Buying Property in Puglia, Italy: Success stories – Mark Jacobs

Mark Jacobs, has a penchant for the Italian way of life – the language, the lifestyle and most of all what he describes as ‘the craziness’!

After getting married in Italy in 1994 and having learnt Italian, he began the search for his dream holiday home in the Puglia region in Italy about a year ago. After months of researching the region he finally found his perfect Italian property to purchase– a three-bedroom traditional Trullo, with a few modern twists – in Latiano, and sealed the deal once and for all in January 2018!

Mark is now undertaking some extensive renovations to his Italian property, including the installation of a swimming pool and solar panels to complete his eco-friendly holiday home, which he plans to use with his friends and family and also rent it out to tourists, when he’s not using it himself.

What advice would you give anyone looking to buy property in Italy?

Mark says: “Do your research! I came across Total Buying Abroad very early on during my research into buying a property in Italy and found their Buying in Italy Guide really helpful and their guidance invaluable – especially regarding using a currency specialist, they helped save me thousands!

“If you’re serious about buying in Italy, ask around in both the UK and while in Italy, you’ll probably be surprised how many people you encounter who have already been through it – friends of friends, other holiday makers, work colleagues!

“It’s also crucial to make sure that you’ve budgeted accordingly and make sure the finances work for you before you proceeding with a property purchase in Italy.”

What have you found most difficult regarding your Italian property purchase?

Mark says: “We plan to rent our property in Puglia out to other tourists when we’re not using it ourselves, which sounds simple enough. However, getting a straight answer about how to go about this and how much it will cost has been more difficult than expected. (Read our Guide to renting out your holiday home in Italy for more information about this.)

“During the Italian property buying process and while we’ve been going through planning permission we’ve been renting a traditional Trullo locally, and luckily through this I met someone who will be managing the holiday let for us. I really struggled to get anyone to confirm the cost for property management in Puglia before negotiating this arrangement though. As it turns out, the going rate is between 20 and 30 per cent of the cost of the holiday rental!”

Did you encounter any surprises throughout the process – good or bad?

Mark says: “So far, there haven’t been any unpleasant surprises – certainly nothing that couldn’t be rectified with the right help. But we’re only three weeks into some ambitious renovation plans, so that could change!

“Seriously though, I think the main reason we’ve not had any major surprises is because we went into it open-minded and we’re embracing the differences in culture.

“I must admit was pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced the Italian lawyer that Total Buying Abroad recommended was. Getting a recommendation for a lawyer from a UK based company and knowing that the lawyer has helped other UK residents to buy in Italy was very comforting.”

What should people be aware of when buying property in Italy?

Mark says: “I was advised by the estate agent that an Italian lawyer wasn’t necessary (“That’s not how we do it in Italy!”) But on the advice of Total Buying Abroad I decided to instruct their recommended lawyer, and I’m so glad I did!

“In Italy there are, in effect, two land registries – the Catasto and a separate deeds registry, the ‘banca dati ipotecaria’.

“The Catasto, contains graphical, census and administrative data about properties while the deeds registry has information on property ownership, which indicates who has or had legal rights to a property. Our lawyer found that according to the ‘banca dati ipotecaria’, despite the Catasto stating the current owners were in 100 per cent ownership, there was a historical legacy of ownership that made things more complicated. It delayed the process slightly, but it means that all the necessary paperwork was completed properly to ensure that there won’t be any future complications. Without a lawyer acting on my behalf this would have certainly gone under the radar and could have had financial implications and caused complications in the future.

“You also need to be aware that buying a property in Italy and everything that goes with it, is nothing like the UK. Despite there being a somewhat ‘eccentric’ side to Italian culture (which I love!), the rules and regulations can be very strict. I’m sure the locals know how to navigate it and find loopholes but I’m sticking to the rules hard and fast. That’s said I’m also working closely with local people, who know the area well, for the building works and holiday rental, so I’m sure they’ll help me find a simpler way if they can. Choosing people that I can trust has been a challenge, but the key thing is once you’ve made your decision to trust your instinct and stick with it!”

How would you describe your experience of buying a property in Italy?

Mark says: “I can honestly say I’ve really enjoyed the process of buying a property in Italy from start to finish, and I’m continuing to find the renovation project an exciting challenge. Even the ups and downs have been interesting. I think it’s the world of the unknown that I enjoy!

“If it’s something you’re considering I would highly recommend following your dream. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into first, seek professional help and be prepared to go with the flow!”

Find out about other success stories of people buying in Italy!

If you’d like more information about buying a property in Italy, download our handy Buying in Italy Guide.  

Our team are also on hand for initial guidance about estate agents, English-speaking Italian lawyers, currency exchange and mortgage specialists in Italy. Give us a call on 01244 478 911 or email


TBA-RFX-guide-banner [LONG]



Article published: June 26, 2018