When buying Italian property, the key to finding the best deal is to understand how to exploit the current state of the market. And here are our suggestions on how to go about doing that:
Even if your Italian is not that good, it is worth checking out the local ads in estate agent windows and newspapers to work out what is on offer. It is not that hard to work out the ads’ content once you have armed yourself with a few key words; it just takes a bit of time and effort but is well worth the investment.
The aim of this research is for you to get a feel for the Italian market and to therefore be able to accurately gauge the market value of a property which is not always easy when coming from overseas. Estate agents have a well-deserved reputation for bumping up asking prices and it is not unusual for agents in Italy to inflate asking prices by as much as 15 per cent above true market value. This is especially true when the property sale is aimed at the overseas buyers.
Nevertheless, a little careful research can help you to fairly easily ascertain the state of the market.
If there are several properties you are looking at, you can try putting in an offer of 30% less than the asking price. This strategy has its drawbacks though and you should not use it with a property you have decided is the one as more often than not you will get an outright ‘no’ answer. However, you have nothing to lose and you never know when you can get lucky.
When putting in a heavily reduced offer for a property make sure that you do it in such a way that you do not insult the seller i.e. say that you love the property, but your budget is fixed and you can only pay X amount for the property. This gives you the advantage later on if the offer is rejected to say that you miscalculated the exchange rate, or the size of your mortgage repayments, and you actually can afford more than you realised.
If you do have a low offer turned down at the start of the peak buying season, in say May, it is always worth going back at the end of the season in September or October and trying the same (or lower) offer again.
Do not appear too keen about a property in front of the seller, or you will find getting the price down very difficult indeed.
Similarly, you will get further with negotiations if you are not too direct and you try to foster good relationship with the seller or estate agent. Take your time before making any offer.
Another way to try and find a bargain is to approach the vendor directly thereby avoiding costly estate agents altogether.
The best way to do that is to use word of mouth to find your property and check local newspaper ads. If your Italian is not very good you can pay an Italian speaker to help you, or get an Italian-speaking friend to assist you with your search.
Some agencies offer just this service for a fee, rather than a commission of the sale price and their negotiating skills can be invaluable.
And finally, once you get close on price, make your offer conditional on as many points as possible. Most sellers are more likely to want to spend a weekend or two fulfilling a list of your demands - painting, gardening and carrying out minor repairs - than to see a sale fall through.
If you go through an estate agent for your property purchase then make sure you establish early on what their commission will be. Don’t be afraid to make it clear that you are serious buyer and therefore some negotiation regarding their commission fee is in order – especially if you are property searching out of season. Many estate agents will say no, but you lose nothing by trying.
Thank you for visiting our guide… we look forward to welcoming you to Liguria and hope you will love it as much as we do !
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