Unique Living
August 5th, 2018 | by Serge Cowan

A luxury property buyer’s guide to Italy

Unique Living’s guide to purchasing a luxury property in Italy



BUYING PROPOSAL (Proposta d’acquisto)
This is a short contract, prepared in Italian and English with which you pay a confirmatory deposit (usually 5%to 10% ) to take the property off the market for a short period, whilst the necessary checks and paper work are undertaken. We recommend that the deposit is held in an Escrow account. We advise that you employ the services of a geometra (surveyor) to check the status of the property with local land registry, and a lawyer to oversee this contract and coordinate the due diligence process.

This is a contract prepared in both Italian and English, this is a legally binding contract between the purchaser and the vendor. The contract defines all selling conditions including description of the property, rights of way, mortgage obligations, liens, impediments, payment conditions, ownership rights etc. On signing of this contract the purchaser is required to pay a deposit of approximately 20% of the property price. This payment can be paid directly to the vendor or held in Escrow; please discuss these options with lawyer.

The preliminary contract can be notarised or prepared by the agent with the lawyers of both

The final contract is signed at the Notary’s (notaio) office.

The Notary is an impartial chartered mediator, legally obliged to protect the interests of both parties, and ensure full transparency of all relevant facts relating to the purchase and sale of the property. The notary will check the properties legal and cadastral status, and assume the responsibility of preparing the purchase deeds.

You either need to be present to sign the documents in front of the notary or you can give someone present in Italy the power of attorney to sign on your behalf. If you don’t speak fluent Italian you’ll be assisted by a qualified translator and the contract will be read out in both Italian and your own language.

Purchase taxes and the notary fee are to be paid by the buyer at the signing as well as the balance of the purchase price. Once all documentation is signed and all monies paid you will be handed the keys to your Italian property.

The purchase deed is then sent to the land registry and returned to you after approximately two months.

When purchasing a property in Italy you will be required to pay fees to the Notary, commission to the estate agency and tax on the price of the property. These fees are listed and explained below.

Unlike the UK, in Italy each property has a sale price (that which is paid to the vendor) and a “book value” which is the value according to the land registry office. Please note that the “book value” tends to be lower than the purchase price on resale properties and is often as much as 70% less than the purchase price. We will be happy to provide estimates on individual properties.

If you are planning to come and live in Italy permanently
If this is the case and you do not own another property in Italy you can apply for Italian residency. If you are a resident or are planning to apply for residency within 18 months of signing the final contract you will be required to pay the “Imposta di Registro”, this is a tax of 3% of the “book value” of the property. This tax is increased to 4% and is referred to as IVA (VAT) if you are acquiring the property from a company rather than from a private vendor.

If your Italian house is to be a holiday home (Or if you already own a property in Italy)
If so and you are declaring your Italian house as your second home, you will be required to pay the “Imposta di Registro” of 9% of the book value of the property.

We can discuss and advise on all residency and tax related issues.

Land Taxes
If you are acquiring a property with land then tax of 12% is paid on the declared value of the land. It is the notary that decides the acceptable market value of the land and therefore the corresponding tax.

Notary fees vary according to the purchase price of the property (not the book value), the area and the chosen notary. The fees are usually somewhere between €1000 and €4000.

If you are not a fluent Italian speaker you will be required to pay for a certified translator for the
signing of the final contract.

In Italy both the vendor and the purchaser pay commission to the estate agency. We charge 3% commission to buyers – this is paid on the purchase price and not the book value of the property. VAT (IVA) has to be paid on this commission.

We are happy to request a full estimate of fees from a notary prior to signing the preliminary contract.

*information provided in this Buyers Guide is subject to change without notification, every effort is made to keep these details up to date.

Serge Cowan

Serge Cowan

Managing Director and Founder

Serge has an extensive marketing background, after a broadcasting career, Serge moved into marketing where he worked for BSkyB & a number of leading Public Relations agencies.
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