So you’ve been to Italy and viewed a number of promising properties. You thought one was interesting, another had potential, and then you visited one that made you go “WOW! That’s the one!”
Buying a house in Italy is different from other countries – but it’s not difficult. You just need to know what you’re doing. Fortunately, Italian House Hunters does, and will be your guide throughout all processes involved. Here’s a quick overview of the three main stages in the proposal to purchase process.
Phase 1. The Proposal of Purchase (Proposta irrevocabile d’acquisto)
This is an irrevocable proposal to buy, subject to contract. It’s not legally binding and does not mean you have secured the property. It lets the seller know that you intend to buy and will be signing a contract at a later date. It’s a pre-printed form that has to be signed by the seller. It has a time limit – normally 15 to 30 days – and you will need to pay a nominal deposit, say 1000 EUR. If the seller is approached by someone who offers a higher asking price, he can terminate this agreement and return your deposit. If you decide to pull out, the seller will probably keep the deposit as compensation. In other words, only sign this proposal if you have conducted the necessary checks on the property and have the finance organized.
Phase 2. The Preliminary Contract (Contratto preliminare or Compromesso)
Once the seller accepts your offer, you move to a preliminary contract. This is an agreement between seller and buyer that is registered and transcribed. It obligates each party to stipulate a definitive purchase agreement (phase 3).
The preliminary contract usually contains many more details and agreements than in the accepted offer and must contain all the aspects that will be inserted in the final deed, such as the details of each party, the price of the property, the method of payment, the description of the house (cadastral income, area, number of rooms, condition), the date of the deed, conformity to building standards, etc.
Usually at this stage the buyer increases the deposit paid to a sum that equals 10-15% of the property value. In case the sale doesn’t go through because of the buyer, the seller can keep the deposit as compensation. If it’s the buyer’s fault, the seller has the right to have the deposit returned.
Phase 3. The Final Deed (Rogito or Atto di vendita)
This document is signed by both parties in the presence of a notary. The choice of the notary is generally left to the buyer who also pays the notary’s fee. Once the deed is signed, the house will be definitively yours and you will be its new owner.