How to Buy a Property In Italy
The process to buy a property isn’t standard, it changes country by country. It is important to understand that the system, the process, and the involved parties can be much different. Ex. For a buyer from the USA. For the closing in Italy, we don’t have a title company, but there is the public notary, that is the one that officially put the seal on the transaction, making the buyer the new owner of the property.
Regarding the process, the objective is the same and the steps may be similar, such as researching, contracting, obtaining the title, registration of the ownership, etc. But local customs may be quite different, the same challenges can come from the language barriers. Furthermore, technical and legal jargon which may appear similar in English can have very different meanings in Italian. We have one of the most complex law systems in the world for some reason…
The correct legal procedure to buy your house smoothly, without errors, in complete peace of mind, needs proper legal consulting, in the jungle of Italian bureaucracy and formalities.
We are buyer’s attorneys for real estate interests. Our legal advice focuses on individuals who want to buy a property in Sardinia, Italy.
Our assistance starts with legal due diligence, drafting, and negotiation of transactional contracts and agreements, with the necessary research and analysis of legal documentation in the Public Real Estate Registries. To give an idea of the steps, of course not exhaustively, we offer a classic example of a foreigner buying a property in Italy.
1) The Italian Tax Code “Codice Fiscale“
The Tax Code (in Italian, Codice Fiscale) is necessary for being able to purchase a property in Italy. This has to be requested from the Revenue Agency (in Italian, Agenzia delle Entrate).
2) Opening of a Bank Account In Italy “Conto Bancario“
When you want to buy a property it is useful to open a bank account in Italy both because it will make the payment procedures more streamlined, and because it will be necessary to have the bank domiciliation for the automatic payment of the utilities (very appreciated by the foreigners or Italians who live abroad).
A Legal check is always a good idea, for example, to see if the property is properly registered, if it really belongs to the seller, if it is or not subject to mortgages or hidden issues, fees, or condominium insolvency. Avoid future headaches and expensive mistakes!
4) Mortgage (Eventual step)
Govonilaw assists foreigners to buy a property with a mortgage, following the communications with the bank, and the legal steps of the procedure in Italy.
5) Proposal Offer “Proposta d’Acquisto“
When a potential buyer, after having visited several properties, decides to proceed with the purchase of one of them, consider the best price and send it to the seller a PROPOSAL OFFER (in Italian, Proposta d’acquisto).
This Offer will have a Fiduciary Deposit to guarantee the proposal and will be held by the Law Firm, this sum should be around 5.000 €.
The proposal offer must be made in writing (usually it is valid for 7-15 days), while the communication of acceptance can be given verbally.
Once the seller signs the proposal, accepting the price offered, he agrees not to sell the property to any other buyer until a certain date. This is done to protect the buyer from the possibility of losing the purchase of the property.
6) The Preliminary Contract “Contratto Preliminare“
Once the proposal is officially accepted, the economic terms and the legal clauses are part of the preliminary contract (contratto preliminare) that is necessarily drafted by a lawyer.
The preliminary contract is the agreement with which the parties mutually undertake the stipulation of a subsequent final contract (deed). However, it must be clear that the proposed offer, if stipulated and accepted, already creates a legally binding relationship between the parties.
The Preliminary Contract will need a payment that will be added to the previous sum, to reach 10% for the Caparra (if this is the agreed percentage);
Once the preliminary contract has been signed by both parties and the deposit has been paid, the seller can decide to withdraw only by returning to the buyer twice the deposit paid.
7) The Notary Deed “Rogito Notarile“
The notarial deed represents the final act of the real estate sale negotiation. The Notary is chosen by the buyer, we usually suggest our Partner Notary for a smoother procedure.
The final checks on the existence of mortgages, practices of building amnesty and town-planning problems, can be expressly entrusted to the Notary, which is a third and impartial professional; anyway, he assumes the responsibility of recording the seller’s statements, not their veracity. This is one of the good reasons to hire an expert Lawyer.