The closing, keys and long underwear

After deciding to take the next step of our new journey, we spent the better part of 19 months securing a mortgage through a UK broker of an Italian bank.  Yes, it can be done!  We laid our lives out for them to scrutinise and scrutinise they did.  Yet again, our patience and persistence paid off – our signing day had arrived and we were finally heading towards our Italian dream!

Nothing really prepared us for the final closing day of buying our property.  The range of emotions was fierce as we waited for documents and approvals.  It took months to arrange.  There were complications because the agricultural land laws haven’t been changed since ancient Rome – think you can battle bureaucracy? Try taking on Julius Caesar! The Roman laws included the first right of refusal to the neighbours. This meant that the paperwork had to be hand delivered to all adjacent landowners and their responses needed to be gathered and accounted for before we even placed our bid. There were further complications with taxation rates and what was considered “domestic” land versus what was considered “agricultural” land. Complications, complications, complications.

However, just because something is complicated doesn’t mean it doesn’t get done. Once you accept that you are just a piece in the celestial clockwork of Italian bureaucracy, don’t just pack a lunch – pack for an extended stay.

When our day of reckoning finally arrived, it was like the scene from a Marx brother’s comedy. Our attorney, the estate attorney, the translator, the witnesses, the notary, the other witnesses for the witnesses, family members of those involved and various other people “helping” out. Oh, and a baby. It was close to Christmas and the notary had to bring her newborn in – hey, why not I say.  We had our mother with us so everyone had their own family mascot.  As we all sat down for the reading of the contract, we didn’t actually think they were going to read the entire deal out loud. Wrong. Not only were they going to read out it aloud, they were also going to have our translator speak overtop of the Italian.  It was a wall of noise, hand waving and baby cooing.  The only thing missing was a dog act or a juggler.

After all that time waiting, we finally had a copy of the keys to front door. The sisters became home-owners at long last! There is nothing quite as sweet as the jingle of keys to your very own home!

Over the threshold and on to our next phase of life starting with our 3 week Christmas vacation in our new home, we were joyous and blissful and happy. Just one tiny, tiny, tiny problem. There was no heat. No one had lived in the house in fifteen years and despite being in southern Italy, it was December and snowing! Thankfully, our trusty real estate agent Yvonne came through with some gas heaters to take the chill out of the 10⁰C air…inside.

Can post-deal signing keep you warm at night? Not as well as high quality long underwear from Canada.

Dawn over the valley - our first day of home ownership!

Christmas time in Southern Italy! crazy!

Laura Hamilton
Laura Hamilton


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