Guide: how to Purchase a Property in Sardinia from abroad


When considering buying a house in Sardinia, Italy as a foreigner, understanding the legal requirements is crucial. Italy has specific regulations in place, and foreign buyers need to be well-informed about the legal framework governing property transactions. Working with a knowledgeable local real estate agent or legal advisor is a prudent step to ensure compliance with Italian property laws.

Understanding Legal Requirements

Residency and Visa Considerations

Residency and visa requirements play a significant role in the process of purchasing a property. While EU citizens enjoy more straightforward procedures, non-EU citizens need to adhere to specific guidelines.

Non-EU citizens who want to buy property in our country must follow specific rules. They need an international treaty (a formal agreement between countries) that allows them to do so. This treaty is important because it ensures fairness. It means that people from countries outside the EU can buy property in Italy only if their home country lets Italians buy property there too. This requirement aims to keep property ownership fair between countries. It sets out the rules for foreign buyers, making sure they have the same rights as Italian citizens when it comes to owning property. Italy follows this principle to maintain good relationships with other countries while also protecting its interests in property deals.

Different visas allow foreign individuals to stay longer after they purchase their property in Sardinia. Let’s explore the key points.

Visa Options and Residency Implications for Buying Property
Visa Requirements: Simply owning property in Italy doesn’t grant a visa.
Non-EU nationals typically need a tourist visa for short stays or a visa with a temporary residency permit for longer stays.
Residency Permit: Permanent residency or citizenship can be pursued after residing in Italy for five years. Various visas and residency permits allow non-European citizens to stay in the country for extended periods.
Tax Benefits: Residents can benefit from tax incentives like reduced registration fees through programs like “Prima Casa.” It’s possible to move the residence even after the closing day, but it’s mandatory to do that within 18 months from the date of closing.
Residence Permit via Real Estate Purchase: Foreigners can obtain a residence permit by buying real estate in our country, following specific requirements.
The Elective Residence Visa, suitable for those with financial resources, can be obtained by owning or renting property.
Property Incentives: While Italy doesn’t offer direct monetary incentives for property purchases, it provides initiatives to attract foreign investors.
Regional incentives such as tax breaks and simplified procedures aim to make property acquisition more appealing.
The purchase process involves steps like signing a binding proposal and engaging a notary for legal due diligence, but we dig further into the purchase process details in this other post.

Additional costs in the purchase and Currency Exchange rates

Foreign buyers must factor in additional costs, such as notary fees, taxes, and registration fees (for property purchase costs and fees, read here). Additionally, is important to consider the implications of currency exchange rates, as fluctuations can impact the overall cost of the property. Consulting with a financial advisor to navigate these aspects is a wise move.

Selecting the Right Location

Sardinia offers diverse landscapes and lifestyles, from bigger cities to tranquil countryside retreats and small charming places by the sea or in the rural inner side of the island.

As a rule of thumb, when the property is closer to the sea, it is more expensive but also more valuable and easier to sell.

Choosing the right location aligns with personal preferences, lifestyle, and potential investment returns. Researching different regions and visiting prospective areas is essential to making an informed decision and finding the perfect property match.

Local Real Estate Market Trends

Staying updated on local real estate market trends is key to making a smart investment. The Italian property market can vary significantly from region to region. Analyzing market trends, property values, and potential growth areas provides valuable insights for foreign buyers seeking long-term value in their real estate investments.

Engaging a Reliable Real Estate Agent

Navigating the Italian real estate market is more manageable with the assistance of a reliable local real estate agent. An experienced agent can provide insights into market conditions, legalities, and potential challenges. Choosing an agent with a solid reputation and a track record of assisting foreign buyers ensures a smoother buying process. Take a look at how our real estate agents assist you in the purchase process.

Legal Assistance and Due Diligence

Engaging legal assistance is a critical step in the process of buying a house in Italy. Conducting thorough due diligence, including property inspections, and title searches, and understanding any existing liens or encumbrances, mitigates potential risks. Legal professionals specializing in real estate transactions offer invaluable guidance throughout the purchasing journey. Take a look at how our lawyers assist you in the purchase process.

Roadmap to buy a property in Sardinia as a foreigner

Legal Requirements for Foreign Buyers: Foreigners looking to buy property in Sardinia must adhere to specific legal requirements:

  • Residency Permit: A valid residency permit is essential for those residing in Sardinia, along with their family members.
  • Non-Resident Foreigners: Non-resident buyers need their home country to have a reciprocal agreement, allowing property acquisition. Verification of such agreements can be done on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
  • EU Citizens or Residents of SEE Countries: EU citizens and residents of SEE countries face no restrictions on property acquisition.
  • Tax Code (Codice Fiscale): All foreign buyers, whether residing or not, must obtain an Italian tax code for the property purchase process.
  • Passport: A passport is necessary for property visits, even though remote purchasing is technically possible with virtual tours.
  • Bank Account: A local bank account is required for transferring funds for the property purchase, including the agreed-upon sum, transaction-related expenses, and taxes.

Procedures for Buying Property: Foreign buyers, like Italian residents, must follow the three phases of property acquisition:

  • Purchase Proposal: An irrevocable offer outlining transaction terms, including party details, property specifics, and the agreed-upon sum.
  • Preliminary Sales Contract: A written agreement, drafted after accepting the proposal, involving the payment of a confirmatory deposit and other conditions for purchase.
  • Notarial Deed Registration: The notarial deed, registering the property’s transfer, is transcribed in notarial records.

Challenges for Foreign Buyers: Foreigners may encounter challenges when purchasing property in Sardinia:

  • Language Barrier: Buyers unfamiliar with Italian may require an interpreter during legal procedures, and official documents may need a translation.
  • Absence during Purchase: If the buyer is not physically present, the transaction can proceed through a power of attorney, delegating legal actions to a third party.

Taxation and Incentives for Foreigners: Despite being subject to taxes, foreigners buying property can access incentives if they meet specific criteria. These include:

  • First Home Purchase: Reduced registration tax of 2% on the property’s cadastral value and fixed-rate mortgage and cadastral taxes of €50 each for purchases from private individuals or non-builder companies, four years after construction completion.
  • Purchase from a Builder (within four years): 4% VAT, fixed registration, mortgage, and cadastral taxes of €200 each.
  • Luxury Properties: Higher taxes apply for luxury properties not qualifying as the buyer’s primary residence.

Buying a house in Sardinia as a foreigner can be complex, but with the right assistance, it can go smoothly and safely. Feel free to contact us today.