Imagine yourself sitting here, on this veranda, overlooking your very own olive grove, and vineyard, and walnut wood, in your very own piece of paradise: Sabina, in Italy.
Now STOP!!! Before you get here, you must first clear one hundred, no one THOUSAND bureaucratic hurdles.
It is now one month to go until our first Christmas in Italy, which means that it is one month and one day before my fiftieth birthday. Plan A was to spend this special day at The Olive Hill. At our first viewing, in June, our Friendly Estate Agent assured us that we could own it in time for the olive harvest. As it was, we still hadn’t signed the Proposta, or initial offer to buy the property by the time the harvest took place.
In the meantime, we have been taking Italian lessons. This is A Good Thing, because we needed to open a bank account, so that we could get a mortgage. Our Friendly Personal Banker assured us that the bank would love nothing more than to lend us the money, even without Italian Residency. One month passed, and then the bank refused us a mortgage, because we were non residents. No problem! Said our Friendly Personal Banker. Meet my friend, Friendly Mortgage Advisor, she specialises in mortgages for non residents! Only she doesn’t, so another two months passed, and then we had to to obtain residency, in order to take out a mortgage with the specialist non resident broker. Unfortunately, this process also takes several months. And so, we wait.
It turned out, in the way these things do, that all these delays were more Good Things, as when we initially tried to make an offer, our Friendly Estate Agent discovered that unbeknown to him, The Three Sisters, who are selling the farm, were also marketing it via an Unfriendly Estate Agent, with an arrangement of exclusivity until September, so we could never have made an offer, even if we had had a mortgage (which we still don’t).
So we have spent our autumn learning about all the different ways in which a prospective olive farmer can spend time indoors shouting at people in bad Italian, rather than spending time out of doors doing whatever a farmer does at this time of year. We understand that farmers mainly harvest, and then sell their crops and products at this time of year, thus ensuring that they can eat, and make their mortgage payments until this time next year. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about mortgage payments for now, as the farm is still not ours. Sigh.
In this blog, we plan to celebrate our new lives as olive farmers and wine makers in Italy. But first we have to buy the place …