Three easy steps to begin your adventure
There are three main steps to buying a property in Italy: finding the right property at the right price, agreeing to buy the property and signing the initial agreement or Compromesso, and completing on your Tuscan property with the Rogito Notarile.
Of course, there are many mini steps in between, but we aim to make the process as seamless and efficient as possible.
Buying a property is different from country to country. We hope this short explanation will help you to understand things better about buying a property in Italy and the process involved.
Find the right house in the right place.
If you have the possibility you can complete an offer, proposta d’acquisto, from where you’ll describe the amount of the offer, the conditions, when and what amount you’ll pay as a small deposit and the date of the final contract. If the offer is not accepted, you’ll get your deposit back.
Written in both Italian and English, it is an agreement between the purchaser and seller. This document should be prepared by a professional (geometra or technico abilitato) and it will define the selling conditions such as all the exact details of the property, rights of way, payments, time of possession, guarantee by the seller as to the lack of mortgages on the property, and also the buyer’s requirements – such as obtaining a mortgage or power of attorney.
Usually, when signing the preliminary contract, the purchaser will pay a deposit, caparra con firmatorio, of about 20% to 30% of the established amount, but this can be discussed according to your needs. If the sellers pull out after the preliminary agreement is signed they have to pay you back your deposit plus damages, which normally equates to the deposit amount again. If, as a buyer, you pull out at this point, you’ll lose your money. This protects the purchaser from the seller selling to another bidder (or gazumping).
Between the preliminary agreement and final contract in front the notary, there is usually a wait of one to three months (depending on the complexity). This time will be used to prepare all the documents. Note that sometimes it is possible to skip the preliminary and move straight to final contract.
This is your Italian tax code available from the tax office. You need one to buy a property in Italy and to open a bank account, and it’s completely free. It’s very important and essential to have a codice fiscale and an Italian bank account to do the final contract. We can help organise this for you.
Open a bank account
You may need to open one because it will be necessary to transfer funds to your Italian bank account before signing the final contract, assuming you are buying a property from a seller based in Italy.
Please let your bank know that all expenses have to be paid by the sender (you) and make sure the correct and full amount will arrive into the account of who should receive the money. Then the bank will prepare the final contract cheques (assegni circolari) you need to pay over to the seller. We can advise you if you definitely have to open an account or if all payments can be made from your existing bank.
To be signed in front of a notary, the professional authority who will execute the legal sale. The notary has to verify and guarantee the property has clear title (no mortgages) and take care of any other problems before you proceed. The notary will only perform a 20-year property search for squatters’ rights etc. It is thegeometra who verifies the planning permissions, floor plans and any rights of way across the property.
The sale taxes are paid by the buyer, and the amount will depend on the assessed or tax value declared in the land registry – this is lower than the sale price. The buyer needs to be present, or appoint a power of attorney, to sign the documents in front of the notary, and if the buyer doesn’t speak fluent Italian a qualified translator will have to be engaged and paid for.
At the closing you’ll have to pay the balance of the transaction, the notary, the taxes, the agent (if the agent hasn’t already been paid at the compromesso stage) and whatever expense is required to complete the contract, translation of documents etc. All taxes are calculated on the assessed or tax value of the property.
We offer all international clients a full, English-speaking advisory service. We endeavour to assist and advise you every step of the way with the purchase of your Italian property. All the services listed below are included within the 3% agency commission charged to all clients. Please note, contrary to estate agency procedure in the UK or USA, Italian estate agencies charge commission to both the vendor and the purchaser.
When purchasing a property in Italy you will be required to pay fees to the notary, estate agency and translators (when required) and tax on the sale price of the property. These fees are listed and explained below.
In Italy each property has a sale price (that which is paid to the vendor) and a declared (assessed or tax) value. The declared value is registered at the catasto (land registry certificate), and this registration process is called the visura catastale. Please note that the declared value tends to be lower than that paid to the vendor. Taxes are however only paid on the declared value of the property.
Taxes will vary depending if you are planning to become resident in Italy, if the property is to be your main home or a holiday home, and whether you are purchasing the property from a private individual or a company.
The taxes range from 3% to 10% but we can of course give you a much more accurate figure once we have a complete picture of your situation and future plans and the property you are looking at. We are happy to discuss and advise the best approach on a case-by-case basis for residency and tax questions.
Notary fees vary according to the declared price of the property and the chosen notary. If you are not a fluent Italian speaker you will be required to pay for a power of attorney and a translator to prepare the deeds in two languages for the signing of the final contract.
If you are taking out an Italian loan or mortgage to purchase a property in Italy you will have to pay for theatto di mutuo, this is the contract between you and the bank, which has to be registered by a notary.
In Italy both the vendor and the purchaser pay commission to the agency. We charge 3% commission to clients, with a minimum fee of 1,500 Euros. 22% 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.
The following utility bills will need to be paid, prices are calculated according to consumption. Electricity (every two months), gas (every two months), telephone (every two months), water (approx three times per year), rubbish tax (annually). IMU is the council tax that will need to be paid on the property twice a year, in June and December.