Buying any home is never an easy task. However it felt especially difficult in Bologna despite not having tried to buy a home anywhere else.
I suppose nowadays almost everything can be done on the internet, however it seemed like looking for apartments that were for sale was only done on the internet since it was the fastest way to see what was available, where, for how much, and with photos. And I’m not even sure if personal realty agents exist.
We looked on large sites like immobiliare.it or casa.it but we also looked on smaller specific sites like abitare bologna and santo stefano immobiliare however most of these listings where also on the large sites anyway. It is incredible what is out there and for sale and at what price. If you’re ever curious just take a look. We looked, and searched, and hunted and about one possibility would pop up over every three months or so.
So we tried to book a few appointments together to have a better idea of what our options are and see more homes. After each visit the representative would usually ask what kind of home we’re looking for. They’d take note and write it down and they said they’d keep their eye out. However, from dozens of visits, only two agencies contacted us with other options that more or less matched our criteria. So we had no help from an expert who would help us with the search process.
Our “dream house” just wasn’t possible. First of all, there weren’t many options that matched what we wanted and second, if there was something it was waaay out of our budget. So we knew we had to let something go.
Finally, after over a year of looking we saw a publication online that looked interesting. It was on the other side of town and it didn’t have a terrace but it did have 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a studio, wood floor, an open living/kitchen space, and it was on the 5th floor with an elevator. However it was still over our budget. But we decided to take a look at it anyway.
We visited it, and we both loved it! It was a beautiful place, with high ceilings, and our ideal kitchen even with an island! So we went back and had a second look just to be sure we really liked it. Then we called up the in-laws to come and see it too to get their opinion. They thought it was a great place too! Unfortunately there was still the problem of the price. But one must know that everything in Italy is negotiable. When you go house hunting you can expect to drop the price at least 5%.
We said we wanted to put in an offer on the house about 10% less than the asking price. We stated our price and the representative said that the owner wouldn’t even accept an offer that low. So we played the Italian game and waited and pretended to not show interest for a week. Sure enough we received a phone call saying the rep spoke to the owner and would take a look at our offer. Just a few days later we got the final phone call saying it’s a deal!
We arranged for everyone to meet about 6 weeks later to sign the papers and close the deal. From then on we had the keys to our new home!
Thankfully we gave notice immediately to our landlord of the place we were renting in which we had to give a 3 month notice before moving out. We notified him at the beginning of February and at the end of April we were hauling car loads on over to the new place to get settled in!