Tuesday, April 25, 2006

LET THE BUYER BEWARE! OR, MORE TALES OF WOE ABOUT THE UNLICENSED REAL ESTATE "AGENTS" JUST WAITING TO TAKE YOUR MONEY!

ONCE AGAIN, THESE ARE MY OPINIONS, BASED ON MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES, AND ALSO ON THE EXPERIENCES OF OTHERS WHO HAVE TOLD ME ABOUT THEIR DEALINGS WITH THE COMPANY IN QUESTION. (LET'S NOT CALL THEM A REAL ESTATE COMPANY WHEN ALL THEY REALLY ARE ARE PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS WHO ACT AS MIDDLE MEN AND BRING PEOPLE TO THE "REAL" REAL ESTATE AGENTS, COLLECTING A HEFTY FEE IN THE PROCESS)

Yesterday I saw a thread on the Expats in Italy forum that caught my attention.  I can't link to it anymore but it concerns the company we used when we bought our house here in Italy.  The "company who shall not be named" (only to keep them from getting anymore publicity or perhaps leading some innocent victim to their site) has apparently done it again.

Now I don't know the whole story. Maybe the "unnamed" have a valid point or two on their side, but really, let's think about it. Everyone knows our story, and how frustrated we were when this company refused to answer our questions, refused to do the work that they were supposed to do on our behalf, lied to us about the closing date (causing us to travel to Italy for no reason!), and how generally UNhelpful we found them to be.

A while back the owner wrote to Cristina at Expats in Italy to ask her to intercede on his behalf to me...to get me to stop referring to him as "the b@st@rd", and to explain that he had learned SOOOO much since the time we dealt with him. Because we felt we were treated rudely and unprofessionally, I didn't see how much could have changed over the course of time. A lie is a lie...that's not something you do by mistake. Rude, impatient behavior to a client is inconceiveable to me...at least if you want to stay in business. And yet, here they are, still having problems. Maybe where there's smoke there's fire? Maybe because someone's trying to blow it up your a$$?

Unfortunatley for many English speaking buyers, most Italian real estate websites aren't great sources of information. This is why the "unnamed" keep attracting so many potential buyers. Yes, their site is slick....lots of photos, lots of information. But....do you really want to take the chance that you'll be the next victim? What we've been advising people to do is to take a look at the site and if they find something they like, go to the town or the area and try to find it on their own. Yes, that's hard to do if you're not in Italy yet, but I would strongly advise you to consider your options before dealing with this company.

3 Comments :

At 6/04/2006 05:44:00 AM , Blogger Agnese said...

Hi Barb,

I`m Polish and my husband American living in Krakow for the last 4 years. It looks like we will be soon terminating our business dealings here and we made a decision to move to Italy - Umbria or Tuscany region. At firs on part-time basis and later hopefully we`ll move for good. We`ve been lookig for our dream house for a while now, which at first ment hours and hours on the internet and later monthly trips to Italy to view properties with the agents. Thank god it`s so much easier for us to make the trip than it was for you (I read your story and let me just say I absolutely admire you for making the move !) Anyway, I just read your entry about the real estate agents and would like to talk a bit more about it off the site if you wouldn`t mind. I followed the THREAD you specified in your entry at first, but the site administrator had all the names alreay removed so it looks like we are not allowed to talk freely on the forum. So, here is my e-mail: atgile@wp.pl and if you find a minute please feel free to just send me your address and I`ll contact you as soon as possible. Thanks so much in advance.

 
At 6/04/2006 05:46:00 AM , Blogger Agnese said...

Hi Barb,

I`m Polish and my husband American living in Krakow for the last 4 years. It looks like we will be soon terminating our business dealings here and we made a decision to move to Italy - Umbria or Tuscany region. At firs on part-time basis and later hopefully we`ll move for good. We`ve been lookig for our dream house for a while now, which at first ment hours and hours on the internet and later monthly trips to Italy to view properties with the agents. Thank god it`s so much easier for us to make the trip than it was for you (I read your story and let me just say I absolutely admire you for making the move !) Anyway, I just read your entry about the real estate agents and would like to talk a bit more about it off the site if you wouldn`t mind. I followed the THREAD you specified in your entry at first, but the site administrator had all the names alreay removed so it looks like we are not allowed to talk freely on the forum. So, here is my e-mail: atgile@wp.pl and if you find a minute please feel free to just send me your address and I`ll contact you as soon as possible. Thanks so much in advance.

 
At 6/20/2006 04:56:00 AM , Blogger Judith in Umbria said...

Barb, I read all the stuff on both sites and I think there were no heroes involved in that situation. That woman was like some others we all know, looking to get someone else to shoulder everything, especially the blame for anything.
I hold no brief for the RE co. involved, but I also think in this case maybe stinker met stinker and the ensuing smell drove me out.
She actually had people collecting money for her on another site, while shopping for antiques and repros to furnish a rental apartment. She was not prepared to fund her own ideas and life. She stiffed everyone. The natural thing is to say, "Nice if you can arrange it!" but not to me. I would feel shame every moment that I tricked others into funding my life.
You and I sucked it up and took on what we could afford to. When things get tighter, we tighten the belt. That's the way honest people live, isn't it?
I help people with figuring out what the italian means all the time. I bet you all do, too. When I get the clue that they want to depend on me for everything, I fade away.

 

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