ITALY REAL ESTATE - Buying a Property in Italy
Once you have chosen a property in Italy, the actual purchase usually takes the following pattern:

1) The purchase price is established between the Buyer and the Seller. Those negotiations can be verbal, but often are written. Then the "compromesso" or preliminary contract is drawn up. The compromesso is a legally binding, preliminary contract between the signatories that details such things as:
o The sale price
o The amount to be paid as the deposit, or "caparra"
o The completion date of the sale
o Land boundaries and details of the property
o Any other clauses that might be relevant such as: water rights. rights of passage, etc.

2) Once the agreed deposit has been paid (the deposit amount can vary between 10% and 50% of the sale price depending on the property and the Seller's wishes) and the compromesso has been signed, both parties are bound to complete the transaction. Should the Buyer back out of the contract, he or she will lose his or her deposit. If the Seller fails to fulfill his or her obligations as specified in the compromesso, he or she must repay DOUBLE the deposit amount to the Buyer.

3) If the Buyer does not have one, he or she must obtain an Italian tax code (codice fiscale).

4) Once the compromesso has been signed, if necessary, a geometra should be instructed to undertake the conveyancing, known as "la practica". The Comune. or local government, registry offices and the regional land registry office, known as "catasto", should be visited to obtain the necessary documents required prior to the sale. When you are satisfied that all the documents are in order, they will be presented them to the Public Notary, or "Notaio".

5) Unless the Buyer speaks sufficient Italian to satisfy the Notary that he or she understands the contents of the transfer document, known as the "rogito" or "atto notarile", it is necessary to have an officially accredited translator present. Alternatively, some Buyers give a special power of attorney, known as "procura speciale all'acquisto" to a third party. This document can either be prepared and signed before the Notary while the Buyer is still in Italy, or alternatively, at the Italian Consulate in the Buyer's country of residence.

6) All the required documents are presented to the Notary who carefully checks the details. Only when the Notary is satisfied that they are all in order will he prepare the final paperwork, or "rogito".

7) It is necessary for the Seller and the Buyer (or their nominated representatives) to be present at the signing of the "rogito" or "atto notarile". The Notary is bound by law to read the contract aloud to the interested parties. Prior to the actual signing, the balance of the purchase price is handed over to the Seller. The "rogito" or "atto notarile" is signed by the Seller and by the Buyer and is then countersigned by the Notary. At this stage certain fees and taxes are to be paid.

8) The Buyer is liable to pay:
i) Registration Tax. This is levied at 10% of the declared value (see para.9) for "urban" property, and 17% of the declared value for "rural" property. (Most houses, even if they are in the middle of nowhere have been "urbanized", and the "rural" property mainly refers to land only, or land with an agricultural building on it.) In some cases, the property being sold is owned by a Company, in which case I.V.A. (VAT) at a rate of up to 20% is payable on the declared value instead of the Registration tax.

ii) The Notary's fee. This amounts to approximately 2.5% of the total declared value of the property, with a minimum charge of approximately €1,300.00. (The charges may vary between notaries.)

iii) The Geometra's fee, if necessary, for the conveyancing. These can vary between €500.00 and €2,000.00 depending upon what work is involved in the conveyance.

iv) In most cases you will pay a fee to the sellers estate agent or person representing the seller.

9) TAXABLE VALUE (VALORE CATASTALE) . Is based on the official ratable value of the property, which depends on the local Comune and/or Provincia, the category and location of house and the size. This is generally considerably less than the actual purchase price. Taking this fact into account, all the charges as outlined in Paragraph 8 will normally add up to between 8% and 15% of the actual purchase price.

10) BANK ACCOUNT. While in Italy, it is wise for the Buyer to open an external Euro bank account.

11) Once the property has been purchased, the utilities (gas, water, electric, garbage) should be changed to the name of the new owner. It is also possible for the utilities to be paid by "direct debit" from the bank.

L'Avventura - September 2008

TABLE OF CONTENTS                               CONTACT US.