Every country has its own system for property purchase so here are the main stages for buying a property in Italy:
Having found your house in Italy, viewed it (maybe several times) and decided it is 'the one,' then it is time to formalise the whole process.
Whereas in the UK it is common to offer well below the asking price, this is not often the case when you buy Italian properties.
It has been known for the vendor to walk away if the offer is considered insulting!
Your agent will advise you on whether or not your offer is a realistic one.
You will be asked to sign an agreement which shows you are seriously intentioned about the property and want to reserve it (known as the Proposta), and this is accompanied by a small deposit (downpayment).
This is the time when the survey is organised as well as local land registry searches and controls with the local authorities (Comune) to check that the property complies with all local planning and building regulations.
Normally this work is carried out by a local surveyor (geometra) and public notary (notaio).
If you wish you can have these and additional searches and a structural survey organised by an independent company of Italian specialist solicitors.
These checks and searches can take up to three weeks/one month and the completion of the sale cannot go ahead without them. These services are to be paid apart.
The second step is the signature of a written contract (Compromesso) which is a binding legal agreement, signed by both parties or their legal representatives, to complete the purchase at a pre-agreed date in the offices of a named local public notary, chosen by the buyer.
The agreed selling price is stipulated plus the agreed deposit which is between 20 and 30 percent of the purchase price.
Italian law stipulates that if you pull out of the agreement you lose your deposit, so it is vital that all checks and documentation are perfectly congruent and available at this stage.
If there are problems or if paperwork is under preparation (eg planning documents) then a timetable should be drawn up for the completion of this. If the vendor withdraws from the sale then she/he has to pay you double the deposit back. At this stage the agents who have handled the sale usually requires their fee, normally three percent of the purchase price.
The third and last stage is where the sale is completed at the offices of the public notary. This process is often referred to in Italian as the 'atto definitivo' or ‘Rogito (deed)’.
It is normal for all parties to attend this procedure in person and the details of the deed are read aloud from the notary.
If you don't speak Italian then a translator is made available by the agents handling the sale. It is the job of the notary to draft the purchase deed and to ensure the proper execution, registration, and payment of all Italian taxes relevant to the completion.
Although it can take up to an hour and perhaps longer to complete the formalities required to buy your Italian property, there is a real feeling of achievement at the end!
Registration Tax. This is 9% for non-residents, 2% for residents. When purchasing land this percentage increase to 18%; note that this includes Stamp Duties (Bolli) which is 1% of the cadastral value – i.e. the value of the property as declared by the land registry.
The notary's fees amount to approximately 2-2,5% of the total cadastral value plus 22% IVA (VAT).
Translator Fees - for formal translation of the deed (rogito), typically around € 350-500
The geometra's fees (local surveyor) vary, depending on the work carried out.
Agency fees - 3% of the purchase price of the property plus 22% IVA (VAT).
Any legal fees if you have used your own solicitor.
Bank Charges, if a money transfer is involved.
If your appetite has been whetted, then you can begin your search here by looking at our selection of properties.
If you have more questions about buying Italian properties or anything else we can help you with, then please get in touch by email or we can call you.
General list of the documents that the vendor has to submit to the notary:
Act of origin or succession
Technical report on urban compliance
Floor plans and cadastral certificate
Building permits or amnesties for works performed
Condominium Regulations and last payments made
Mortgages due to bank loans or other reasons
Personal documents, fiscal code and proof of marital status