Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I had an interesting email today. It was passed on from a third party to me, and was from the owner of the “agency” we used to buy our house. In this email the owner asked that I stop making disparaging remarks about him and his company. He explained that he had learned a lot in the past three years, and he felt that I was being too hard on him.

For those of you who weren’t there at the beginning, I documented our trials and tribulations with this company, and expressed my great disappointment and dissatisfaction with their service.

I documented my reasons on this blog, and posted them not only as a part of our experience, but also as a warning to others. Some of the situations we encountered were things that needlessly cost us money, or wasted our money. On more than one occasion this company failed to help us with things they should have, and because they were from England, were unfamiliar with the type of questions we, as Americans, had about not only the house itself, but also about the legalities and specifics of the transaction.

Over the past year we’ve met two other couples who also purchased their houses with the help of this company, and both of these couples, one British, one not, told us that they too felt that the service and attention they received was minimal at best. They told us of others they knew who had been treated badly by this man…..in one instance, after showing a couple only four houses, he exclaimed in exasperation “Well what exactly do you want!!??”

The email we received told us not only about how much they had learned in this past year, but also that their partner had left. They seem to want us to believe that it was this partner who was the source of all our complaints and problems, but I don’t think that’s true. Even if it were true, at the time we bought our house, we were generally displeased with everyone in the company.

We made a special trip to Italy, during a period chosen by these people, not us, to close on our house. It was only after several days in Italy that we even found out that the paperwork was not ready….and no one at this company had even bothered to tell us!!! They acted as if this was no big deal, but to me, it was an outright LIE, a deception meant to hide their incompetence. The plane tickets to come to Italy certainly hadn’t been cheap. We had to pay for lodging and a car. Did these people think this would mean nothing to us?

One of the things we were upset about was that their website stated that using their services costs no more than using an Italian agent. Of course the benefits were supposedly the ability to communicate fluently….which was not true, or that they would be able to help us with the legalities and technicalities…which was not true, or that they would be able to answer our questions….which again simply was not true. Additionally we discovered that the charges they touted as “normal” were anything but.

The agent at TecnoCasa told us that their charges to receive our money were not normal, nor were their charges to find us a mortgage. The people at TecnoCasa were quite frankly shocked to find out that we were being charged extra for these services.

Now as expats who jumped right into this thing with both feet, we certainly made mistakes. In our enthusiastic desire to make our move, I’m sure some of our decisions were made too quickly, or without enough information. Three short years later, the amount of information available to people who want to make the move has increased considerably. The ExPats in Italy website didn’t exist when we began our search. The internet itself now yields so much help…help we couldn’t even being to imagine. So yes, we accept some responsibility for our mistakes. Had this company been better qualified, more experienced and more helpful, we think many of our problems could have been avoided.

And yes, we believe that this company has probably learned a lot in these past three years, just as we have. Unfortunately (for them) this doesn’t change our experience or our opinion. They were still impatient and unhelpful at the time when we needed their patience and help the most. They still charged unreasonable fees for services others provide for free. Additionally, they were not “real” real estate agents. Although I don’t know what is involved to be the equivalent of a licensed real estate agent in the U.S., I do know that these people are merely middlemen, taking an extra slice out of the pie.

If others choose to do business with this company, hopefully they’ll benefit not only from what this company has learned, but also from the bad experience we had. Maybe they’ll be better prepared to ask the right questions, the hard questions, and if they don’t receive the answers they want, maybe they’ll be able to walk away without losing any money. The bottom line for us is that based on our experience, we absolutely do NOT recommend this company.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home