The Buying Process
To start off the process, both parties (the seller and the buyer) will have to sign an initial agreement “compromesso di vendita”. It is important for the buying party to assure there is sufficient finance to execute the buy and it is the sellers responsibility to make sure the property title is free and clear of any and all encumbrances. Only then can a sales transaction take place.
Once the initial agreement has been signed by both parties, the buyer will post a deposit in the amount of at least 10% of the total purchase price of the real estate being sold. Some transactions see deposits as high as 50% of the overall property purchase price.
It is also important to notice that if the buyer decides to pull out of the sale for personal reasons, this deposit will not be refundable. The only way a refund can be given to the buyers deposit is if the contract can not be adhered to within specified time frames.
A notary will usually act in the process to assure everything is legal and above board. He is responsible for carrying out title searches to make certain that the title to the property is free and clear of any obvious defects or liens. It is often recommended to buyers to hire a geometra.
A geometra’s job is to survey the physical boundaries of the property for sale to make sure that it fits the legal documents at hand. It is recommended to consider this, especially if the property is of older age to assure proper dealings. Upon completion of the sale both parties sign a document called “il rogito notarile” and the remaining balance and fees will be paid as appropriated in the contract.
It is highly common for buyers to move into the property before the deal has been finalised as many property transactions take upwards of 6 months. Therefore once the initial agreement has been signed, many take possession of their new home at once.
Where to Buy
Italy is fortunate enough to boost some great locations that attract people of all ages. Whether you fancy a vineyard in the Tuscany, a home in up and coming Puglia, or any of the following regions as reported in our Italian property grand prix post;
- Le Marche
- The Amalfi Cost
One thing is for sure, Italy is attractive due to decent and affordable real estate, even in today’s lagging market and global dire straits.
British expats can buy an Italian home for as little as £30,000 in some regions of the country. Another big positive about Italian property is the wide range of styles that fit any budget.
You can choose from an old fashioned stone villa to a big old mansion and everything in between.
Important to know
It is advisable for expat property buyers to deal with qualified and licensed agents only. Dealing with local lawyers and solicitors who speak English is a bonus as they will be responsible for drawing up your contracts, paying taxes, register your property with the land registry in Italy and contacting the Notary.
Usually they charge between 1 – 2% of the sale value of the property.
If you buy an older style property you might also have to factor in the cost of a local surveyor.
It always pays off to be prepared and cautious when buying property, regardless whether overseas or at home. Enquiries must be made to ensure that the seller has a registered title and that there are no debts against the property. Buyers will inherit unpaid debts on a property! Things like taxes or mortgages as well as missing building licences and non conformity to local planning conditions can quickly put a nasty spanner in your plans. Also check for selling consent of all family registered owners and water supplies for any countryside properties you consider buying.
Some helpful glossary
As mentioned, it is advisable to deal with lawyers who are also fluent in English to make the whole process of buying property in Italy a little easier. Here are some common terms to help brisge the language gap:
- A “stima” is a valuation.
- A “perizia strutturale” is a structural survey.
- A “geometra” is a combination of an architect and surveyor.