Thursday 23 January 2014


After putting our house on the market immediately after the Christmas break we accepted an asking price offer after only 6 days of viewings!

Nothing else for it but to jump on a Ryanair flight from Stanstead to Pisa in order to sign the Compromesso. This is the initial contract in which you pay a deposit to the vendor and all parties sign a legal agreement in which you stipulate amongst other things a date on or before which you will complete the purchase.

So, if we were to pull out now, we would lose our deposit, but if the vendor pulls out then they not only have to pay us our deposit back, but they have to double it.

This explains why once the Compromesso is signed the house is considered as good as sold - rarely does either party pull out, especially when the deposit is normally 20% of the purchase price. We didn't pay quite that much, we negotiated a lower amount and almost a 12-month period in which to complete.

We met the vendors and Richard (our interpreter) at the geometra's office in Pescia at noon and went through the details of the contract and the property and the parcels of land that come with it and confirmed that the geometra had checked ownership of the house was correct and that there were no obstacles to us purchasing it (he has to check that there are no outstanding debts against the house, going right back through all the records through the years of different ownership).

Richard had to be there, legally, in order to make sure we all understood what was in the contract before we could sign.

An hour an a half later the deal was done!

Next stop the local bank.

Here we had our passports and Codice Fiscali (same as UTR in the UK) codes photocopied so that we could open bank accounts. They also took a copy of the signed compromesso in order for us to apply for a mortgage. It took longer for the 3 of us to get in and out of the bank via the security capsule (one in/out at a time, complete with fingerprint recognition) than it did to request the accounts!

The meeting the next day was another matter - we had to return on our own, without the help of Richard, and an hour or so later, testing our Italian to the extremes we left with our new bank accounts.

Next job, the mortgage.