Living in Florence Living in Florence

Another apartment seeker

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Today, I went to visit a couple more apartments with my agente (real estate agent) #2. We had set up today's appointment last Thursday when we arrived late to an apartment and the proprietario (owner) had supposedly already left. My agente called the proprietario to reschedule the appointment and so here we were again: same place a few days later.

We met in front of the bar that is across the street from the apartment. The proprietario of the apartment wasn't there at our scheduled time, so my agente called the proprietario. He told her that there was someone living in the apartment, so we kept ringing the campanello (doorbell) to no avail. My agente called the proprietario again and he finally decided to come let us in to see it.

After he opened the door to the apartment, we both realized that no one was living in the apartment: the beds were bare and all the cupboards were empty.

Many apartments that I have visited are divided into two areas: the zona notte (night area) and the zona giorno (day area). Usually, the zona notte has a door that you can close so that the bedrooms are quiet. Most people use the zona giorno as an area in which they cook, eat, work, and relax.

In this apartment the zona notte was quiet. They told me that the Arno was right in front of me, but I couldn't see it past the many buildings hindering the view. In the zona giorno, the proprietario opened all the windows and sat on the couch to talk to us. Because of the street noise, I couldn't hear much of what he was saying. I picked out a few words and filled in the rest of his sentences. We thanked him for letting us in and then we left.

I do like how my agente #2 never puts me on the spot and understands that it only takes a few minutes to see an apartment and know if you want it or not.

My agente and I have become quite friendly. She said she was off to see another apartment on via de' Serragli. It's not an area that interests me, but she told me that it's really nice and that I should see it. I love seeing apartments, so I escorted her to the next appointment.

We arrived a few minutes late and there was another girl, una milanese (from Milan), waiting to visit the apartment. I wasn't introduced as her competition for the apartment, so she was rather pleasant, but still a little distant. She was starting to get a little antsy because she had an appointment on the other side of town, which in Florentine terms only means on the other side of the Arno or viale (the big avenue that encircles the city).

She said, "Il mio telefonino è scarico e ho un'appuntamento fra 15 minuti." (My phone is not charged and I have an appointment in 15 minutes). I reached into my purse and handed her my mobile phone, "Puoi usare il mio se vuoi." (You can use mine if you want). I walked away to give her some privacy and looked at the gardens surrounding the beautiful palazzo (building).

She walked up to me to hand me back my phone and thanked me. I didn't want her to think that I wanted to get the apartment as well, but I tried to make small talk. "Quanti appartamenti hai visto fin ora?" (How many apartments have you seen up to now?), I asked her. "Ne ho visti sei ieri e almeno quattro o cinque questo fine settimana." (I saw six yesterday and at least four or five this weekend).

I was surprised that she saw so many apartments in such a short period of time, but she then said, "Ho chiamato tante agenzie e se non avevano niente, ho lasciato il mio numero." (I called many agencies and if they didn't have anything, I left my number.) I realized that she was just looking for an apartment the opposite way that I am. I stuck with a few agenti in the hopes that they'd help me find a place. I asked her where she got all the agency names and numbers and she replied, "Ho guardato su www.casa.it." I had looked at that website a few months ago and never found anything.

Suddenly, she said, "Ma anche tu sei qui per visitare quest'appartamento?" (But you're also here to see this apartment?) "Oh no," I reassured her, "Sono qui perchè la mia agente è anche una mia amica." (I'm here because my agent is also a friend of mine.)

The milanese was very upset about waiting so long and turned quite nasty. She said to my agente that she can't come back to see the apartment later and that she's upset for having waited so long. The problem was that the proprietario of the apartment thought that the operai (workmen) would still be in the apartment to let us in, but they weren't.

Finally, a man arrived with his casco (helmet) still on and we raced up three flights of stairs. The apartment had no windows yet in the internal courtyard area, and it was obvious that it was still being worked on. I was amazed at how beautiful it was. The apartment looked out onto trees and distant rooftops toward Bellosguardo. I was impressed with it and the milanese instantly perked up. She was very interested in the apartment and ended up scheduling a time to have her boyfriend come look at it.

It was fun talking to someone else who is also actively looking for an apartment in Florence. We discussed some of the places we'd seen and a few of them were the same even though the prices seemed to have gone down since I went to see them.

Because the milanese and I are looking for the same thing, we couldn't exactly exchange too much information. We only discussed all the places that didn't work for us.

The milanese did tell me about another apartment in Piazza della Signoria that my agente knew of as well, but didn't think I'd be interested in. I ended up seeing it with Dave and initially we liked it, but a few hours after we got home we realized that we weren't convinti (convinced).

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