Part one. The Abruzzo adventure
By David Benton
Meet Derek and Louise, a couple who’s story may even put some people off buying a property abroad, but their patience, determination and love for an Abruzzo property gave them a buying experience they will never forget.
It all began in January 2016 when they decided to join an Explore Abruzzo tour for 3 days, looking around the area and viewing properties of all budgets to get a feel for what was available. I remember the morning we set off on day 1, we visited beautiful Balzolo in Pennapiedimonte and then began making our way towards Palombaro.
“If you look up on the right we have an old stone property for sale, this is a fine example of a classic countryside property which once restored will be amazing.” I said.
I did not stop the minibus because we were running a little late after spending too much time admiring the views at Balzolo. Little did I know that the property I briefly pointed out would become the start of a year and a half roller coaster ride for both me (the agent), Derek and Louise.
“I remember looking at the house and thinking, that’s the one, I nudged Derek for him to look. ” Louise told me.
The tour continued and the 3 days turned out to be a great success with 3 sales coming from it, but this one, well what can I say other than thankfully they are not all like this one!
Louise and Derek came back to view the area again a month after the tour, this time with the intention of just viewing properties as they were already sold on the area.
The first property they wanted to see was the old stone property that caught their eye on their previous visit. I knew this one would suit them after listening to their wishlist, and what a wishlist it was! Louise and Derek were one of our, how should I say it….. organised house hunters (I want to be polite!).
They had previously sent me, via email, a spreadsheet that any business person would be proud of, in fact I did not even think that Excel had all of the features they used! It contained a very large selection of properties from our website with many columns including, plus points, negative points, score out of 10 to name a few. It was a full insight into their thoughts on pretty much half of our website! Now we do like when clients come with some idea of what they want but I had never seen anything like this. Luckily after looking at their actual needs we managed to dwindle the list down to around 12 contenders and one day to see them all.
We started the property search at the old stone house which they had briefly seen on the tour, when we stood outside I saw a look on both of their faces, that over 14 years in this business, I had seen many times before. I knew every other property would not come close but we carried on our planned day and saw many others.
The day passed and as expected there was only one house that really stole their hearts and imagination.
“We just knew that this was the perfect one for us, we could see the potential to create our dream home and it just felt right.” said Derek.
The next stage was sorting out an offer. This property was a little different to others because although it appeared to be one detached house it was actually 2 semidetached properties with different owners. One of the owners lives locally and the other was an elderly lady who’s affairs were been looked after by a Judge. This is something we have seen before and have dealt with it swiftly and moved on to sign within a couple of months, in fact we had recently sold another property with a judge in the middle with no complications. The buying process here is usually very straight forward and often takes anything from a couple of weeks to a couple of months to complete.
Once the offer was given we had to put this in writing to the Judge to get his approval for one side of the house which we did straight away. I advised Derek and Louise about the process and told them that we should allow a little longer than usual because of the other people in the middle (a judge and later a solicitor) but I hoped it would be tied up within a few months. We were now in March.
“We understood the situation and were not too worried about the time frame as it seemed very reasonable” said Derek.
A couple of weeks into the process Derek contacted me to say that they had booked to come back out to Abruzzo in June as they were getting married in Italy at the end of May! Perfect I thought, hopefully we will be in a position to sign and have a double celebration.
The day after this we received a message from a solicitor acting on behalf of the judge to say that the offer was not accepted and they would be sending someone out to value the property. This was the start of the emotional ride which would take 18 months of stress from all angles to sort out.
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