To find our piece of land with the option to restore and trullo and to close the deal was an interesting journey of 8 months. It included several trips to Puglia, take over the organisation and clarifications from a real estate agent who did not really know what he was doing and finally sign the papers at the notary office of Ceglie Messapica which was an experience of it’s own. And we were lucky, to find our dream object during the first trip we seriously started looking for a piece of land to build on. If was clear that we wanted to be in or close by the Valle d’Itria and my husband wanted to have at least 10’000 m2 of land with olive trees. The way we started the hunt, was that we did a looot of research by ourselves, mainly on websites like casa.it, kijiji.it and immobiliare.it. From the objects that were in our price range and desired area, we did a top 10 list and contacted the real estate agents about a week before we arrived in Apulia.
We met two agents that took us to view the objects and after two days of touring, we had found our preferred piece of land. It is a beautifully terraced land with 11000 m2 and a mix of fruit trees and olive trees situated in a remote ‘Contrada’. On top sits an old trullo with four cones, completely fallen apart. It looks like it is asleep and we can’t wait to wake it up very soon.
We were lucky that our trullo already came with a project plan that we were able to adapt easily. The ‘geometra’ (surveyor) in charge, helped us a lot with clarifying building sizes and permits.
When it comes to choosing a place or an apartment, I believe strongly that it is a lot about gut-feeling. You need to feel a certain magic that the place has. We saw about 10 different trulli that were for sale, some at very good offers, but we found that magic only on the piece of land we bought, outside of Ceglie Messapica, the gourmet capital of Puglia.
Our buying tips for Puglia:
- Do your research: focus on one area as currently there are a lot of objects on sale. If you want to be in the heart of the trulloland, the Valle d’Itria is the right spot for you. Be aware that the more you are in the heart of the Valle d’Itria, the higher the prices. But if you want to rent it out as a vacation home, location is important.
- Once you know your place to be, get an idea of the price range. With the current market situation there is quite some room for negotiation.
- If you want to build a house, make sure that you buy a piece of land that you are allowed to build on (terreno edificabile). A lot of properties for sale are agricultural land and you cannot build on it.
- The sizes of the house or trullo you can build are different from town to town. Make sure you get all the details before closing the deal as some laws changed at the end of 2013. You don’t want to end up with a 20 m2 trullo and no option to extend its size.
- If you feel like you don’t want to do the research on your own and negotiate by yourself, work with a trustworthy real estate agency. If you have a bad feeling, change agent. Trusting people is one of the most difficult parts wherever in the world you make a large investment. Understanding the local customs helps a lot.
- Be patient! Our experience on buying a property in Puglia was, that things can move slowly, mainly because of the paper work that needs to be done before hand. A good overview of the purchasing process can be found here.