An interview with Wim Peeters, Buying Agent and Founder of Italian Property Finder.

In this exclusive interview, we’ll explore the world of Italian real estate with Wim Peeters, founder of Italian Property Finder. We’ll delve into his journey in founding the company, the unique challenges of the Italian property market, and what makes Italy an attractive destination for property investors. Join us as we gain insights into the Italian real estate landscape through Wim Peeters’ expertise and perspective.

First things first: What Inspired You to Establish a Real Estate Company?

Wim: “My passion for real estate has always been a driving force. In the early days, friends often asked me to find them a home because they knew how fascinated I was by the world of real estate. Despite a very different career in the past, I founded the education company ‘Vision’ in 1999, which I transferred to Deloitte in 2014, where I remained partner for another 4 years. However, I began to contemplate more and more about realizing my passions: Italy and real estate.”

“To make my dream come true, I initially decided to become a B.I.V. real estate agent in Belgium. I completed a 2-year internship with a certified real estate agent in Belgium and then passed an exam and an oral examination. Afterward, I applied for a European Professional Card, which allows me to conduct real estate activities in Italy from Belgium. This provided me with the opportunity to combine my passion for real estate with my love for Italy and start a real estate company.”

You Chose to Become a Buying Agent Instead of a Real Estate Agent, Why?

Wim: “My passion for Italy led me to purchase a house in this beautiful country in 2017. Despite being known as an entrepreneurial person, the process of buying a house in Italy proved to be quite a challenge. It started with searching for the right property, visiting it, making a selection, returning to Italy with my wife, and so on. Once we had chosen a specific property, I realized that I had little knowledge of the market. Questions like the right prices, the course of the purchase process, and ensuring a safe and smooth transaction arose.”

“Particularly concerns such as avoiding building violations, which are common in Italy, and the need for legal guidance and trusted advisors during the purchase process were crucial. This personal experience of buying my own house in Italy, going through all the ups and downs and difficulties, made me realize that there must be a market of people who have long been searching for real estate in Italy but do not have the time, knowledge, and know-how to do it themselves. These people actually need a reliable advisor.”

“That’s why I chose to work as a buying agent, to help others find their dream homes in Italy and guide them through the entire purchase process. This way, they can acquire their ideal Italian real estate with confidence and certainty.”

What Are the Advantages of Working with a Buying Agent?

Wim: “In the real estate world of Italy, real estate agents typically operate on behalf of sellers, so the interests of the buyer are not always their highest priority. This can result in paying too high a price for a property. Working with a buying agent offers significant benefits. One major advantage is that we have access to properties that have not yet appeared on the market. This allows us to view homes more easily before their public appearance and gain insights that would otherwise not be available to buyers.”

“Thanks to our close relationships and extensive networks with real estate professionals and agents, we can even gain access to luxury properties that were not known to be for sale. This approach has already led to finding off-market homes for various clients, in some cases without the need for competitive bids. Our collaboration provides the opportunity to discover both on-market and off-market properties, significantly enhancing the chances of success.”

“Searching for suitable real estate can be a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating task. Therefore, it is valuable to rely on an expert who deals with this task daily. Our experience allows us to have a realistic understanding of what a fair price is for luxury real estate. We are constantly monitoring the market and can immediately recognize an opportunity when it arises.”

How Does the Process of Purchasing a Property with a Buying Agent Work?

Wim: “After an initial conversation where we discuss the client’s preferences, we get to work. We explore the market in the region(s) selected by the client and compile an initial selection of about 20 properties. Then, together with the client, we discuss the characteristics of these homes, with a request to choose 4 or 6 houses that we will visit together on-site. Usually, this viewing trip in Italy takes 3-5 days.”

“Once the client has chosen their final home, our legal team conducts all necessary background checks. We have the property professionally inspected for any structural issues, check for historical issues such as debts, visit the neighborhood both during the day and at night to assess potential noise issues, and ensure there is no public footpath through the garden! Once everything is in order, we begin the negotiation phase.”

Why Did You Choose to Focus Exclusively on Italy?

Wim: “My passion for Italy began at a young age. My very first visit to Italy was when I was 12 years old on a school excursion, and I loved the country even then. When people ask me what attracts me to Italy, I usually answer with “CCC.” While older people might immediately think of the Cellules Communistes Combattantes, an extreme right-wing terrorist organization from the 1980s, CCC means to me Climat, Culture, and Culinary, which go hand in hand with Italy’s diversity.”

“It’s an amazing country where people are very authentic. The way of life is different, much calmer and less stressful than here. For me, owning a house in Italy and being able to go there is an incredible luxury. Whether I’m in Italy for work or relaxation, I always feel at home there. That’s why I chose to focus entirely on Italy because the country inspires me and provides a sense of connection that I don’t find anywhere else.”

What Makes Italy Such an Attractive Destination for Potential Buyers of Real Estate?

Wim: “First and foremost, the country itself has a lot to offer. With its rich culture, stunning mountains, enchanting coastlines, and beautiful countryside, Italy attracts a wide range of buyers. Additionally, there are some key center cities like Florence, Rome, Pisa, and others, which have a unique charm and offer valuable investments. Moreover, Italy is highly accessible, making it easy for international buyers to reach.”

“The real estate market in the country is on a strong upward trend, ensuring potential buyers a valuable and profitable investment. The Italian government provides various fiscal benefits to real estate buyers, making it even more appealing to acquire properties. Registration taxes are remarkably low, and the inheritance policy makes it easy to transfer properties to future generations. This makes Italy a dream destination for those who want to leave something behind for their loved ones. Of course, the passion for Italy itself plays a significant role in considering a real estate purchase. Those drawn to Italy’s rich history, beautiful landscapes, and delightful cuisine will especially enjoy owning property in this captivating country.”

What Types of Real Estate Does Your Company Offer in Italy? Are There Specific Regions or Cities You Focus On?

Wim: “Our focus lies on the beautiful regions of Tuscany, Umbria, and Le Marche, which also receive the most interest from clients. These regions are exceptionally diverse and offer a wide range of opportunities. Tuscany is particularly beloved for the presence of iconic cities like Florence, Siena, Arezzo, and Cortona, which are easily accessible via various airports. Tuscany is also known for its rich history and culture, but it may be somewhat more expensive compared to regions like Umbria or Le Marche when it comes to property purchases.”

“On the other hand, Umbria is known as the “green lung” of Italy and is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. With its beautiful natural landscapes, it’s the ideal place for hiking, trekking, cycling, and other outdoor activities. Le Marche, a less known region to the general public, offers a stunning coastline. Here, one can still find interesting real estate deals and acquire beautiful properties.”

Can You Provide an Example of a Notable Success Story Where Your Company Helped with the Sale of an Exclusive Property in Italy?

Wim: “During the COVID-19 period, I had a client from Canada who couldn’t travel due to strict regulations there, unlike in Europe. However, this client was determined to buy a house in Italy. To assist him, I decided to travel to Italy and personally select and present some properties to him. Ultimately, this client purchased a house in Italy based solely on my personal advice.”

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic and travel restrictions, my company managed to guide and provide the right information to this client remotely, allowing him to make an informed decision. The success of this transaction demonstrates the value of my personal approach and expertise in Italy’s real estate market. I’m proud that I could help my client fulfill his dream of acquiring an exclusive property in Italy, even in a challenging time.”

Interested in buying an Italian property? Contact Italian Property Finder today.

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