The Process of Buying an Italian Property
Our aim is to help you find your
perfect home in Italy and to minimise the risks associated with
buying Italian property.
The unfamiliarity of the Italian legal
system and the bureaucracy involved in buying a home in Italy can
make the process appear nerve wracking and complicated.
The biggest difference from the United
Kingdom is that Italians do not use legal advisers to carry out
property searches and draw up the contract.
In Italy these tasks are divided
between the estate agent and the notary who is acting on behalf of
the State to ensure that the transaction is properly registered and
that the correct taxes are collected.
In order to protect your interests it
is advisable to instruct your own solicitor locally to deal with
the legal formalities on your behalf. Vista Lago Homes can help
advise you along the way.
The stages of the conveyancing process
are as follows:
- Having seen a home in Italy that you are interested in you need
to decide whether to instruct a surveyor to commission a structural
report on the Italian property. This may be particularly helpful if
the house in Italy needs restoring and you want some idea of the
cost involved in doing so.
- Once you have agreed a price you may wish to enter into a
proposta irrevocabile d'acquisto. This is a document setting out a
preliminary intention to buy your home in Italy akin to an option
in the UK. The document is signed by both parties and a small
deposit, say around 1,000 €, is held by either the Italian estate
agent or the notary which is forfeited by the seller if the buyer
changes his mind or is released to the seller once the initial
contract is signed. This can be a useful document if say the buyer
needs to organise a mortgage before being able to proceed with the
Italian property purchase.
- Once both parties are ready to proceed they will sign a
compromesso di vendita translated as a 'promise to buy'. This is
the single most important document when buying a house in Italy as
it defines the property and binds the parties to complete the
transaction on a predicted date. There is also space to insert
conditional clauses if, for example, the Italian property purchase
is dependent on the seller complying with certain obligations. At
this stage a deposit of between 10-30% of the purchase price is
paid to the seller.
- Once the notary has carried out the relevant searches and
ensured that there are no liens or impediments on the property then
the atto di acquisto, or final contract, is signed. This has to be
signed in the notary's office in the presence of both parties and
two official witnesses.
If you do not speak Italian then you
will need to have an interpreter with you at the notary's office
for the final signing to ensure that you have understood the
wording of the final contract. This can be a costly expense.
We are able to provide you with a full
translation service so that you have copies of all the legal
documents translated into English before you sign them as well as
providing you with an interpreter at a much reduced rate on the
Trusted & Reliable Legal Professionals
In Italy it is not necessary to employ
a legal advisor to carry out title checks and searches on your
behalf. The work of carrying out searches and preparing the
contracts is divided up between the Italian estate agent and a
The notary is a public official
responsible for completing the sale, collecting the taxes and
registering the transfer of the property. Notaries are not there to
represent either party in the transaction but act on behalf of the
state to ensure that all the formalities are complied with.
Similarly the Italian estate agent is
being paid a commission by both parties in a transaction and is
mainly concerned to ensure that the transaction goes through as
quickly as possible.
We are able to talk you through the
process of buying your Italian home and we can supply translated
versions of the documents that you will need to sign. We can also
provide an interpreter when you sign the final contract at the
notary's office. It is a legal requirement that you have a
translator if you do not speak fluent Italian and this can be
costly without help.
However, if you would feel more secure
having a lawyer to represent your interests then we can also
recommend a local legal adviser to assist you. Italian planning
regulations vary enormously from one region to the next. For this
reason, you are much better off hiring a lawyer who practices in
the area in which you are going to buy your Italian home rather
than hiring either UK solicitors with Italian expertise or even
Anglo-Italian solicitors based elsewhere in Italy.
We can recommend a lawyer who knows
the area well to advise you should any aspect of the sale be a
cause for concern, and who can check that the paperwork the estate
agent and the notary have prepared is in order, that all the
correct searches have been done and that the person you are paying
for your home in Italy is the legal owner.
Similarly, if you need the services of
a local surveyor to provide a report on the property before you
make a commitment to buy then we can also recommend someone locally
to assist you.
Call us now if you need any help with
the buying process or require any legal advice:
Telephone: +44 (0)1202 478665