Process of buying an Italian property which
is for sale
In Italy the purchase of an Italian property is a regulated process.
To ensure that the Portuguese property you wish to buy is free of debts
and restrictive clauses, it is essential to employ an English-speaking
lawyer or solicitor to protect your own interests.
You will need a fiscal code, in order to buy property, open bank accounts
and pay bills. This can be obtained by contacting the local tax office.
Legal process for buying an Italian property
The legal side for buying an Italian property falls into two parts, the
preliminary contract (compromesso) and the completion (il
Stage 1: Preliminary Contract (Compromesso di vendita)
A purchase through an agency may involve an official 'offer to purchase'
by which the prospective purchaser is bound to the offered amount for
the duration of the validity of the offer, usually 14 or 30 days. Once
a price has been agreed with the vendor both parties will sign a preliminary
contract, most usually a Compromesso di vendita and make a deposit
of 10%-30% of the purchase price (except in the case of new constructions
where this deposit is considerably less). The deposit is forfeited if
the purchaser does not proceed, and if the vendor withdraws double the
deposit is paid to the buyer by the vendor.
The purchase process differs in many ways from the current situation
in other countries and is generally less complicated and quicker, but
this is mostly because Italians do fewer checks and searches on property
they are buying. To ensure that the property you wish to buy is free of
debts and restrictive clauses it is recommended to employ an English-speaking
lawyer to protect your own interests.
Stage 2: Completion (il rogito notarile)
The vendor and purchaser must use the same notaio (a notary public who
represents the Italian government) to execute the deed. At this point
the buyer must pay a property registration fee and a land registry tax
plus the remaining balance of the agreed purchase price. Then both vendor
and purchaser sign the il rogito notarile, the definitive contract
equivalent to the Deeds of the property.
All registered property transactions in Italy must take place in front
of a notaio. The notaio’s job is to check that the sale documents
are correct, to verify the identities of the parties involved, to collect
the tax on the sale due to the Italian government and to ensure that the
entries in the land registry are updated to show the new owner.
Costs related to buying an Italian property
Agent negotiation fee
A fee (usually between 2.5% and 3% of the purchase price) is agreed at
the outset between the Italian estate agency and purchaser, and is paid
on the successful completion of purchase of an Italian property. If you
are dealing direct with the vendor of the Italian property, then this
fee is obviously not payable.
Property purchase tax
On new Italian properties Value Added Tax (VAT) is payable at 9% for
non-luxury property and 19% for luxury property. If the property is not
new, then a property purchase tax is paid instead. Purchase tax is levied
at 10% for non-residents and at 3% for residents, and gets paid to the
Stamp duti (bolli)
Stamp duty (bolli) is levied at 1% for both non-residents and residents,
and gets paid to the Italian Government.
The notaio's fees usually amount to approximately 2.5% of the Declared
Land Value of the Italian property.
Italian survey fees
The Geometra's fees vary depending on what work is involved in the conveyance
and is usually of the order of €250.
Example breakdown of costs related to buying an Italian property
An Italian property with a purchase price of €200,000 may have a
Declared Land Registry value of €120,000. The purchase tax (or VAT
in the case of new properties), notaio's fee and stamp duty (Bolli) are
all be calculated on the Declared Land Registry value and not the purchase
price. The following table shows a typical total cost breakdown of purchasing
an Italian property for €200,000 with a Declared Land Registry of
|Estate agency fee
|Stamp duty (Bolli)
Differences between buying new and old Italian properties
Due to the high demand for new Italian property, most purchasers buy
properties "from spec" from Italian property developers. This
means that the purchaser will buy new Italian properties from the plans,
and select which property they want within a particular development. Typically,
purchasers who buy a new property have to make regular installments during
key stages of the property development (opposed to paying for the property
when it is complete), and an initial deposit of 5% to 10%. The initial
deposit and regular installments vary from one Italian property developer
to the other.
Note: If you have to make regular stage payments to
the Italian property developer you should ensure that you receive bank
guaranties for each payment. These bank guaranties protect you in the
unlikely event that the Italian property developer has financial difficulties
before the property is transferred to your name.