I began looking for an apartment to acquire last summer. I searched online and inquired with numerous real estate agencies. Not many sellers list without an agent, and agencies are not usually exclusive. My wish list included: my current neighborhood, on a street with less traffic, near public transportation and amenities, a garden, 2 bedrooms, and storage.
After only seeing about 20 places — many on undesirable streets, below street level, or in need of too much work — I found a place that satisfied all of my wishes, within a decent price. In fact, my offer came in at 25k less than the asking price and was accepted!
The apartment is on the ground floor of a classic 3-story Florentine yellow palazzo (c.1930, 4 units) in a residential neighborhood of Florence, about 20 minutes walk to the Santa Maria Novella train station, or 10 minutes by bus. The location is between 2 piazze and 2 large supermarkets, near several bus stops, shops, cafes, a post office, and a pharmacy. The apartment consists of a bedroom, a smaller bedroom/studio, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and cantina (basement) storage. Plus, the garden space is larger than the apartment itself!
Keep in mind, this is my first home ownership experience and even after living in Italy going on my 15th year, the process is entirely foreign to me. Shortly after my proposta (offer) was accepted, a preliminary contract was drawn up at a notaio (notary), called a compromesso which obligates the seller to sell and the buyer to buy. At this point, a small down payment was promised to the seller, held as a check, and a timeline was established between the two parties. Usually between 30-60 days later, the final contract date is agreed upon, called the rogito. Within this time, a relazione tecnica di conformita’ (a technical confirmation of the plan and the taxable measurements to be accepted by the authorities) and all details should be sorted out. The floor plan has to be registered according to its catastale (a regulation which identifies the property tax rate) and confirmed by a geometra (technical professional).
Stay tuned for interior photos and before/after shots when the renovation adventure begins…next post: Opening New Doors.