Working with a Realtor in Italy

Damien O'Farrell
5 min readJun 27, 2022


Regardless of whether you are renting or buying in Italy, it is always advisable, to try to work with the best realtor possible in the area where you would like to live. A few guidelines for doing this include the following:

Make sure that you work with a realtor who is licensed to work in Italy and who keeps up-to-date with the property market and its relevant laws in Italy. If the person has a realtor’s license in Italy, this will normally be on their website, business card, or promotional material.

The best realtors are found through word of mouth, so, when possible, ask around to see who is one of the best in the market where you are looking for a property.

In Italy, it is very common for realtors, both for rentals and properties for sale, to collaborate with other realtors to be able to show you the maximum number of properties possible. This does not mean that you will have to pay multiple commissions, but it is always good to get in writing when you enter an agreement with a realtor in Italy the total sum of the commission due upon the completion of the transaction.

In the case of buying, if you don’t know any professionals in the area, ask the realtor if they can refer you to a trusted notary, surveyor, or lawyer, if needed.

When you rent a property in Italy, ask the realtor if they provide a courtesy English synopsis of the lease contract outlining the main clauses, as well as a thorough walk-through of the property together with photographic evidence, signed off on by the landlord, tenant, and realtor. This will go a long way toward helping with dilapidations when you leave the property.

In the case of a rental property, if work must be done and the property was sourced through a co-realtor, who will be responsible for monitoring the work being done and making sure that it is completed on time? Again, this should be put in writing.

For both rentals and properties for sale, does the realtor offer, as a courtesy or as a premium service, assistance with setting up the utilities, in the case of linguistic challenges with Italian.

Working with multiple agents causes confusion, and given that they work among each other, it is best to work with one that you trust and that has been open and transparent with you.

If you begin working with a realtor and find that you aren’t pleased, don’t be afraid to move on. If your instincts are telling you to walk away, do exactly that.

If you prefer to communicate via WhatsApp or maybe email, he or she needs to know that so the two of you can communicate quickly and effectively when new houses are put on the market and action needs to be taken. If you’re someone who likes to have weekly face-to-face meetings, make sure you communicate that as well, so your realtor knows what to expect from your business arrangement. Some realtors can be slow to respond in Italy, so don’t be alarmed, if you don’t get an immediate response.

The more prepared you can be prior to meeting with a new agent, the better. Get a good handle on your budget range, neighborhoods, and areas that interest you, and find out what kinds of loans and mortgages you may be able to get in Italy. This sort of information gives your realtor a good idea of what you are looking for from the get-go and what potential properties are within your realm of possibility.

Your needs are the non-negotiable elements, price points, or features that you’re looking for when buying or renting a property. Your wants are things that would be nice but aren’t a breaking point for the purchase or rental of your home. Your realtor needs to know the difference between the two so that he or she doesn’t end up running you around looking at homes that you’re not interested in — or, on the other hand, breaking his or her neck looking for elements that aren’t needed, just bonuses that would be nice.

Find a real estate agent with whom you feel comfortable asking a million questions — chances are you’ll need to ask quite a few, particularly if you are not familiar with Italy or this is your first time relocating aboard.

Working with a realtor in Italy, whether you are renting or buying, eliminates a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Realtors interact with owners and other realtors, so you don’t have to do all the work when it comes to screening calls, scheduling showings, and so on. If you work with the right realtor, they are usually very savvy when it comes to accurately understanding the price or rent being asked for a home, handling negotiations, and filling out paperwork when it comes time to buy or rent. Taking a DIY approach to buying or renting a home in Italy may be intriguing and allow you to save some money. However, working with a realtor to buy or rent your home will likely pay dividends in the form of reduced stress and navigating complex legal paperwork in a language that you do not understand. Don’t underestimate the value of this.

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Damien O'Farrell

Global Mobility Specialist and Expat Coach with thirty plus years’ experience in providing high-touch immigration, relocation, & coaching services in Italy.