Unique Living
April 14th, 2014 | by Serge Cowan

Unique Livings’ Ultimate Buyers Guide to Italy

Purchasing a property in Italy is generally a relatively easy process and the following steps give a basic outline of how it is done.

Step 1:
Once a price for a property is agreed upon, both the vendor and the purchaser sign an initial deposit contract proposta d’acquisto. The purchaser will put down a small deposit (up to 5 per cent) and the vendor will take the property off the market while basic checks are made. The deposit is usually repaid if the purchase fails due to legal problems.

Step 2:
Next is the legally binding preliminary contract, contratto preliminare di vendita, which defines all selling conditions such as a description of the property, rights of way, payments and timing, ownership rights etc. On signing this contract, the purchaser pays a deposit of approximately 20 per cent of the property price.

Once the preliminary contract is signed it is highly unlikely that the purchase  will not go through. If the vendor were to pull out after the signing of the  preliminary contract they would be obliged to pay the purchaser double of the price of the deposit. If the purchaser were to pull out after signing the preliminary contract, they would lose the deposit. This agreement therefore protects the purchaser from the vendor selling to someone else.

At this point, a notary (notaio) is appointed, the independent legal body that prepares and coordinates the searches and deeds, acting on behalf of the vendor and purchaser.

Between the preliminary agreement and the Final Contract there is normally a period of between one and three months when all searches are carried out and the deed prepared.

Step 3:
The final contract (atto or rogito) is signed at the notary’s office. Purchase taxes and notary fees are 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, the purchaser will be handed the keys to their Italian property. The purchase deed is then sent to the land registry and returned to the purchaser after approximately two months.

Purchases Expenses and Taxes:

There are only 3 Additional costs which include:

  • Notary fees: Aprox 1-1.5 per cent of the value of the property, plus the price of a translator if you’re not fluent in Italian.
  • Purchase Tax: This is levied on the cadastral value at 10% for non-residents, 3% (plus a small fee) for residents. For non-residents the tax is composed of Registration tax (7%), imposta ipotecaria (2%), imposta catastale (1%).
  • Agency fees: Approx 3 per cent of the purchase price.

It is obligatory to have an Italian tax code in order to buy a property in Italy. The Italian tax code can be obtained from the local tax office or from the Italian Consulate in London.

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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