Buying a property in Italy
Although it may look complicated, it is usually very straightforward.
Once you see the property that you want you will make your offer, through us, to the vendor. When an agreement between you and the vendor has been reached, a formal document (the Compromesso) will be drawn up by us (as we are acting for you). This ‘preliminary contract’ outlines in precise and exact detail the full property transaction (the property, amount of land, location numbers on the land registry maps, the price agreed for the sale, amount of deposit required/paid, any conditions applicable etc. etc.) and is a legally recognised document and contract stating
that both yourselves and the vendor are in agreement for the sale to continue as outlined in the terms and conditions stated in the Compromesso.
At the same time as the Compromesso is signed, you have to put down a deposit (the Caparra). The deposit amount is 10% – 20% of the purchase
price, though more or less may be negotiated between yourself and the vendor, and is a sign of good faith for both parties that the transaction will go ahead.
Please note: Once the deposit has been made, should you cancel the transaction without just cause (i.e. you have changed your mind and now no longer want the property), the vendor is legally entitled to keep the Caparra (deposit). However, equally, should the vendor cancel the transaction, after accepting your deposit, without just cause (i.e. they decide not to sell to you because they have received a better offer) then they
are required by law (which is rigorously enforced) to refund TWICE the deposit amount to you.
You then are not required to do anything more for the moment as, once the Compromesso has been formalised and the vendor has received the deposit, all necessary documents are placed in the hands of a Notaio (a combination of solicitor, advocate, lawyer and magistrate).
The Notaio acts impartially for both parties and will ensure that all legalities are adhered to. He will scrutinise all the documentation and will make sure that what you buy is in accordance with what is being offered. In effect, the Notiao will guarantee that when you sign the deeds, you will have
clear, irrevocable and complete title to the property.
When the Notaio is satisfied that the transaction is legal and that all of the paperwork is in place and correct (generally this will take between 1 to
2 months), though it can be longer if there are any issues, he will let us know that he is ready. In full agreement with you, the vendors and the Notiao, we will make an appointment with the Notaio, at a date suitable for all interested parties, for all to meet at the Notaio’s office (generally this will be in Reggio ne’ Emilia) where the formal signing and handover of the property will take place (the Rogito). At that point the remainder of the purchase monies (plus the monies below) are required to be handed over.
It is important to note that, extra to the balance of the purchase price, and to be paid at the Rogito will be the following:
The Notaio fees. This is a combination of the fee paid to the Notaio for his services (which is calculated on a sliding scale and is laid down by government law) plus the required property tax levy including the Stamp Duty (Bolli) which is levied at 1%. Under Italian Law a property has a legal or a declared (commercial) value. The legal value is a statutory value placed on the property by the Government. This value is generally considerably less than the actual purchase price (usually it is roughly 50% of the asking price) and it is this figure which appears on the
documents. The amount of tax payable is, therefore, a lot less than it appears at first sight. Tax is calculated at 3% of the Land Registry valuation price if the property is going to be your main home, or at 12% of the Land Registry valuation price if you are intending the property to be only a
holiday or secondary home (these percentages are current, however, they are subject to change depending on government financial legislation). There is also a difference in the Land Registry valuation (and in the tax calculation naturally) depending on the status or designation of the property or part of e.g. agricultural, urban, civil, rural etc.
These taxes and fees are one off and have to be paid at the Rogito.
These costs are fixed by Italian law and will be levied and paid to the Notaio (whose responsibility it is to collect the tax for the government) as per legal requirements. However, in most cases, we will be able to provide you with the exact figures well before the Rogito date.
Translator Fees. If Italian is not your native language, you are required, by law, to have an official translator present at the Rogito, both for the formal translation of all documents and also to formally translate what the Notiao says. This expense, which is born by the buyer, is typically between 500 – 600 euros depending on the amount of work the translators have to do.
During all this, I and the Association will be on hand. We will ensure that you are kept fully aware of all that is happening and we will provide you with all of the relevant documents – well in hand (so that you can read and understand well before you sign).
As you will require a current bank account with an Italian bank, for the purpose of the transaction, we can arrange this, with you, with one of the
local banks. To open an Italian bank account you require proof of who you are and a valid passport is sufficient. The bank will make all necessary checks and will open a current account for you. We will also arrange for you to receive a Codice Fiscale (financial code number) a requirement under Italian law whenever anyone enters into a high value transaction . A Codice Fiscale works a bit like a Social Security number. It is a combination of numbers and letters and is formed by combining your name, gender, birth date and place of birth and is mandatory when entering into the majority of transactions in Italy such as opening bank accounts, buying a house or vehicle, getting a telephone line etc.