Have you ever thought about turning your business around and starting selling homes abroad? Have you ever wondered what opportunities such a choice might offer you?
Italy, a country that has always been evocative and fascinating, the cradle of art, history and culture among the most popular in the world, is still capable of increasingly attracting foreign buyers. In fact, there are more and more requests for houses coming from across the border, both as a simple investment, but also as a refuge for summer holidays, or for a permanent move in order to enjoy the free time offered by retirement.
Although this phenomenon is becoming increasingly important for the entire Italian real estate sector, especially in a period of economic stagnation and slow recovery like today, little is still being said about it and the real estate agents themselves are struggling to understand its real potential. . Yet this trend could help give a decisive boost not only to our real estate ecosystem but also to the entire economy.
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Among the first to understand and exploit the benefits of the interest abroad for Made in Italy real estate, were the founders of the Gate-Away.com platform, which can be said to represent a real voice out of the choir in the Italian real estate sector. Gate-Away .com, the only real estate portal that aims to sell homes in our area to foreign buyers, has recorded constant growth from the moment of its birth until today. By interviewing Simone Rossi, general manager of Gate-Away .com, we had pleasant confirmation of the fact that Italian properties continue to be increasingly appreciated and sought after by potential foreign buyers.
Dear Mr. Rossi, where did the idea of creating an ad portal devoted to the promotion of Italian properties abroad come from? Tell us where you started from and how you got to the current service.
Gate-away .com was born almost ten years ago from an idea developed in the United Kingdom, where both I and another company partner, Annalisa Angellotti, were staying. Working in the English real estate sector, over time we have realized that there were no solutions that would give adequate visibility to the Italian real estate offer, despite the great interest shown. Strengthened by this conviction, and precisely on the eve of the global crisis, in 2007 we returned to Italy: this is how Gate-away .com was born, the only real estate portal dedicated exclusively to foreigners who wish to buy a second home in the beautiful country. In a short time, Gate-away .com has become the reference point for potential foreign buyers, private citizens or agencies wishing to sell homes abroad.
So what is your mission and how do you plan to get there?
We want to promote the destination of Italy abroad and bring together foreign demand and the supply of Italian properties in a qualified way. The portal is the main tool of our activities and we have chosen not to do real estate brokerage: the customer is free to independently manage contacts with potential foreign buyers and to continue the negotiation. In a short time we have become a point of reference for foreign buyers and in the light of this fact, we could say that the fundamental objectives have been achieved. But every self-respecting web company evolves with technological changes: we too are heading towards other goals.
What are the figures that make up your team and what tasks do they perform?
We are a close-knit and heterogeneous group made up of us three partners – Annalisa Angellotti, Antonio Quondamatteo and me – and 13 other employees. The staff combines professionalism with multisectoral experiences ranging in various fields: real estate, IT, data analysis, web design, sales, marketing and communication, knowledge of multiple languages, journalism and public relations. Our work requires a lot of skills, even if from the outside this may not transpire.
Now tell us the main features of your portal. What are the main differences compared to your competitors, by virtue of which a real estate agency should choose Gate-away .com rather than any other advertising web portal?
We are a specialized portal that offers excellent professional services, with a sector dedicated to customer care, to allow real estate agencies and individuals who want to sell homes to foreigners, to make the most of the portal and be satisfied with the results obtained from their advertisements. Gate-away .com represents an exclusive showcase for those who want to sell homes abroad, a means that greatly increases the opportunities for visibility since we are able to attract the attention of potential foreign buyers who visit and use our portal. We are talking about large numbers that are constantly increasing: our audience is represented by the target that real estate agents and private individuals must reach to give visibility to the properties they want to sell. With us they can do it. And to keep an active and interested audience, we have chosen to focus on the fact that foreign buyers buy the entire Italy destination, not just the brick... This also means Italian lifestyle and Made in Italy. This is why we focus on multilingual blogs, social networks, dedicated newsletters, direct communications to national and international media, guides and e-books to tell about Italy and its excellences. We also offer services with high added value, such as collaborations with professionals and consultants in the legal and financial sector, to provide support and information to our foreign users.
Who your service is for and what standards should ads follow?
Gate-away .com hosts residential properties from all over Italy that can be published by real estate operators and also by private citizens. Properties must meet the characteristics sought by international investors, for this reason only properties with certain characteristics are published: it is essential that the foreign user can have a positive search experience and be able to find his ideal home. This depends on the correspondence of the advertisements to these certain characteristics. To give an example: a small condominium apartment does not usually arouse the same interest as a country cottage.
You are a rather innovative reality: how do you manage your web reputation and what use do you make of social channels?
Gate-away .com promotes Italian real estate but also the beauties and treasures of Italy, sharing them through news, information, stories and images. Social networks represent the perfect tool to intercept the attention of our public to whom we narrate the treasures of our country. Social media are also a strategic tool for receiving comments and feedback, which we appreciate very much even when they are not positive: they are vital and allow us to improve by making a healthy self-criticism.
When it comes to ad portals, it is inevitable to fall back on the numbers. Can you give us some data regarding Gate-away .com?
The portal has 10 language versions and collects requests from 150 countries. There are over 20 thousand properties published on the site and we record an average of over 100 thousand unique visitors per month. The monthly pages viewed are over 1.5 million while the subscribers to our newsletter in English have reached 30 thousand. We currently have over 25,000 fans on Facebook. Fortunately for us, these numbers are constantly growing.
Is the brick still considered a safe investment abroad, after the serious crisis in the real estate market? Which are the countries in which the interest in real estate in our country is most alive?
Germany, the United States, Belgium and the Netherlands together with the United Kingdom are the countries that have the highest number of requests for real estate. Germany, in particular, experienced tremendous growth in the first half of this year. It will be interesting to analyze the data for the second half when we publish our annual report next January. Our perception is that foreign demand has not suffered severe damage from the crisis given that in recent times we have seen continuous growth in demand. An example above all was the United Kingdom, which has always been one of the most active countries in requesting houses in Italy. The Brexit effect and the uncertainty of the outcome of the referendum did not cause the long-awaited massacre. The growth rate in the first half was certainly not brilliant, but it remained positive. Buying a property is always a great way to invest your savings, especially if we are talking about people who use their home for the holidays and who plan, once they retire, to spend part of the year in our country or to settle in Italy in a stable. The place in the sun that everyone dreams of.
What developments do you foresee in the future for your service, in relation to the particular moment of the real estate sector in Italy and abroad?
We will certainly continue to improve the performance of the site and the browsing experience for users. We have much news in the pipeline for the New Year and we are working on services for our customers that are increasingly customer-friendly. The rest comes by itself. We live in the most beautiful country in the world: a great advantage!Tags: buy house in italy, buy property in italy, buying a property in italy, buying house in italy, buying in italy, buying property in italy, buying property in italy as an american, buying real estate in italy, can americans buy property in italy, how to buy property in italy, italian housing, italy real estate, owning property in italy, property in italy, purchase property in italy