Living Far Away From Family

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Living Far Away From Family

Post by Lisa C. on Thu May 30, 2013 7:55 pm

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I was wondering how those of you who are living in Italy full-time or at least 3/4 handle the issues of family, especially those with grown children, being so far away?

Ever since we left Italy many years ago, I have been pining to move back. Now that my husband is getting closer to retirement age it is looming ever closer. Hopefully, he will retire in 4 years or so, once our youngest son has graduated college and has had a year or so afterwards to get situated.
My husband has very mixed feelings about this as he feels like he is abandoning our kids. Our daughter is 31 and lives about 3 hours away and our son will be about 23 when we move. Part of the problem is that my husband feels he did not get to spend enough time with our children while they were growing up due to working long hours and being on-call. He loves Italy and definitely wants to buy a place there but is torn about whether or not to keep our current house, which would be a financial burden, having two homes to maintain. About 4 years ago, we got our Italian citizenship and our children have it as well. Currently under discussion is how we can best each get what we want. I have proposed coming back to the States for two months a year and renting, but he doesn't know if he will be happy with that. I do really want to integrate into the community, and not just feel like a visitor. We both speak Italian. I lived in Italy for 4 years and my husband eight. Guess I'm just looking at creative ways to make this work. If any of you have been in the same boat, I would really appreciate hearing about your experiences.
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Admin on Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:34 pm

I think you should be guided by the agent to be honest. They are suffering too and very, very keen to make a deal. If they think you're serious they will do everything they can to get a deal for you and the seller.

It also depends on the vendor's situation (and probably nationality) as to whether 30-35% lower than the asking price would offend. Many stranieri in Southern Marche ended up paying a huge amount for renovations and so have the houses priced high to recoup their investment. Many Italians don't 'need' to sell so will stick firm to their asking price. On the other hand there are plenty of stranieri either deperate to sell or at least very, very keen to sell.

I think it is a mistake to take the approach to offer x% lower than the asking price as the vendor may have already reduced the price a couple of times and your offer in those circumstances would be very insulting.

If I were you I would find an agent you like and trust and let them find you a house. They will work hard for you and most agents collaborate so they will have access to all the properties for sale in the whole area, not just the ones listed on their books.
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Miss Demeanor on Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:57 pm

Now ya see I don't agree (what's new?) about not trying a sensible low ball offer 'cus you're worried it might offend!

If you're dealing with a committed vendor I can not see why they would be offended and, even if they are - so what? You are hoping to buy their house - not become best friends or marry into the family, so go ahead and make a sensible offer - all they will do is either accept - or not.

Some (Italian) vendors may feign offence, but they aint daft and certainly know how to play the game if they spot a "weakness" in a potential buyer. If they know you love their house, have a fear of "offending" and they also see how keen you are to purchase, they will try it on - who wouldn't? affraid
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Lisa C. on Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:16 pm

Admin wrote:
If I were you I would find an agent you like and trust and let them find you a house. They will work hard for you and most agents collaborate so they will have access to all the properties for sale in the whole area, not just the ones listed on their books.
I think that finding an agent that we trust would be great but we have made the rounds with quite a few of them and so far I have found no agent who fits the bill. If you have any suggestions for some who cover southern Marche - not the Amandola area only as we think that is a bit too close to the mountains, weatherwise, and could e-mail them to me I would be most appreciative.
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Lisa C. on Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:21 pm

Miss Demeanor wrote:Now ya see I don't agree (what's new?) about not trying a sensible low ball offer 'cus you're worried it might offend!

If you're dealing with a committed vendor I can not see why they would be offended and, even if they are - so what? You are hoping to buy their house - not become best friends or marry into the family, so go ahead and make a sensible offer - all they will do is either accept - or not.

Some (Italian) vendors may feign offence, but they aint daft and certainly know how to play the game if they spot a "weakness" in a potential buyer. If they know you love their house, have a fear of "offending" and they also see how keen you are to purchase, they will try it on - who wouldn't? affraid
I think I agree with you on this one. We can always come up from a low offer. To your knowledge, is there any way to find out what a fair price is to offer? We have seen asking prices all over the map and it's very hard to know what a reasonable price is for many properties. Are there any town records that would be of help? In the States, we rely somewhat on estate agents if one is used, but also look for comparable properties and see what they have sold for. Does something like this exist in Italy?
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Admin on Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:30 pm

A reasonable offer is one that you think the house is worth - no more, no less.

Even if you knew what someone paid for it I'm not sure how that would help you.

If you like a house and the price is acceptable then it is he right price. Buying a house in Italy is not about return on investment and profit. The market at the moment is so slow (dead) that if you had to sell, you may not get your money out for many years and no-one can predict what the market might look like by then. I am not suggesting you should buy a duffer and pay over the odds just that if you like it and the price 'feels' right then it probably is.
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Admin on Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:32 pm

Miss Demeanor wrote:Some (Italian) vendors may feign offence, but they aint daft and certainly know how to play the game if they spot a "weakness" in a potential buyer. If they know you love their house, have a fear of "offending" and they also see how keen you are to purchase, they will try it on - who wouldn't? affraid

I agree with that but in reality most of the vendors in Southern Marche (unless you are buying a doer upper) will be foreign and probably Englosh so the offence factor is real.
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:45 pm

I think there are still some honest people around who wont "try it on", but also think with others involved (family, estate agents...) it's a tricky one. In a way I have to agree with MD that you have to offer what you think the house is worth, or what it's worth to you. The former is not too hard if you do your home work and look at lots of houses online and in person. Don't just view what you are after, have a look above and below prices just to compare better...

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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Lisa C. on Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:05 pm

Admin wrote:A reasonable offer is one that you think the house is worth - no more, no less.

Buying a house in Italy is not about return on investment and profit. The market at the moment is so slow (dead) that if you had to sell, you may not get your money out for many years and no-one can predict what the market might look like by then. I am not suggesting you should buy a duffer and pay over the odds just that if you like it and the price 'feels' right then it probably is.
Guess I'm feeling a bit burned at the moment. We bought our house in the States in 1987 at the height of the market where we live. We put a lot of money into it to make improvements. Last July, we took out a home equity line of credit to have some money available in the event we find a house in Italy, only to find that due to the downturn here, it is only worth a little more than we paid for it 26 years ago, even with all of the work that was done. Conversely, the prices of houses in Italy have risen dramatically since we left Pisa in 1983. We are not in this to make money, but I don't want to buy high and have a big price drop later on, in the event we need to sell for whatever reason. Most of what we have seen to date in Le Marche has seem overpriced to us. In addition, due to the dollar/euro exchange, it is not in our favor so we would like to make a prudent choice which allows us to still maintain the lifestyle we would like to have once we move over. I have spent a lot of time on various agents' websites so do have a good feel for asking prices, but not what things finally sell at. In the States, we have several internet sites we can go on to see what a property sold for and in addition, can go to the town hall to find that out as well. Does this exist in Italy?
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Gala Placidia on Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:33 pm

Sorry, Lisa, but I do not believe that there is anything in Italy similar to American property sites such as red in, realtor, trulia, etc, where you can see the history of the property and prices attained. Only a good agent can give you general advice according to his/her insider knowledge. In general terms, prices are down.
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Lisa C. on Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:46 pm

Gala Placidia wrote:Sorry, Lisa, but I do not believe that there is anything in Italy similar to American property sites such as red in, realtor, trulia, etc, where you can see the history of the property and prices attained. Only a good agent can give you general advice according to his/her insider knowledge. In general terms, prices are down.
Maybe I can start a second career setting this up in Italia!Laughing
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by ghiro on Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:07 pm

It's called 'Zoopla' in the UK.

Go for it Lisa C! Smile

The only problem I can see is that (as I understand it) until quite recently properties were sold with a 'real' price and a 'declared' price. So any historical record of the price a property sold for may be seriously artificially low if it's the 'declared' price that's recorded.
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Admin on Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:55 am

There is this site: Agenzia del Territorio

but it's quite crude. It is based on declared selling prices. It does not differentiate between an unrestored or a restored house however and the figures are averages so it will be skewed too low if you are looking for restored and too high if you are looking at dooer uppers. Interesting to look at though.
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Lisa C. on Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:43 am

Admin wrote:There is this site: Agenzia del Territorio

but it's quite crude. It is based on declared selling prices. It does not differentiate between an unrestored or a restored house however and the figures are averages so it will be skewed too low if you are looking for restored and too high if you are looking at dooer uppers. Interesting to look at though.
Thanks for the link, Penny, I'll have a peek.
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

Post by Lisa C. on Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:45 am

ghiro wrote:It's called 'Zoopla' in the UK.

The only problem I can see is that (as I understand it) until quite recently properties were sold with a 'real' price and a 'declared' price. So any historical record of the price a property sold for may be seriously artificially low if it's the 'declared' price that's recorded.
Good point, I forgot about that!
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Re: Living Far Away From Family

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