So you’ve found your ideal property through Italian House Hunters. You’ve been out to Italy to view it and have decided that you and the house are truly meant for each other. Congratulations!
What happens next?
Here’s a short guide to the buying procedure in Italy and an explanation of some of the legal terms. It will also introduce you to the important figure of the Notaio.
First things first
Before you can do anything, you must acquire a Codice Fiscale. This is a personal code issued by the Italian Tax Office. It’s necessary for any investment, contract or legal proceeding in Italy. You can get one from an embassy or consulate. You’ll also need to open a bank account in Italy, which is fairly straightforward. It’s also a good idea to hire a solicitor (Avvocato) at this point, to look after your interests through the entire buying procedure.
Make your offer
Having obtained your Codice Fiscale, bank account and Avvocato, you can now submit a formal offer (Proposta d’acquisito). This document outlines what you will pay for the property. At this stage you pay a deposit as guarantee. Don’t worry: if the sale falls through, you will get your money back.
Offer accepted? Then pay your full deposit
If the vendor accepts your offer, you will need to top up the deposit to usually about 10% of the property’s purchase price. The deposit is called the Caparra Confirmatoria. If you back out of the sale after this point, this deposit doesn’t legally have to be returned to you, but if the vendor backs out, he or she must refund you.
Prepare the contract
Next comes the big contract (variously called the Compromesso, the Promessa di vendita, or the Contratto preliminare di vendita). This sets out in full the conditions of the sale and includes all the relevant cadastral and registry information. To give this signed contract full legal force, you must register it within twenty days, which will cost around €170 in fees and around €15 in stamp duty.
Enter the Notaio
Now you move on to officially receiving the purchase title deed of the property. This is called the Rogito or Atto di compravendita. For this you will need the services of a notary (Notaio), who is a neutral and impartial party. The Notaio will validate the contracts transferring ownership of a property, draft the new deed that cites you as the owner, and witness your handing over of the final payment and the vendor giving you the keys to the property. Fees for a Notaio’s services are usually between 1.5% and 2.5% of the property purchase price.
Enjoy the signing!
In Italy, the signing of the contract between vendor and buyer at the Notaio’s office usually takes the with a small celebration. So be prepared for a glass or two of Prosecco!