A few tips to make your viewing experience worthwhile!
Do your research – take a recce trip first to drive around and get to know the areas you want to live in. Learn about the different areas – the most expensive areas of Tuscany are the coast, and Florence, then Chianti and Val D’Orcia. The cheapest are north of Lucca, or around Arezzo. Mid priced areas are the Pisa province, for example around Volterra. Don’t book loads of viewings without knowing the areas. Make sure you realise how big the areas are, for example Tuscany is about the size of Wales, or New Jersey, or Israel.
Give us advance notice
Please give us lots of notice of viewings. It’s very difficult at the last minute as we are usually booked up for the next few days for sometimes over a week, large areas are covered, and often owners or keyholders need to be available too. Give us 2-3 weeks and we’ll love you forever.
If you are planning to move permanently to Italy
Check the requirements for living in Italy for your nationality/circumstances. If you are buying a second home you generally don’t need to do this although there are some restrictions for a few nationalities.
Things you need
3 things – a car, google maps, whatsapp!
We may need to send you property links and locations. This is far easier on whatsapp and it’s free so don’t even think about not using it.
Get to grips with google maps and using it to direct you to a location, it works better than sat nav including for avoiding traffic etc. It’s so simple. We always send you a google maps location for a meeting point. On your phone, just click on directions (from your location) and start, and you are good to go. It tells you time and distance.
If you are looking for a rural property, travel by car not train. Tuscany and Umbria are rural areas and trains can’t reach all parts of them. If you are not confident about driving in Italy, consider hiring a driver. If you have to travel by train, it may be difficult for agents to travel long distances to stations, and you will have less time to see properties.
Tell us anything important
If there is anything crucial we need to know eg. You have an elderly relative who will staying there who can’t cope with parking a long way from the house, uphill access or lots of stairs, let us know.
Tell us as much as possible about yourself, your likes, your family, lifestyle goals etc. Maybe not an essay but the things that are important to you. If it’s essential that the house you buy is on a hillside with views, tell us. If you must be near amenities on foot because you don’t drive, tell us. If you don’t want to be isolated, or must have a bus stop nearby tell us. If you want to rent it out, tell us. Tell us everything! That way we all save time and energy and only show you suitable properties.
Tell us which days you are actually available
If you tell us you wish to view properties from 10 -15 June for example, and we set up many viewings, then find you are arriving on 10 June, leaving on 15 June and busy on 11 and 12, it’s not the best fun. Please let us know exactly which days you are available. Thanks.
Come for a good while
If you are serious about finding a property, don’t just come for 2 days, it’s not enough. Spend a while in the area so you don’t have to rush and can take your time enjoying the process. Occasionally viewings need to be changed or postponed and it’s much easier when you are there for a while.
Weekends and Italian national holidays
Most people in Italy work very hard all week but don’t work on Sundays. Some do but it’s best to come in the week. Check also before you book your trip for Italian national holidays when viewings are not possible – these are 1 January (New Year’s Day), 6 January (Epiphany), (plus many people don’t return to work after Christmas until 7 January), Easter Sunday and Monday, 25 April (Liberation Day), 1 May (Labour day), 2 June (Republic Day), 15 August (Ferragosto), 1 November (All Saints Day), 8 December (Immaculate Conception), 25/26 December (Christmas)
Don’t try and see too many properties
We find many viewers are short of time and try to cram in too much. Tuscany and Umbria are not small areas. If you have booked viewings with other agents too check out the distances between your appointments to make sure it’s humanly possible to get there in time, and leave lots of extra time in case of delays. Viewing too many houses will leave you exhausted and unable to remember each one.
Don’t try to pack too much in! Viewing house involves lots of driving and is tiring. You want to enjoy yourselves too and sightsee a bit and enjoy the local restaurants.
The people who have the least success in finding a property are those who make loads of different appointments with loads of agents, based on the look of the house, but who don’t tell anyone what they are looking for so no one knows if the properties are suitable or has the opportunity to suggest more suitable ones.
…but don’t be too specific (“there must be a fig tree 10 metres from the house, and a south facing storage room for my pet iguana”) or you may rule out some properties which are too perfect for you. We can always have a fig tree planted for you. The iguana, well that’s slightly more difficult.
But it’s important you are realistic about your budget. Most people want original features, restored, pool or possibility of a pool, views, privacy, near amenities, not far from the airport. Do your research to see if you can afford what you want. If not, you may need to compromise or increase your budget.
Avoid August if you can
In August, we have a huge surge in viewing requests from people who are in holiday in Italy who also want to look at houses, mostly at the last minute. We always try our best to satisfy everyone but the majority of Italians take a holiday in mid August many so you will find that owners, keyholders, agents etc are not available. Then many houses, especially those with pools, are rented out in the summer months so cannot be seen. This leads to disappointment of course, with people saying they only want a quick look, but owners don’t want to upset guests, they want them to enjoy their holiday of course and leave a good review. When viewings are possible for this type of house in August, it’s always on some Saturdays (not every Saturday) between 10am and 3pm while the house is cleaned for the new guests. So there is a small window to view but everyone wants to see them at the same time, absolutely impossible for us. And the house is usually being cleaned and the beds changed so it’s not at its best. So please avoid August if you are a serious house hunter. We always breathe a sigh of relief at the end of August…
Be honest about your budget. If you have €1 million but tell us you can spend € 500,000 you will not see the properties you wish to see. We even have people who tell us their budget is far higher than they can spend, and this is a waste of time for everyone. If you need a mortgage, (up to 50% LTV is usually possible) get pre-qualified through our broker – ask for details.
Let us know you are serious
A large percentage of viewers are not serious or ready to buy. Please let us know if you are serious and ready.
- Is there a charge for viewing – No
- How do I book viewings – let us know which properties you wish to see and when, or let us know your requirements and budget and we can make recommendations. Email is best.
- Do I go in the car with the agent, or follow in my car – whichever you prefer. If you are seeing properties in different areas you will have appointments with more than one agent and you will need a car to get between them.
- Can you arrange viewings with other agents too? This is a request from mainly American clients, used to dealing with just one agent. We can, but we cannot then vouch for the agent or the properties, and not all agents want to collaborate. So please don’t be offended if we can’t!
PS If you can’t make it to the viewing, please be kind and let us know! You would be surprised at how many people don’t turn up and don’t let us know, which is difficult when agents often travel long distances. A quick message by email, whatsapp or text is all it takes to cancel.
Thanks and we look forward to showing you some properties!