To trust or not to trust, buying with confidence

The dream

As a foreign buyer you likely dream of the new and exciting life that awaits you in Italy.  Of how it’ll be calling this magnificent country your home. Of having Italian neighbours who invite you for a lazy lunch with a picture perfect plate of pasta while you try to speak some macaroni Italian. Touring the fascinating ancient hamlets, the vineyards, enjoying the stunning nature. Beaches, Rome, mountains, Florence, the islands, the coffee, how good can life get! The travelling that awaits you, the olive harvest that’s so special you don’t even care if by then it’ll rain cats and dogs. The aperitivo in the town square while you check out the elegant locals that are engaged in passionate conversations. Bringing your family and friends together over the holidays and the movielike gatherings you can organise with everyone cooking, enjoying the pool and eachothers company.

The reality

Until at some point the reality of the actual buying process kicks in. You start reading online about potential disasters luring around the corner. You scan the web for horror stories that give you goosebumps. You talk to your realtor in Italy who says “here things are different so let’s discuss”, but you know best how to protect yourself, right? And so you compare to how things are done at home, and that’s just not the same! Until 2017 the phenomenon of escrow accounts did not exist out here. And while you’ve already found one your realtor tells you to please leave the average lawyer out of it as all they are good for in Italy is to litigate, not to buy a home. Not all documents are available from the start, which to you is just plain absurd, and wait, the lovely house you found is part of an agriturismo and so an agricultural building but no a home?! Then you discover a home inspection doesn’t really exist, surveyors are around, but you read another terrible story and so you seriously doubt there will be even one person who you can trust to look out for you in the whole country. You don’t understand the documentation, or how you can be protected. You haven’t even met a seller yet, but man, online you found all they can have in store for you. And all kinds of stories of how to go about it, especially on facebook groups full of non experts giving their non expert advice. And so anxiety gets the better of you.

The roadblock

Anxiety is hard to handle for anyone, but the question is more whether or not it is justified? Isn’t it only normal that I can’t control everything myself in a new country which I don’t understand, where I don’t speak the language, don’t know the mentality, the culture, the habits? I personally think so, and I’m not just saying that, I’ve gone through it, moving from the Caribbean to Umbria years ago after buying long distance. I see it frequently both with my real estate clients as well as my renovation clients, they are all very capable at home and think to be here just as capable, until they realise they’re not and they depend on people helping them.

The solution

So here is some very sincere advice: instead of firing comments like “But in the US we….” or “well over here it works like…” or “My US attorney says….” My Dutch realtor says…”, My Australian accountants says….”, “With my purchases in Belgium and France we did it differently….” My advice to any future buyer is to change those into:
“I know how it works here, but I do not know how it works over there in Italy, please explain so I can understand and feel good about it.”
You don’t need to convince your realtor in Italy it’s better or different where you come from. You need to actually convince yourself to accept it is quite different here. Get out of your own head and thoughts, als any and every question you can come up with and be open to listen, learn and try to understand how things are best arranged here in Italy.  We do actually have lots of great professionals, trustworthy and passionate people with experience who are all happy to help you realise your dream and capable of doing so.  Seize the opportunity to work with people who’s job it is to make sure all will be safe and you’re Italian property future secure. Trust someone else to take care of you when you can’t yourself!


In the end the question is very simple, when things get real and you wake up, are you ready to trust someone to handle your interests for you? If so it might still be exciting but in a good way, if not maybe the time isn’t just ripe yet. Either jump with the right people or hold your horses until one day you are convinced the time is right for you as well.

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