While the amount of Italian red tape is well known, and bureaucracy tends to move rather slowly, buying a property in Italy is actually pretty straightforward.
Firstly there are no restrictions placed upon non-residents wishing to purchase a house in Italy, be they from Europe or elsewhere. Anyone wishing to buy an Italian property must first obtain a tax identification number (codice fiscale) from the Italian authorities.
There are then three main buying stages. The buyer makes an offer, which commits him/her to buying the property at the given price. If the seller accepts, a deposit (usually 10%) is paid.
Both parties then sign a legally binding buying proposal (compromesso di vendita). This outlines the details of the transaction, including the completion date.
Should the seller withdraw, they must pay the buyer double the value of the deposit. If the buyer pulls out, he/she loses the deposit.
On completion, both parties sign the final contract (rogito) in the presence of a notary, who then issues the deeds and informs the land registry to transfer ownership. The remainder of the balance plus all taxes must be paid at this point.
If you are buying a property off-plan the developer must, by law, provide you with a full money-back warranty, guaranteed by their bankers for the entire duration of the project, which is cancelled only when you are satisfied with what you are buying and complete the purchase.The Notary
All registered property transactions in Italy must take place in front of a Notaio (A Notary Public who represents the Italian government.)
The Notaio's job is to check that the sale documents are correct, to verify the identities of the parties involved, to collect the tax due to the Italian Government on the sale and to ensure that the entries in the land registry are updated to show the new owner.
The Notaio is an independent person, working for neither purchaser nor seller. He/she is there solely to ensure that the property is the one referred to in the documentation and that the purchaser and seller are the relevant persons referred to.
Before the transactions can take place in front of a Notaio, the documentation has to be prepared for the purchaser and the seller.
Fees and Taxes
Buyers should set aside approximately 15% of the purchase price to cover costs and expenses.
Stamp duty/land registration tax for non-residents (i.e. second-home owners) varies from 10% of the Land Registry value for urban property and up to 18% of the declared price for a rural property.
Residents or those intending to make a permanent move will pay 4% stamp duty.
VAT on new properties ranges from 10% to 20%, depending on whether the property is considered a 'luxury home'.
Estate agent's fees are usually between 3% and 5% of the purchase price payable on signing the preliminary agreement, notary fees average around 3% and legal costs tend to amount to around 2% of the purchase price. Estate Agency and Notary fees are plus VAT (if applicable).
Local taxes (IMU) of between 0.4% and 0.7% also apply to anyone owning a home in Italy.
All above prices and feees can be confirmed during the buying process.
Find Your Home
This can be one of the most time consuming parts of the process. Hopefully Alghero Estates can help you find your perfect home.
Make An Offer
Once you have found the property, an offer in writing is then sent to the seller.
If the seller accepts your offer your written offer is then counter signed by the seller and becomes the preliminary contract. This is a legal commitment from both buyer and seller to exchange.
The final deed is compiled by the Notary and signed by both the buyer and seller. Payment by bankers draft or proof of wire transfer is made at this time.
The property exchange is conducted at the Notary office. Once the final deed is signed by both parties the legal ownership of the property is transfered to the buyer.