We traveled to Milan excited, unsure what the week would bring.
We had 12 houses on the schedule to visit and tour.
Friends near and dear talked about how it was like we were on House Hunters International. (one of my favorite shows) What a romantic notion that was! We had heard from Chris’s co-workers that the house hunting experience is very stressful and to not get attached to any one house- “the process is long and complicated,” they said.
I had high hopes for finding a home in Basiglio, a small town, almost a village really, that had the most “Italian charm” out of all the areas near Milan that I toured while there in January.
Basiglio would be perfect. Close to the school, close to the expat community, more housing options with a yard for the dogs. (far from Chris’s work however) Chris was still holding out hope to find something closer to work, maybe halfway in between.
We started the day in Basiglio, looking at 7 houses there. Basiglio is small, with a pizzeria, a bakery, a tabacchi shop and coffee bar and 2 restaurants. There are bike trails that link it to the next town. It feels like somewhere you’d like to raise a family.
Later we switched real estate agents and drove to Segrate to look at 5 more homes. Segrate is closer to Chris’s work, closer to the city. I instantly did not like it- but was willing to give it a chance while we looked.
It was very interesting seeing the differences between all the houses. All but 2 are townhouse style, attached to other homes. The 2 that stood alone in an urban neighborhood in Segrate had large yards, and bars on all the windows due to the neighborhood. We both tried hard to talk ourselves into a couple of these houses, but it was harder to picture our family living there.
By the end of the day we were exhausted, excited, our heads swimming with details and pictures of what we had seen. We returned to the hotel, ate dinner and processed through it all.
By the next day we had made a list of our top 3- all in Basiglio and started working with our agent to proceed. It was love at first sight for the pink house, the first house we saw in Basiglio. I instantly started imagining who would be in which room, and how we would decorate.
This house also had immediate complications with the landlord and a crazy seeming local real estate agent who was stirring the pot with her shenanigans. We loved the house so much that we kept trying despite our agent warning that we may want to walk away from this house. After 1 more day of trying to negotiate and getting major red flags from the whole situation, we decided to walk away and move on to house 2. I was sad. And stressed. Even though I knew it would be too good to be true to get the first house we loved.
The next day we revisited houses 2 and 3. House 2 fell through as soon as we expressed interest in it, due to the owners deciding overnight that they would like to sell their home instead of rent it.
That took us to house 3. I loved so many things about this place. Large yard, in the same gated neighborhood as house 2 with lots of large trees, close to the bike trails, small but modern kitchen, beautiful living/dining room with lovely dark wood floors, great space for guests in the basement level in the family room.
So we left Italy after getting the ball rolling on the process of renting this home. The ball rolls very slowly in Italy, so to us it took forever to start getting paperwork signed and reviewed by the legal team etc. But it looks like this is where we will be landing for the next few years!