Buying a property in Italy for sale is never going to be stress-free, especially if you don’t speak the language fluently or at all. However, don’t be put off just because you don’t speak the language. There’s a fairly limited number of key Italian words and phrases relating to the property market in Italy that you will hear coming up repeatedly in discussions. Learning and understanding these will undoubtedly smooth the purchase process! They will help you make friendships at the same time.
Vocabulary relating to property in Italy for sale
It’s always important to know what to expect when you are looking through Italian newspapers of magazines and reading descriptions of property. Here are the Italian terms you are most likely to come across, and their English translations:
- Abitabile – habitable
- Acconto – deposit
- Anticipo – deposit
- Appartamento – apartment
- Monolocale – studio
- Bilocale – two-bedroom apartment
- Trilocale – three-bedroom apartment
- Ascensore – elevator; senza ascensore = without an elevator
- Attico – penthouse apartment
- Box auto – lock-up garage
- Buono stato – in good condition
- Camino – hearth or fireplace
- Casa – general name for a house
- Casa Canonica – a house (usually old) attached to a church
- Casa Gemella – a semi-detached property
- Casa Padronale – a country house
- Casale – a farmhouse
- Casetta – a small house
- Castello – a castle
- Condominio – apartment blocks, usually the large, modern ones
- Construzione – new-build property
- Da ristrutturare – to renovate, literally to restructure
- Independente – the alternative to the condominio; a house with its own entrance
- Lavanderia – laundry room
- Metri quadri – square meters
- Mutuo – mortgage
- Palazzo – a large building
- Palazzo nobile – a mansion
- Piccolo condominio – usually an older building that has been converted into two or three apartments.
- Rovina – a ruin
- Rustico – a rural property, usually in need of renovation
- Semi-independente – one half of a house that has been divided into two
- Spese di condominio – fees for lighting and cleaning of common areas, or in luxury properties, shared use of a swimming pool or gym.
- Terra-cielo or terra-tetto – terraced cottage, usually built with three or four stories
- Trattabile – negotiable
- Vani – rooms or compartments. Instead of listing a house as having four bedrooms and two bathrooms, an Italian estate agent might describe it as “5 Vani + Acc”, or five rooms (in this case, four bedrooms and a living room) plus “accessories”, which would be the bathrooms and kitchen.
- Villa – a detached house with garden/land
- Villetta a schiera – terraced house or row of small modern homes with a small garden
- Villino – a cottage or small house with garden
Italian legal or financial terms when buying a property in Italy for sale
- Avvocato – solicitor
- Agenzia delle Entrate – Italian Revenue Agency
- Caparra – Deposit
- Codice Fiscale – personal number issued by the…
- Compromesso – Preliminary Contract
- Conto bancario – bank account
- Geometra – Surveyor
- Il Rogito Notarile – Deeds of Notary
- Importo Totale – Total Sum Payable
- Notaio – Notary
- Proposta irrevocabile d’acquisto – Reservation Contract
Some useful phrases
- Abbiamo appena comprato una nuova casa! – We just bought a new house!
- Ci siamo appena spostati in una nuova casa/un nuovo appartamento – We just moved to a new house/apartment.
- Il palazzo è molto vecchio – The building is very old
- Non c’è l’ascensore – There’s no elevator
- La casa ha due stanze da letto e un bagno e mezzo – The house has two bedrooms and one a half baths.
- Vieni, ti faccio vedere/ti mostro la casa – Come on, let me give you a tour.
- Questa stanza sarà il mio ufficio! – This room will be my office!
- La cucina è la mia stanza preferita – The kitchen is my favorite room.
Basic greetings in Italian
Ciao – Hi and bye
Ciao can be used as both “hi” and as “bye,” and is a very informal way of greeting someone, such as a friend. When searching for a house, you would be best to use some of the more “formal” greetings below.
Buongiorno – Hello and good morning
When you enter a house or an office, you should use the word buongiorno, which means both “hello” and “good morning.”
Buonasera — Hello and good evening
Actually you may hear Italians saying buonasera already in the mid afternoon, as it’s a common way to say hello in the afternoon. But it generally means “good evening.”
Arrivederci – Goodbye
When you want to say goodbye in a more formal way, you can use the word arrivederci. So when you are leaving the estate agent’s office or saying goodbye to the Notaio. If you were saying goodbye to a friend you would be best just using ciao.
Una buona giornata – Have a good day
This is another useful phrase to learn when you are leaving an office or a house you have just been looking over.
Buona serata – Have a good evening
This is a good phrase to use when you are leaving a restaurant after your evening meal!
A presto – See you soon
If you say goodbye to someone that you think you’ll see again someday – perhaps because you’ve made an appointment for a second viewing of a house – you could always add a presto to your goodbye.
If there is anything about these Italian words or phrases you don’t fully understand, or wish to know the precise translation of another word or phrase relating to the property market in Italy, then remember that at Italian House Hunters we are just una chiamata (a phone call) away!
Buy a property in Italy with Italian House Hunters
Italian House Hunters can help you every step of the way. From the initial search through all the paperwork, rules and regulations to the signing of the contract – and even beyond to rental advice. We have an extensive local network and can locate properties that are under the radar. Moreover, we’ll help you get the best deal possible!
Italian House Hunters are on a mission to help Italophiles from around the globe find and buy their dream house. Our experience is priceless and our expertise comes at no risk to you. If your search proves unsuccessful or if your purchase falls through, we won’t charge you.
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