What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
I dreamed of living in Italy for many years, running my own B&B. I dreamed of sitting around a large table with many friends and neighbors, eating wonderful Italian dishes. I dreamed of exploring the countryside, other towns, even other countries nearby. I dreamed of living a simple life, of having my own garden where I grew my own vegetables. I dreamed of learning to cook Italian dishes, learning the Italian language, and settling into a different way of life.
How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
Almost everything I dreamed of came to fruition, with one important exception. I lived on the side of a mountain, overlooking the Le Marche valley all the way to the Adriatic Sea. I sat for hours at friends' dinner tables, talking endlessly. I explored much of the Le Marche region, and some to the south. I sang in the local choir, became part of the town of Cingoli (wonderful people!). I loved, loved, loved living in Italy, even when we had only one room with heat in the house, and cooked off a small heating element, before we renovated the house.
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How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
The only problem, and it was a big one, was our visas. We needed work visas to open a B&B, and the consulate in the U.S. told us it would be no problem to convert our visas into work visas. But when we had the renovation completed, we were not allowed to convert the visa. We were told to go back to the U.S. and start the visa process anew. We were not willing to spend another year just doing that, so we sold the property, got a good price and now we are in Mexico, just weeks from opening our B&B. (Love it here, too.) No one asked for my advice, but if they did I would tell them to just let life in a foreign country take you where it should. Let the little things, such as visa problems, or standing in line at government offices for hours, roll off your back. Complain to each other, get it out of your system, then let it go and realize what a wonderful experience you are having. Do not expect the same way of life you had in the U.S., which is supposed to be the point, no? "When in Rome..." certainly applies here. Stay open to how life is in other countries. You have to go to a laundromat? Oh, well. Think of the interesting people you will meet there - I know we did. Cannot find peanut butter in your local store? Try nutella. Stay open.
residency and having a car
Ciao a tutti! Well, my experience in Italy has so far been a bit difficult, not Italy's fault! Maybe some poor planning on my part plus (lots of) unexpected circumstances.
I apologize if some of this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find the information I needed. So, the poor planning part is not realizing I should have nailed down a place that would provide legal residency before I got to Italy. I didn't realize all the ramifications of not having that, and I didn't know that it was going to be difficult finding a dog friendly rental. Maybe it's not difficult if the entirety of Italy can be included, but after getting very sick within 2 days of arrival and realizing how helpless I am here, my choices of where I should live for the near future are quite a bit less than the entirety of Italy.
I've settled on Lucca although it may not work out if I can't find a place I can afford that allows dogs. Lucca has lots of friendly expats and also friendly Italians. My experience in Todi helped me understand how important "friendly" is.
I'm in a B&B in Lucca Centro for 2 months while I try to find a long term rental. I understand hopeless in terms of dog-friendly rentals. In the US I ended up buying houses because there was nothing (decent) for rent that allowed pets. I don't really want to do that here. But I do not understand how real estate works in Italy. Each realtor seems to have his/her own list of properties and they don't know anything outside of that.
So my first question is should I go into every every real estate office in Lucca and ask for help? Is it considered "bad form" if I have a stable full of realtors? I don't want to start off on the wrong foot because I don't know how things are done here. I've been told to be patient, but the clock is ticking on my short term rental, and it's amazing how 2 months can evaporate. And at the end of 2 months, it will be high season for B&Bs, and I can't afford those rates.
The other concern I have is that I have a car only until the end of June. The current lease is not renewable. Question 2: how do I buy or lease a car in Italy without legal residency? Is it possible? I thought I read somewhere on this forum that I can buy a car (without a legal residence and carta d'identita) if I have some kind of document from the comune where my citizenship is registered (Calabritto). I can't find the post now. Can someone verify that?
And what about insurance? Can I get insurance without legal residency?
Anyone know anything about long term car leases through this company: www.leaseplan.com/it-it/
Maybe I'm looking at the worst case scenario, but it could be possible for me to end up without a place to live and without transportation, not because there isn't a place, but because I don't know how things work here and I am limited in my ability to communicate. I've also reached out to the expat community in Lucca by way of FaceBook.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Advice?
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Finding real estate agent -- how does it compare to US?
In the U.S. I can go to realtor.com or a myriad of websites, find property, and engage the seller's agent directly or use my own real estate agent. As the buyer I pay no commission.
How does this work in Italy?
Do all agents have access to a MLS type of service (can I access this for Rome?)
Who pays the commission and how is that split between buyer and sellers agent?
Do I just find a real estate agent that I like in Rome and engage that person to find me a property?
I spoke to some local agents and they seem to be showing me their own listings (or maybe they are just putting their logo and contact info on the listings). It is a little confusing for someone new to real estate in Italy
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