Directly from Netherlands, we present you Messrs Rutger Brandt and Hans Kos, the new owners of the farmhouse “Il Felceto”. They will tell us how they bought, thanks to Great Estate, their dream home.
- Dear Mr. Brandt and Mr.Kos, first of all I would like to thank you for the time you gave to us. We are very glad to meet you. Would you like to tell us something about you, for instance, which are your job?
HK: I am a Senior Purser with KLM airlines. RB: I am the owner of two art galleries in Amsterdam: Galerie Mokum and Rutger Brandt Gallery
- When did you come for the first time in Italy? Did you already know our Country and our culture? What did you like the most?
RB: We have been coming to Italy for the last 20 years and immediately fell in love with the country: the kind people, the countryside, the art, the food and of course the weather…We had the idea that maybe once we could purchase a small house to enjoy the country even more. But that was something that we were thinking to do at the age of retirement.
- Why did you choose to acquire a property in Italy? And why did you choose the area of Cetona, in the Siena province? If is not a problem for you to answer, may I ask you also the reasons of your purchase? Is that for holidays, relax, a personal investment, business?
RB: We ‘discovered’ Cetona a few years ago, we first stayed near Sarteano and later close to Cetona itself. The place is enchanting and seems ‘unspoilt’ from (mass) tourism. We see most Italian people on the beautiful square. And there is everything you need: good restaurants, shops etc. And maybe luckily enough no big attraction to lure in many tourists so we hope it will remain the sense of authenticity it has. Also there is a sense of ‘grandeur’ about the environment: it’s more upscale than many other places we know. It has something special that may be difficult to pin-point. Also the surrounding is to us the most beautiful of all what we have seen of Italy so far. And we have travelled quite a lot in Italy over the last years. The countryside and the atmosphere of Cetona is very appealing to us.
- How did you find our Group, the Great Estate Immobiliare?
RB: We rented a place last summer (Piandisette) for the second time, the first time two years before. Once more we felt very much at home in this area, we more or less fell in love with it. I always look at the prices of real estate wherever I am and I was curious what the prices were in the area. So I googled and found Great Estates and filled out an enquiry asking for prices. Then one of the agents (Iuliia) was rather persistent into making an appointment to view one house that seemed to be in a price range we could consider. So on our last day of the vacation we made the appointment at that property and also met Roberto as one of the agents. Back home it made us think and discuss if indeed we would ever want to purchase property in Tuscany. We were certain that if that were the case it would have to be in Cetona area. We were in email contact with Roberto after that visit and we made an appointment in October to look at many, 11 or so, properties. Il Felceto was by far the most interesting to us.
- Finally, it has arrived the time to talk about the farmhouse you recently acquired, “Il Felceto” farmhouse. May you tell us the sensations or impressions you had during the first visit to your actual property? Do you have some anecdote?
RB: to be honest we thought it was (way) over our budget but we were immediately taken by the charm of the house, the state it’s in, the view, the garden, the size of the pool and its setting etc. etc. There was no negative thing about it what so ever. Except the price… It’s a bigger house than we had anticipated purchasing, with more bedrooms than two people need. But in the end it’s nice to be able to have the entire family stay over and this house should be easier to rent out for vacation purposes. The ‘flow’ of the house is wonderful: everything you need is on the ground floor, the large window is very unusual: most times the windows are quite small. So the light is perfect too and it had recently been renovated. All in a ‘dream’ house! Even after it was officially ours we could not believe it’s really our new home away from home! We feel very blessed.
- As, you mentioned, before choosing “Il Felceto”, you visited other properties in the same area. Did you search in different areas all over Italy as well? And why did you finally decided to acquire this specific farmhouse?
RB: yes as mentioned on a special trip in October. No we have never seriously looked at property elsewhere in Italy. We did look in Le Marche a few years ago but even though it’s beautiful there too it’s very far from ‘civilisation’.
- Do you think your new farmhouse is perfect as it is now or will you modify something in it? Have you got already an idea of what will you improve or personalize?
RB: We intend to take things slowly: we are obviously changing the decoration but the main character will be untouched. And if in time we find that things can be changed for the better we will but for now there is nothing urgent to change. Except perhaps for the entrance gate which is a bit simple. That we would like to modify with two brick columns like is seen quite a bit in this area of Tuscany. And we will try to make more of the garden through the help of Franco.
- Roberto Biggera, one of the professionals working in Great Estate Immobiliare, was your real estate consultant; he helped and guided you during the entire negotiations process. What can you tell us about your experience with him?
RB: in one word: excellent!! We had a very, very good experience with Roberto. He tirelessly took us around all the properties and with his calm and serious approach never gave us the feeling he was trying to push us to buy anything. His English is perfect and he is very knowledgeable about most everything we needed to know either about the property itself or matters related to it. To be honest; if we would have had a different consultant we may have never bought anything at all. He took us through the entire process relentlessly, with great patience. Also the negotiation with the vendors was done very well resulting in us purchasing Il Felceto at a price we could afford. If it wasn’t for Roberto I doubt it would have happened at all. And to this day Roberto is more than helpful with everything that needs to be arranged after the deal was done. We think Roberto is a unique person in the real estate business and can’t thank him enough for everything he has done to make this happen!
- Referring to the period of the negotiations process more than to the acquirement one, have you had or noticed particular bureaucratic problems?
RB: Yes there were some, it seems to us Italy has more red tape (is more bureaucratic) than Holland for instance. That too requires a certain subtlety that Roberto seems to have mastered.
- Among the different services for the purchase that our Group proposed to you, which one did you appreciated the most? Were them helpful for you?
RB: I would again say the relentless help of the agent taking us through the entire process.
- Do you think that the Great Estate Immobiliare is able to fully respond to the needs of all those international customers that may want acquire a prestigious property in Italy?
RB: I would say yes. My bank, ABN Amro, insisted I made use of the service of a Dutch lawyer specialized in purchasing property in Italy. When I told him I was doing business with Great Estate and Roberto Biggera he told me he had a good experience with them and that made me decide not to follow my banks advice. That saved us quite a large sum of money.
- In conclusion, would you suggest our Group to others international customers?
RB: most definitively so!
What are you waiting for? If your looking for your dream home in Italy, entrust yourselves to Great Estate!