Italy Real Estate Buying Process

The Key Stages in the Process

Italy real estate buying process can be broken out into several stages. And even though a trusted estate agent can guide you effortlessly through the process, it is still worthwhile becoming familiar with the stages involved. 

Purchase of an Italian property is normally a four-stage process and it can take anything from a month or so to three months to complete.



Italy Real Estate Buying Process : Phase One


Either directly or with the assistance of an estate agent, the first stage of the buying process begins with selecting a property, gathering some basic information and making your first offer. Strictly speaking this is not part of the formal process, but it is still an important stage.

Whatever the demand you believe there is for a property – or an estate agent
tells you there is – don’t be tempted to offer the asking price – always make
an offer. 

You will need to rely on a combination of faith in your estate agent and your own price research in the area to come with your offer price. However, always knock off at least 10-15% from the asking price. You can always increase, but you can’t start dropping down!


Italy Real Estate Buying Process : Phase Two


Once your offer has been accepted, the vendor is still in a position to entertain other offers. When price and all other general terms of the purchase have been agreed, the written proposta irrevocabile d'acquisto is sent by the estate agent to the seller’s representative.

At this stage a small deposcompromesso di venditait – a primo acconto - is often paid by the buyer and deposited with their estate agent in order to show good faith and their sincere intent to buy.

At this stage it will also be a good idea to organize a survey, local land registry searches, and all necessary checks with the local authorities (Comune), as far as local planning and building regulations are concerned. This work is usually undertaken by a local surveyor (Geometra).

The Geometra will carry out a survey of the property to check with the local authority that it was legally built and complies with all regulations. He will also look at its condition. In short, he makes sure there are not any problems regarding the sale of the property.


Italy Real Estate Buying Process : Phase Three


Once a price has been agreed with the vendor both parties will proceed to sign a preliminary contract - contratto preliminare or compromesso di vendita. If the contract is drawn up by a notary, it is referred to as a contratto preliminare; while if drawn by an agent it is a compromesso di vendita. It is usually simply referred to as a compromesso.

The important thing to be aware is that it is at this stage that both parties become legally bound to complete the transaction. Both buyer and seller have to commit serious money to the process and if either backs out, there is a serious financial penalty – especially for the seller.

The compromesso provides details such as description of the property and its outbuildings, etc. as they are registered in the local property register, known as the Registro Immobiliare. It will also describe all rights of way, land boundaries, dates for completion and any other clauses agreed between the parties. In the contract the seller guarantees that the property is fit to be sold and has no hidden financial or legal liabilities.

At this point, the notary carries out a search in the property registry of the local commune in which the property is located to verify the vendor is the legal owner of the property and is entitled to sell the house. He will also check that there are no debts or mortgages on the house as well as no written liens or burdens and will note any changes to the property carried out in the last 20 years. In short, he checks that the seller can in fact fulfill their side of the compromesso.

The compromesso also details the selling price of the property and the various dates agreed by both parties when the balance of the property price will be paid.

At the time the compromesso is signed, the buyer pays a deposit (caparra), usually at 30% of the property’s value, although the amount can vary between 10% and 50% depending on whether it is a new built or not and the agreement reached between buyer and seller .

You should also note that as soon as the compromesso is signed, the estate agent's fee becomes due. Having secured a commitment to the sale of the property, their role is essentially complete.

If the buyer decides not to proceed, the deposit will be forfeited, along with any primo acconto that may have been paid. If the vendor withdraws, they will be obliged to pay to the buyer double the deposit – 60% of the purchase price.

Be careful to check the wording of the compromesso with regard to the deposit. A penitenziale means the seller will lose the deposit if they withdraw from the sale. A confirmatoria means the buyer is committed to buy the property and if they try to withdraw, the vendor can take legal action to force them to complete the transaction.

The date of completion is fixed in the compromesso and occurs when the final payment is made to the vendor.


Italy Real Estate Buying Process : Phase Four


The last stage relates to the completion formalities, which normally take place in the offices of the notary.This happens between one and three months following the signing of the compromesso – the actual date is agreed in the compromesso.

The Notary is responsible for drafting the Purchase Deed ( il Rogito) which is signed by both the buyer and the seller. At this point, the buyer must pay a property registration fee and a land registry tax plus pay the seller the remaining balance of the agreed purchase price and the property’s title is transferred to the buyer.

Note that the notary is obliged by law to ensure that you understand the process and what you are buying. Unless your Italian is sufficiently fluent, you will be required to pay for a translator.

And this completes the Italy real estate buying process. Congratulations, you are the proud owner of an Italian property !



Buying Process Explained



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