Purchasing Property in Italy, Part 6
A decommissioned train stop house
As I mentioned in my last post, just when we were about to give up our search -- during this visit, at least – we spotted this online:
An old train stop building. Antiqua Fermata Latomie #6 = Old Latomie Stop. Still have some history to dig up but best as we can tell, this stretch of the railroad was ripped up about thirty years ago and was later sold and renovated as housing.
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Okay, I’m going to admit straight away: I was pretty smitten. I love the color yellow. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have considered purchasing a yellow house but then, this is Italy. The yellow just works. I’ve also been told repeatedly that my aura is yellow. Does that have any bearing on this house? No, but it’s a nice bit of trivia.
I also love the shape and size of it. Not big, not small, not narrow. Four rooms total. Really don’t need anything more than that. There’s a nice-sized yard and what looks like an outdoor pizza oven. Come on! Even if it’s a faux pizza oven, you’ve got to admit it’s pretty darn cute.
Something is wrong with the stucco (actually, I have no idea what one calls the outside of this house) and, as you can see on one side and on the front, they tried covering it with a bamboo swath (see first photo). But, there’s enough room to create a stone patio that wraps around the front and side and then a pergola over the south end where we could maybe even put a dining table. Yeah, I went there that fast. I can picture that addition and it would be pretty sweet.
But right away I also knew there were two big drawbacks: 1) There is no real view of the countryside. A small view from the second story, yes, but not the kind of rolling hills view that is so beautiful when the home is higher up. But okay, there are always trade-offs. And 2) The house is historical, which means the outside cannot be altered. Apparently, a patio and pergola are fine. But you can’t widen the windows. Sure, the windows look cute as they are. Except that I like a LOT of windows. And wider windows would allow for a better view of the landscape from the second floor.
The truth is, though, that I was getting ahead of myself. We had seen photos online that looked really good but nowhere was it indicated that the house hadn’t been used in two years, since at least the beginning of the pandemic. And honestly, we didn’t even consider that. Until we saw inside.
But there was even one more surprise. Our realtor didn’t have the key. (In case this isn’t obvious, Italy does not use lock boxes as we do in the states. At least not anywhere that we saw.) So when the realtor arrived, so did an older gentleman who turned out to be the cousin of the seller. Apparently, he is a neighbor who lives nearby, so it was not an inconvenience for him to open the house. But it did mean he would be sizing us up as we were sizing up the property. But I’ll get back to that.
The yard was overgrown and a bit of a mess. Not bad, all things considered.
And then we entered the house. Again, there are only four rooms: two on the ground floor and two above. To the right is what we expected to be the kitchen. This is what it looked like in the listing:
And this is what we saw:
Uh-oh. This is going to be a problem. There was no way to get through that mess. Okay, fine. Let’s move on. The room on the other side was much better. But pretty quickly Tom and I noticed this:
The photo doesn’t capture it well. More than a peeling of paint, it was… what? The realtor wasn’t sure. A white mold, perhaps? Damn. Not more mold. Ugh! Sure, let’s go upstairs to what would be the bedrooms. By the way, this is probably a good time to tell you that each room has its own bathroom. Pretty basic but at least not disgusting.
The first bedroom looked like this:
I didn’t get a good photo of the second bedroom, but it looked like the listing photo:
The purchase price also comes with all the furniture, which is antique. Not a selling point for folks who want something modern but I actually like old furniture.
Our realtor kept referring to this property as “isolated.” True, it sits on a road surrounded by olive groves. No next-door neighbors. But honestly, I consider that a bonus. On the flip side, however, you do have to drive to get to the house and you have to drive to get to town. Town, however, is only four kilometers away on one side and another town is twelve kilometers away. And, it’s right on the road. But as far as we could tell, there isn’t a lot of traffic on that road.
Hmmm… So what do you think?
Surprisingly, the asking price is just a little more than the Baglio we saw, which you may remember had a ton of mold and that awful wall mural: Purchasing Property in Italy, Part 4. There is virtually nothing in this low price range in Italy – nothing that I’ve seen on realtor sites, at least.
Maybe you’ve already guessed this but, we liked it enough to see it a second time, on the morning we were leaving Sicily. Our realtor even brought a contractor with to assess what work needed to be done. To our amazement, he said not much. Honestly, you’d think he might exaggerate for the sake of more money, but no.
Alrighty then, now what? As much as I can be spontaneous about some things, buying property in Italy is not one of those things. So we headed back to the States with a lot to consider.
To be continued…
On pins and needles over here...!
Run. A dream may soon become an albatross, unless you have the means to overcome the obvious difficulties. Consider that it hasn’t sold for some time. Can you wait that long or more again? Will climate change require heating and/or air? The isolation may become isolating, removing you from the experience of Italy. And, get your drivers license out and look at your birth date. How much time of full vigor do you have? It doesn’t last forever. Oh well, I’m old. Smooch!