If you decide to direct your attention to the private market, know that you are about to enter a maze from which it is not easy to get out and in which it is unfortunately very easy to lose your head. It sounds like an exaggeration,but the search for housing in the private market can prove to be, indeed (except in exceptionally lucky cases) it very often proves to be nerve-wracking and very wasteful of physical and mental energy.
PART 1: THE SEARCH – get busy!
The most fruitful avenues for bringing your search to a successful conclusion in the private market are undoubtedly message boards (see a list of the best message boards),real estate magazines and word of mouth.
As far as bulletin boards are concerned, placing an ad begging for a house is not very fruitful (but neither is it expensive, so it won’t hurt to try): if you decide to do it, remember to always include the date within the ad, otherwise it will be immediately trashed. Other advice is to look for a way to get it noticed by passersby–a photo,an image,a catchphrase help. Regardless of whether or not you decide to hang an ad on the bulletin board, bulletin boards are the richest reservoir you can find: consult them daily (if you have the chance) and if you find an interesting ad, don’t waste time:the timeliness with which you call is crucial!
Let’s turn to magazines: “La Vedetta” is undoubtedly Siena’s best, richest and most up-to-date classifieds newspaper.The 90 cents to buy it could prove to be an excellent investment. “The Lookout” also has a fairly rich website, which can be viewed at www.lavedetta.it. Staying with print publications also check out “The Flea,” just in case.
Keep in mind, however, that many of the ads in these weeklies are placed by real estate agencies!
Finally, word of mouth: if you have friends,relatives and the like who can help you in some way take the opportunity at once. Very useful, in a small town like Siena, to also ask the shopkeepers, bartenders and clerks in the various stores if they can help you: there is a network of acquaintances that you cannot even imagine, but that could be very useful to you!
PART 2:THE APPOINTMENT WITH THE OWNER-be awake!
Once you’ve found a contact….get busy!!!Show great interest in the offer, even if you haven’t seen the house yet: make an appointment as soon as possible, visit it carefully, be very critical about everything, and don’t be afraid to ask questions; ask for clarification about the price (how much?When should you pay?are expenses included or excluded?what is meant by “expenses”), the type of contract (how many months?Is it possible to renew it?), condominium regulations, proper functioning of systems (electricity, water, gas, heating).
Show confidence, but at the same time be forthcoming; expect questions like “Do you smoke?”, “Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?””Do you plan parties/dinners?” and be reassuring on these points,but don’t make commitments that you can’t keep later (e.g., don’t say you won’t smoke in the house if you plan to turn your room into the smoking room of an airplane…).
If the house interests you be quick in your decision, best to assure the owner now that you intend to take it and make another appointment for contract signing. Generally, do not let more than 24 hours pass from the time you see the house to the time you confirm (or not) your intention to take it. 24 hours, no more, in fact sometimes it may be too much.
PART 3:THE CONTRACT – protect yourself!
If you have found the house that is right for you now comes the time to sign the contract (…if they propose one). Once again great care is required on your part: read everything carefully, preferably ask for a copy and watch it at home before signing it, perhaps asking someone more experienced than you for help. Don’t take anything for granted: what you were promised verbally may not necessarily be confirmed in the document you are about to sign, so pay close attention to every little detail and don’t be afraid to ask the landlord for clarification if there is some point in the contract that is a little unclear to you. Do everything with the consepension that after the contract is signed there is not much to be done and it is all up to the good heart of the owner (so don’t get your hopes up!) to come to meet your needs.
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