Italian Real Estate Lawyers (IREL) caught up with Ana (a native New Yorker) and Alex (her German husband), who recently purchased their Italian dream home in Puglia, the southern Italian region known for its sunny summers and crystalline waters. Read along to hear about their journey with IREL!

What were the highlights of your journey with IREL?
I’m not sure if this counts as a highlight, but the weirdest thing that happened to us during the process of purchasing our home was when the real-estate agent who was managing the home listing said he would refuse to sell the property to us unless we signed his truly terrible contract by the following day. We were immediately suspicious and reached out right away to the team at Italian Real Estate Lawyers. On a zoom call together, we decided that the real estate agent probably did not even tell the sellers there was an offer for their property.
Fortunately, the team at Italian Real Estate Lawyers was able to clarify everything and we were able to move forward smoothly. Without IREL’s quick thinking and ability to mitigate the situation, we fear we could have lost the property! Thank you IREL!

What were your expectations? Did our services meet your needs?
IREL’s flat fee for their full comprehensive service absolutely met our all our expectations and all services met our needs! We were very pleased with our choice to use this company. Although we came to IREL with a property already selected to move forward with, we knew we could count on their help in finding something else if that property did not work out. Luckily for us it did, but only with their expert assistance!

How did you choose where to purchase?
Coming from New York City, the first thing on our list was proximity to aqua-blue water like that found in the Caribbean, but in Europe. Initially we thought Spain, as we have friends there. However, we soon found that we were priced-out of anything we might have wanted. And, for us, much of the Spanish coast felt like an ex-pat filled overbuilt condo nightmare.

Being that Alex works in the film industry and has always loved and collected Italian cinema, so we soon began searching for places with aqua-blue water in Italy. As Columbus “discovered” America, so too did we “discover” Puglia. (We picked Puglia over Sicily because it has no seismic activity).

My mother and I visited the region (while Alex was working on a film in the US) and looked at properties in different areas and at various price points, including the property we had already found on idealista, that we were hoping was everything we wanted.

It is one thing to fall in love with a house, but the three rules of real estate as they say are: location, location, location.

The “location” issues that were most important to us were: being in a small town walking distance to all local amenities, a year-round population that keeps the town alive in the off-season, 10-20 minute drive to the best aqua-blue beaches and swimming coves in Europe, wonderful weekly local markets, and an hour drive to a “big-city” for any “big-city” experiences we might want.
The house we had originally found and then ended up purchasing had all these “location” boxes ticked for us.

We knew that our selected location was remote (being a three hour drive from the Bari international airport); but for us that meant we could actually afford what we wanted, and also that being so far would help slow the growth of over-tourism.

Which kind of property did you purchase? Why did you choose that specific property?
We purchased a stand-alone property on a large lot, that has gardens on three sides and a large front patio area. The property can be subdivided into two units if we ever wish do do that. It has 360 degree views, best seen from the giant roof deck, which will be perfect for adding solar power (we have recently added solar hot-water). The garden has many fruit trees and the ground floor has lovely porticos, and the first floor has a gorgeous terrace and a beautiful solarium. There are also two large full bathrooms.

The interior and exterior of the property will require a lot of TLC and maintenance, but the bones are solid and the large amount of space is just what we wanted coming from cramped quarters in NYC. I have a large art studio in the former garage, and my husband has a great office space where he can work remotely. There is also plenty of space to host guests, so they will have their own space and won’t feel cramped. The home was built in 1973 and has a brutalist aesthetic which is something we like very much.

We selected this property after both my husband and I had seen the home and town in person.
We chose the property not only because it checked every box for what we wanted on paper, but because, after seeing it in person, we just knew it was right for us. We vibed with the people and the town and have made many friends in the village since purchasing the home.
Seeing one’s potential home in person is a vital step and should never be skipped!

Any unexpected but welcomed aspects related to the process
IREL’s constant availability, thoroughness and a wonderful willingness by the entire team to calm a neurotic New Yorker’s anxieties; not only about the purchasing of our first home ever, but doing it remotely, in a foreign country, and in a language we do not speak. IREL really went out of their way to assuage all our (or really my) fears.

What are your future plans now that you’ve purchased your property?
Our primary residence remains in New York, but we enjoy our Italian property and village as much as we can, in as many seasons as possible. Once our initial renovations are complete we are looking forward to hosting many friends and family in the coming years, as well enjoying stays from many international artists.

Thank you IREL for all of the help!