is the fourth most visited country in the world, which means there's a
good chance that someday you'll get to see all the sights and sounds of
the country in your lifetime. More than 40 million foreigners touch down
to visit some of the most amazing places in the world during just one
year. Pasta, one of the world's most consumed foods, was invented in
Italy. It's also their national dish! Each Italian consumes more than 25
kilograms of pasta in just one year. Needless to say, there are not many
leftovers in an Italian family's refrigerator.
Italy and the EU including links to Italian government sites and
There are no
restrictions placed upon a non-resident wishing to purchase a house in
Italy, either from Europe or elsewhere.
The first thing to remember is
to forget all you know about buying a home in the UK, the US or anywhere
else. Buying property in Italy is completely different. Terms you may
your own countries property buying process may have completely different
meanings here and it is safer to start from scratch. As always we
recommend that you
engage your Italian lawyer at the earliest stage for
your own protection. In fact we recommend that you engage a lawyer or
solicitor from your home country in addition to the
Italian lawyer who
handles the deal.
If you are after
Italy property for sale, then
get used to a whole new language. You will know what a villa is, and you
can work out appartamento, but what about the bilocale, casetta or
The Offer: You can initiate the buying process by making the initial
offer, if you see a property that you like. Perhaps because you need
organise 1/3 of
the total price which is payable at Compromesso (see below). Your
Italian Lawyer can immediately draw up a Proposta irrevocabile
d'acquisto (an irrrevocable purchase agreement) which is signed by the
buyer and seller when you have agreed the price, and which identifies
both parties, the property in question, and gives an expiry
date for signing the Compromesso. When you sign, you pay
a deposit for the equivalent of 10% (this can vary) of the agreed price,
this can be either held by the Lawyer, and returned to you when you sign
the compromesso or cashed by the vendor and used as part of payment on
If you change
your mind you will forfeit the deposit, as the owner will have
effectively taken the property off the market for a certain period of
time. If the sale does not go ahead in the specified date through no
fault of your own, then your deposit will be returned to you. We can
arrange for a surveyor (Geometra) to
organise a survey on the property and
carry out the searches, if required at this stage.
This preliminary contract (Compromesso)
commits both parties to the sale. This contract establishes the terms
and conditions of the final contract (Rogito) and details price, date
for completion, the nature of the property and guarantees from the
seller. It may also include any other relevant legal details.
You will be
expected to pay a deposit at this stage (Caparra) which is usually 1/3
of the purchase price. It is important to note that if you withdraw from
the sale after signing the Compromesso, you lose your deposit. However,
if the seller withdraws, he must pay you double your deposit.
This is the final stage of the process and transfers
ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer (usually 1-3
months after the Compromesso). The document is drawn up by the Notary (Notaio),
who represents both parties. The buyer, seller and estate agent are all
required to be present for the signing of the contract at the Notary's
office. You can sign the Rogito in person or you may be able to appoint
a Power of Attorney in your absence. You will be expected to transfer
the funds to the vendor and the Notary at this stage. We recommend that
the best way of transferring funds to your Italian bank account in time
for the Rogito is either via Swift from your own bank in your own
country or by using a specialist currency dealer, which may be able to
offer you better rate of exchange.
If you can't be
present at the Rogito, your lawyer can draw up the power of attorney
agreement which is emailed/faxed/sent to you and you need to print it
off and sign it in the presence of a solicitor. You then need to send or
take it to the Foreign Office in your country to have it
ratified with an "Apostille" and sent back to
Italy. The rogito can then
be signed on your behalf by your authorized representative without the
need for you to come to Italy.
Fees and Charges: As
well as paying the balance for the property, you the buyer must also
Purchase tax – which is either 3% (replaced by 4% VAT if buying from
a building company) if the buyer purchases the property as his first
residential home in Italy and applies for residency in the local
area, or 10% if the foreign buyer already owns property in Italy or
does not wish to apply for residency. Please note that the tax is
calculated on the declared value of the property and not the
purchase price. It is paid on the value stated in the building
registry. The declared value of land is extremely low, unless it is
valuable land such as olive groves or building land.
Notary fee – payable when you sign the final contract;
Surveyor (geometra) The geometra will check that all the documents
for the house are up to date and legal. That buildings have a fully
registered title and that the house complies with planning
regulations. This fee is also payable at the signing of the final
contract. Some Notaries liaise with a Geometra directly and you will
only pay one fee directly to the Notary.
The Running costs of your property will include:
Annual Tax– The Imposta Comunale sugli Immobili is an annual council
tax calculated on the value of the property. It is payable twice a
year in June and December and it is possible to pay it once in
December for non residents.
Rubbish tax, which is payable in four quarterly
instalments or all at once if you prefer.
Utilities, such as electricity, water, gas, telephone (if required).
Condominium expenses. If you buy a property which is part of a group
of properties which share some communal areas, gardens, driveway,
swimming pool, tennis court etc. then you will be required to pay
your share of condominium expenses.
The easiest way
to pay most of these is by direct debit, although some you will need to
pay at the post office.
Vendors, a Quick sale of your property