I previously wrote an article on how to write to an agent. I feared it might be a bit patronising, leading buyers to get upset and walk away. Maybe it did but I do get fewer people wasting my time and theirs. I wanted to add some other tips about your search process.
If you’re not sure - come on a visit, come for a vacation, not a property tour. The house you want will really light your fire. It might be here or there. You might love an area but there might not be the right house for you. Yes, you need to choose the right area but that can be a big area - in my opinion.
On this, consider what’s happening in the Langhe - and I mean the Barolo Langhe. Forget it unless you’re a very patient billionaire. It’s gone crazy. This is towns such as:
Houses and businesses are being bought up by local wineries and foreign billionaires. If you’re spending less than €1.5m don’t even think about it. Just visit it - it’s too busy in the summer anyway. Also, the sellers can get a bit greedy. I had a small house for sale in Serralunga. I had American people interested but the seller cancelled the visit because they got an offer, a good offer. A few weeks later they called and ask my client to make a higher offer. What?! They cancelled the visit.. I couldn’t take the client but they wanted him to offer more than the asking price. That’s how crazy is that?
Don’t pay a fortune for something that is ‘close’ to the area I just mentioned. I had a beautiful house for sale but it’s way up in the hills to the east of the Barolo area, in the Mango - Neive area.. My estimate was €1m max was its value. The owner wants €1.9m! That’s insane, I tried to convince him to drop, even had offers but he got upset.. way outside of reality and wasting everybody’s time. That area is nice but this house will never be worth so much. For the same money, you can buy a luxury villa or castle. Don’t be fooled and take good advice. It can save you a fortune.
I’m really busy
I love to chat - ask my wife.. But really I am so busy so if you email me and want to ‘chat’, don’t be surprised if I don’t answer. I’m a consultant for a living so I don’t get much chance to do it for free.
A couple of people called me last month. The first one had bought a house privately and then found there was something drastically wrong with it. I’m not sure why he was telling me.
The second person was spending around €100k and wanted me to give advice on all the houses they found on a dozen random websites. Sorry, I can only do this for an hourly rate. As I say, it’s just such a busy period so I can’t sustain this.
Buy alone. I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t. But I appreciate not hearing how it all went wrong.
Make sure you can afford it
Restoration is difficult these days. The disaster of the 110% bonus scheme sent builders into overdrive and they all now drive Ferraris and Porsches. It’s expensive and slow. No use looking at big farmhouses and having a dream but not knowing the cost. Think around €1,400/sqm. And you need a good team behind you. I have the team - of course!
Broaden your mind! I live 30 minutes from the Barolo area. I have no desire to live there and even if one of these Nigerian princes or businessmen finally keeps his promise and gives me $11.2m I still wouldn’t live there. You can live a whole lot better even up to 40 minutes away. Just visit the area! Don’t pay double just to be there. I’m working with the tourist office in a section of the Asti province to really open up a part that is as yet undiscovered. The new Tuscany and houses are really cheap. It’s not so easy to find the big farmhouses but if you’re spending up to €300k it’s really worth a look. More coming on that soon.
A winter full of surprises
The weather is strange… so warm and we need more rain but that’s not the only strange thing - I’m busy, really busy! This time of year I can usually relax, fix the house and car, walk the dog every day, etc. But no, full of clients and houses and work at the desk and driving hundreds of miles a week. I’m not complaining but you see what’s happening here, right?
Who doesn’t love castles? This came in (click here) and it’s mind-blowing. The owner is so nice and we quickly have built a good relationship with him. He needs to sell. He’s in very poor health and it’s just him and his wife. I can’t publish what’s inside - I do intend to take photos of parts of the interior in the coming day - but it can be bought with all the contents for €2.5m and the contents are probably worth around €1.5m. And get this -this price is very negotiable. They just need to sell and live the last few years of their life in peace. Don’t leave money in the bank, it’s worthless, buy a piece of Italian history. It’s 25 minutes from the Barolo area.. My fee is fixed, I can work well for you and land you a great deal. Don’t wait.