Buying a Property in Italy? These are the steps you must take

The announcement today by the European Parliament that British citizens will be permitted to travel without the requirement of a visa after Brexit opens the door for Britons to buy property in Italy.  The opportunity could not be better to buy a property in Italy as the depressed real estate market in Italy provides a wealth of choice to the purchaser.  This situation may not last forever and the astute investor would be wise to move speedily.

If this is your first purchase in Italy the conveyancing process is different from that in the UK.  There are significant differences and the real estate lawyers in Giambrone can provide you with more than one advantage; with offices in the UK and Italy you can orchestrate your purchase from the UK and our multi-lingual lawyers can explain everything in your own language.  Here is an outline of the process and some of the things to look out for:

  • The first thing you should be aware of is that you will need to obtain an identification code – Codice Fiscale (the Fiscal Code)  this is based on your name, place of birth and date of birth together with and control and municipal code from the Italian authorities and forms the unique identifying piece of information you will require for any dealings with the Italian authorities. 
  • You will need to open an Italian bank account, as the payment for your new property will have to pass through an Italian bank account as a banker’s draft as well as the utility and any tax payments that are due, this is something Giambrone can do for you.  
  • There is a raft of documentation that vendors have to provide to  prospective purchasers to establish that the property offered for sale is compliant with all regulatory demands as well as being free from hidden defects. 
  • Once you have selected the property you wish to buy a written offer of purchase (proposta di acquisto) must be made.  Once the vendor signs and accepts the offer, he has undertaken not to sell the property to anyone else up to a designated date.  The removes the possibility of gazumping.
  • The next step is equivalent to land registry checks (Conservatoria e Catasto) as in the UK the property is investigated to ensure that the vendor actually owns the property and that there are no loans against the title of the property.
  • A preliminary agreement of sale (Compromesso) is drawn-up and this legally binding document will state the agreed price of the property, the completion date and also outlines any rights the property may have.  This document is legally binding on both parties.
  • A deposit is required once the preliminary contract is signed which is usually 10 per cent of the purchase price.  At this point, if the vendor wishes to withdraw he will have to repay the deposit plus an amount equal to the deposit.  Should the purchaser wish to withdraw the deposit is lost.  Furthermore, whoever breaches the agreement may be sued by the other party and damages may be sought.
  • The deed of sale (Atto di Vendita also called Rogito) that must be fully compliant with all the details and essential terms contained in the preliminary agreement, is executed when all the documentation is confirmed as accurate and all monies have been paid.
  • A Public Notary will be required to certify a copy of the deed and register the certified copy with the name of the new owners at the relevant Land Registry Office  (Catasto)

When the sale is finalised there will be other fees to pay such as the estate agent’s fee, Stamp duty (Imposta di Registro) which is calculated on a percentage basis  – Land registry tax (Imposta Ipotecaria) which is a fixed fee  – Cadastral Tax (Imposta catastale) which is also a fixed fee.  There are also taxes linked to the municipal running costs such as refuse collection and road maintenance and any professional fees that may have been incurred, such as the notary’s and lawyers’ fees.

For further information regarding property purchase in Italy please click here