19 December 2007

The search is over!

New apartment
We felt we were lucky to find our current apartment when we came to Ascoli Piceno and this included finding our landlords, Guerrino and Dorrina, who have been very helpful to us. When we first moved here we did not know if it would only be for a few months but since are working on making our move permanent we wanted a better place to call home. Finding a rental property here is partially luck and a lot on whom you know. There are numerous places available but you don’t know about them unless you know a person who knows the owner as many properties are not advertised.

In August we decided we needed to find a new apartment and we started to tell people we knew that we were looking. We hoped to find an apartment ourselves without the help of an agent for a couple reasons. Using an agent means you pay a fee which equals one month’s rent. There are also taxes paid on top of that and fees for registering the rental contract. Another issue is that through an agency the contracts are usually for four years, with a six month prior notice required if you want to terminate early. We put the word out to as many people as we could but had limited response. We spent numerous days wandering the streets looking for rental signs and inspected several that were as bad or worse than where we are now.

In our current apartment what we have for a kitchen is too small for two people to fit in at one time. During these winter months we get very little light in as the buildings across the rua block the low sun. Then there are our neighbors. Our building has six units and four of them are rented, unfortunately our neighbors have been an ongoing source of noise for us with screaming kids and clonking heels at all hours of the day…and night. Our Italian friends have told us this is not the norm here.

We saw a sign at an agent nearby for an apartment that looked promising and since our search on our own after several months was becoming frustrating we decided to inquire. The agent showed us a couple places that would not be ready for several months or were too small and then showed us one that was bright and newly refurbished but lacking furniture, which we will need. After some contacts with the apartment owner a date was set for having the apartment furnished, us to move in and we signed a contract for one year.

Our new apartment will have the things our current apartment lacks: an extra room for us to work in since we both work from home, skylights, windows open to sunshine, a small balcony, a kitchen bigger than a closet, a bathtub (Valerie REALLY looks forward to that) and fewer neighbors. If it had a fireplace I would think we had won the lottery but we will manage. Paying for the agent and the wait will be worth it once we move in the end of January.


Barbara said...

Congratulations! So much about both renting and selling is different here in Italy, and I'm glad you were able to be patient and wait for the right apartment. Best of luck!

Bryan said...

Patience is a true Italian virtue.