevalent in many other countries. Houses have often been in families for generations. Whilst their lives are elsewhere, many children find themselves unable to let go of their family home. In this way these houses effectively become a time capsule, and this is what the buyer mostly walks into.

It is not all bad — not in the slightest! There are distinct advantages choosing to renovate and modernize yourself.
When a house needs work, the purchase price immediately becomes a great deal more negotiable.
You could finish and alter it to your own preferences and needs.
The pleasure of preserving a piece of history is enormously satisfying.

So, before you turn away to pursue perfection, take another look. ‘Feel’ it, imagine living there — there is a lot of time to go through the sensible and very necessary checklists! Countless ugly ducklings have been transformed into magnificent swans. All it takes is a little imagination. Italy has a different kind of beauty — the ‘seep into your soul’ kind that captures it forever. This has been so for centuries. Distill your essential needs by asking yourself the following: How will I be using the property? Will I live there? Summer visits only? Will it be rented?

How big does it really need to be if we are unlikely to be more than two couples visiting at a time?

Buying a fully renovated property is of course an equally valid choice — this piece is intended to encourage buyers not to automatically dismiss magical opportunities through a conditioned way of considering property investment.

Throw off the ‘stranieri’ goggles and give the ugly ducklings a chance too! As always, local expertise is invaluable in tandem with the help of licensed professionals.

Happy house hunting!

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