The ‘Real World Guide’ to buying property in Italy

Le Marche property veteran Kevin Gibney of offers Italia! readers eight practical steps for buying property in Italy.

You can definitely find the right property in Italy if you take a reality-based, businesslike approach to the search process,” says Kevin Gibney, an officially licensed estate agent in Italy’s Le Marche region. Here are his eight ‘Real World’ steps for your Italy property search.

Know WHERE you want to buy

Know WHERE you want to buy in Italy before engaging an agent. Kevin explains that agents are not tour guides, but property professionals. “As strange as it may sound coming from someone who earns a living selling properties,” he says, “we tell prospective clients who are undecided on their preferred region of Italy to visit the top contending regions and NOT look at a single property, tour around, see all that a given region has to offer, and, only then, decide to look at properties in the area that wins.”

Articulate WHAT you want

“As fundamental as it sounds, that can be a hard question for a buyer,” says Kevin. “We ask potential clients a short, focused list of questions to allow us (and them) to drill down to the key things they’re looking for.” We help you define the key specs of what you want – and with that in hand, we can do a great job.”

Determine the CATEGORY of property that best suits your needs

There are various categories of properties from which to choose. Kevin says, “It’s important to have an open mind as we sometimes have clients who come looking for something finished who go home having bought a ruin and restoration project! We can email readers a one-page description of the property categories available for sale in Italy. (Contact details below.)

Liquidity is King…

“It’s essential to come to Italy with the funds in place to make the transaction happen,” says Kevin. If you have a house to sell back home, have it on the market. He further explains that while not impossible, getting an Italian mortgage can be extremely challenging and that mortgage seekers should be prepared for a lengthy process, very low loan-to-value ratios and qualification criteria that are super-stringent. “Home country financing is often the best route, followed by getting pre-qualified for a loan via an international mortgage broker before you initiate your search.”

Be realistic and prepared to make trade-offs

“Since I bought my first house in Le Marche,” says Kevin, “I’ve been repeating the mantra of being realistic and prepared to make trade-offs. I tell people all the time, I’ve seen thousands of houses and the ‘perfect’ house is the only one I haven’t seen yet. So, just be realistic about what you want and can afford and accept the fundamental fact that trade-offs will need to be made.”

Realise you’re not at home!

All of us give in to the urge to equate the process in Italy to that in our home countries. “Simply put, things work differently here in Italy, both in a very positive sense and in a potentially frustrating sense,” Kevin explains. “The process here does not work like it does back home – fees, timing, legalities, taxes and much more, are all different. You need to roll with that and make sure your local team not only knows the local rules of the game, but also has a sensitivity to how things work outside Italy.”

Hire an English-speaking Italian lawyer

“Many clients are amazed when I tell them at our first meeting that they should hire a lawyer once we’ve found the right property,” Kevin says with a smile. “That’s not what an agent is supposed to say, right?” But he’s making a serious point: you’re buying in a foreign country, with different customs, laws and processes, not to mention a foreign language. “You need somebody looking out for your interests who has no vested interest in selling you something.”

Enjoy the journey!

“The idea of buying a property in Italy is so exciting,” says Kevin. “Don’t make it another stress point in an already stressful life. Enjoy the journey and remember how fortunate you are to consider such an amazing reward for a life of hard work and sacrifice… So go get your slice of La Dolce Vita with a smile on your face. Consider our eight steps here and you WILL find the right property for you!”


For more advice and information contact: 

Kevin Gibney

+39 347 538 6668