An Italian “Negotiation”

After we had seen the Casa Ideale property a second time, we felt that it was our top choice, though in our talks with Kevin and in our heads we were still considering the house near Pergola (Casa Col di Luce). We loved that house and property. Our concern there was purely location: could we get integrated at all in the local life from that location? We asked the seller’s agent to “sell” us on the area and its opportunities for us.

After more thinking, and no response to our request, we decided to proceed with the Ideale property. So it was time to try and reach a reasonable deal.

Arm wrestling to suggest negotiationThe “negotiation” to reach a preliminary purchase agreement proceeded differently than I expected. Despite being aware of the significant differences in the way the home search process works in Italy versus the US (see this post), I guess I thought negotiation on a price and terms would be a back and forth between us as the buyers and the seller, with the real estate agent, Kevin, in the middle.

Recall that there is only one agent involved here on the Ideale property. Kevin has the property listing, or the right to offer it the market and he has us, as potential buyers. (Neither of these relationships is exclusive.) This “dual agency”, with only agent involved who has brought buyer and seller together, is not legal in many parts of the US. But because of the structure of the Italian system, I think it’s the norm.

The property is listed for €79,500 on Kevin’s site. (I don’t know if this property is listed on other sites, but in the cases where I’ve seen the same property listed on multiple sites the price was always the same on all.) As part of the total project cost projection Kevin had given us, he said that he thought we could get the property for €62K-€65K.

Kevin asked me what we wanted to offer. My first thought was that I didn’t want to offend the seller, who I thought was one of the adjacent landowners. That would be getting started in the community on a very bad foot. Kevin told me it was someone else, and he really wanted to sell. It was an Italian who had bought the property intending to build a house for his daughter. She had no interest, so he thought he might make a quick buck selling to some foreigners.

As a starting number, I suggested €50K. Kevin told me he thought we’d meet near the middle and suggested €48K, so I agreed. I figured we’d hear back with a counter offer and we’d go from there.

When I talked to Kevin the next day, rather than asking for a counter, he said he had a deal at €62K. Did we want it? He had told the seller we didn’t want to go beyond €60K and had reached a somewhat complicated deal at €62K. So, after our original offer of €48K, our next step was to say yes or no to this deal at €62K.

Signing the preliminary agreement and any payment of deposit would happen after we checked some basics. In addition to the survey, land title, and related issues, we needed to have a “positive opinion” from the town planning official that we could build what we wanted on the property. Not a final approval, which would take some months, so this introduced a little twist: might we end up with a plot of land that couldn’t be built on?

Kevin assured us that approval had been given for a house on the property, just not one at the 20% larger size and with a pool. But even the larger house was still at or below the limit for the size of the house that should be allowed under the rules.

Risk and reward. After sorting through the proposed transaction, Anne and I decided it made sense to go forward. Now what?

Image source: www.pixabay.com License: CC0 Public domain. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

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4 thoughts on “An Italian “Negotiation”

  • July 18, 2016 at 10:44 am
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    Wow! We’re excited that you’re going the route of building from an Italian ruin and hope there’s smooth sailing for you going forward. I’m sharing your blog with two realtors in my family who will no doubt be interested in your progress. Best wishes, Anne, Ed, Emma, and Jack and we can’t wait to visit in Le Marche! Ciao ~Wanda and John

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  • July 18, 2016 at 1:43 pm
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    We are very excited and can’t stand the thought that it will be another 15-18 months before we actually have a house. Looking forward to a Middlebury reunion there in late 2017 or 2018!

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  • July 24, 2016 at 9:10 am
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    Anne and Ed–congratulations! This is just too exciting. It’s a thrill for everybody involved (which includes gli amici Middleburiani) to see it actually happening. And what a great thing for Jack and Emma (and all of their friends lol). Also interesting getting an insider’s view of Fixer-Upper, Italian style, from negotiations to what I guess are local zoning ordinances.

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  • July 25, 2016 at 7:01 pm
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    Ciao Bets-pal! We hope gli amici Middleburiani will be coming over to inaugurate it the minute it’s done! Lots of Italian red tape to deal with in the meantime.

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