How to Buy a Farm in Italy, in 50 Easy to Follow Steps …

How to buy a farm in Italy, according to our experience so far:

  1. Get sent to Italy for two years by your husband’s employer.
  2. Leave Italy. Spend the next 20 years wishing you could be back there.
  3. Get sent back to Italy (see above)
  4. Work out your dream location in which to buy a weekend bolthole. Make sure you really, really love it. Do all sorts of sensible calculations, including budget, checking for seismic activity, maximum height above sea level, distance from a village, and from public transport links to Rome, and to airports. Make copious notes, to make it look really well thought through.
  5. Open a bank account for EU citizens, resident in another country , but make sure that the bank will give a mortgage to you as a non resident.
  6. Spend every weekend for several months looking at potential boltholes in your pre-determined location.
  7. Decide that they are all too small, not viewy enough (yes. viewy is a word), too dilapidated etc etc.
  8. Increase your budget.
  9. Look at a ridiculously big project, and fall in love with it. Dream big dreams. Do big maths. Let ideas stew for a month.
  10. Decide that actually, it is totally impractical, will bankrupt you, and fall down in the next gust of wind.
  11. Increase your budget.
  12. View a perfectly sensible house, with, um, a rather unsensible (yes. also a word. see viewy) amount of land.
  13. Decide that you have always, always wanted to be a farmer, in Italy, and that your career has been a series of bad choices until now.
  14. Go to see bank manager and explain your plans to her. Wait several months until she says that she can’t help, as you are non resident (see note 5).
  15. Meet bank manager’s English speaking friend, who arranges mortgages for non residents.
  16. Wait several months, because now It Is Summer.
  17. Confirm with estate agent selling the property that all due diligence has been done on the farm. This is important, as the farm must be “in regola”. Built within its planning permission, inherited legally from its original owner, etc etc. This bit takes a lot of patience.
  18. Place offer on farm, subject to mortgage.
  19. Discover that your mortgage advisor (see note 15) does not actually speak English, and can only provide you the mortgage that she promised you four months previously after you have obtained residency.
  20. Go to your commune a million times. Show them every certificate that you have ever been issued with, including that one star kayak badge, and your certificate of completion of a football course that you have in a frame in the loo. Throw in a couple of trophies and rosettes for good measure. On the million and first visit, apply for residency.
  21. Wait several months
  22. Get residency. Apply for mortgage. Start spending money.
  23. Wait, because now it is Christmas.
  24. Start a new year. Discover that you must become a farmer in order to buy your farm, and that you should have applied months ago.
  25. Find an accountant. Farmers need accountants.
  26. Visit the Farmers Union a million times. Because you live in a city, and farming takes place in the country, this will involve a lot of driving. Take paperwork, trophies, badges and rosettes (see note 20)
  27. Finally, finally, sign the compromesso. This will take a lot of time, and a translator if you don’t speak Italian. But trust me, if you don’t speak Italian, you probably won’t get this far.
  28. Start waiting for the vendors to ask the neighbours to decide if they want to buy the farm.
  29. Keep waiting, because the neighbours will never receive the letters that they must receive BY LAW, asking them if they would like to buy the farm.
  30. On the million and first visit to the Farmers Union take money, as now you will need to pay tax. Pay tax. Then find out that actually, the paperwork you have been showing them all along IS WRONG. And they don’t care if you can steer a kayak or ride a pony.
  31. Reach the end of the time by which the neighbours should have responded, and by which time you should have become a farmer, so that you can pay for the damn farm.
  32. Ask “what do we do now” …
  33. Wait, while the clever team you have surrounded yourself with scratch their heads.
  34. Multiply this time by Pie R Squared.
  35. Receive a stressed phone call from your mortgage advisor, who is screaming at you the you MUST BUY THE FARM BY TOMORROW … OR ELSE THE MORTGAGE OFFER WILL EXPIRE!!!
  36. Shout at everybody.
  37. Wait two weeks, and suddenly, randomly, achieve Full Farmer status (you think)
  38. Arrange a date for buying the farm.
  39. Discover some random missing paperwork on the part of the vendors (see note 17), regarding their marital status.
  40. Wait until it turns up, whereupon your husband (who must also sign) will leave the country.
  41. Wait until husband comes home, and set a new date.
  42. Wait until one week before the date, this is when things will start to happen. Now you must travel once, twice, one million times, to a commune many miles away, to register your farm. This will not be the commune in which you live, and nor will it be the commune in which the farm is located. Nobody at this commune will know how to do this. Neither will you, but this registration is vital.
  43. Fail to register the farm in the random commune, but have a lovely chat about steering kayaks and riding ponies.
  44. Find out the The Date is actually not convenient for one of the vendors, and that your mortgage offer (which has already been extended once) will expire before the new proposed date.
  45. Find out that the notary, who signed off the inheritance of the property four months ago, suddenly needs a document that nobody has ever heard of, that will take a month to obtain.
  46. Find out that the mortgage advisor suddenly needs a certificate that nobody has ever heard of, that will take a week to acquire. Scream and shout at people until you obtain this certificate. Send it to the advisor, who is no longer talking to you.
  47. Wait.

Um … when I have discovered the remaining steps, I will add a blog post about them …

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