4.Taking a risk... covid returns
Updated: Nov 1, 2021
The next wave of COVID struck shortly after my visit and again travel was put on hold. However the search continued. The lock down in Italy was less stringent than the previous in late 2020, so Diego made some visits for me, sending me appraisals, photos and video. I sent him to one particular property, that had caught my eye. I had used Google for all it is worth to try and evaluate the area and we all got a buzz from it. Diego reported back that it was a good property with a fantastic view. However, the house either needed a huge amount of work or more appropriately, should be demolished and rebuilt. This was disappointing, but I saw a lot of potential and the location was exactly what we wanted. I mean, every box was checked. Food store, butchers, restaurant and café, all within 5 minutes walk, an expansive view and only a short drive to the coast were all in place, so we decided to put in an offer without physically being there ourselves. So much for our principle of feeling, but I don't know why, but it just felt right all the same.
I will not be going into detail about the amounts in this blog. Everybody has their own budget and their own thoughts about what is expensive and what is a good price. The property was an inheritance and there were a number of owners. However, I knew that they also owned the property around the defined property for sale. We made the offer with an increase in land to include all the surrounding trees, which doubled the size of the plot and offered the asking price minus 15%, due to the state of the house. We said we would pay for the registration of the new property boundaries and our part of the notary etc as usual. We were cash buyers. We expected negotiations, but after a brief communication between myself and the sellers agent, the sellers agent and the owners it was accepted without any conditions. With this accept, we had bought a property unseen! We did all we could to hold back our excitement, but failed miserably!
The sales process turned out to be very laborious. There was so much that had to be checked that I was wondering if we had bought a property at all! There was a lot of back and forth with documentation, deposit paid and recorded, more documentation and more payments for the land registration, power of attorney and more payments to the agent and the notary until the big day at the end of April eventually came and we could say that we actually owned a piece of Italy. A good six months had passed since we made the offer and we still hadn’t seen it!
I have been informed that the length of the purchase process was neither extremely long or unusual, especially when there are more than one owner involved. If it is the property for you, then trust those working with you and do the necessary checks. Once the deposit is paid, it is very unlikely that the sale will fall through, as the seller will have to pay you double back, if they withdraw. However, if you withdraw, you will loose the deposit, unless there is a very good legal reason for it. Many react with scepticism about paying a deposit to the seller directly. I also did, but it is normal practice in Italy, especially for lesser amounts. It is possible to pay the notary to hold the deposit, but it will just be an extra expense. Most sales go through without too much trouble, you need patience and make sure you have practiced signing things, as there is a separate document for everything in Italy!