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Information On Purchasing A House In Italy

There are no restrictions placed upon a non-resident wishing to purchase a house in Italy, either from Europe or elsewhere.

When searching for a house in Italy it is strongly recommended that you use an estate agent fully licensed by the Chamber of Commerce. Homes in Italy works with accredited and licenced estate agents.

Step 1 – The offer

We can initiate the buying process by making the initial offer on your behalf. If you see a property you love and don't want to risk it, perhaps because you need time to organise 1/3 of the total price payable at Compromesso (see below) you can immediately sign 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 agency, and returned to you when you sign the compromesso or cashed by the vendor and used as part of payment on the property.

If you change your mind you will fortfeit 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.

Step 2 – Compromesso

The 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.

Step 3 – Rogito

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 we may be able to appoint a Power of Attorney in your absence. You will be expected to transfer funds to the vendor and the Notary at this stage - we advise the best way of transferring funds to your Italian account in time for the Rogito is either via Swift from your own bank in the UK 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 - Special Power of Attorney

We 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 send back to Italy. We can then sign the rogito on your behalf withouth the need for you to come to Italy.

As well as paying the balance for the property, the buyer must also pay:

  • 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 ie. 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 fee – the geometra will check all the documents for the house are up-to-date and legal, that buildings have 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 Geomettra directly and you will only pay one fee directly to the Notary.

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 even if it is possible to pay it once in December for non residents;
  • Rubbish tax – it is payable in four instalments or all at once if you prefer;
  • Utilities – 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 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.

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