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Buying - walking you through step by step

Buying - walking you through step by step

Via a network of carefully selected real estate agencies, both in Italy and abroad, itcasa is able to offer its clients an exclusive portfolio of properties to satisfy even the most specific requirements.

In the event that our extensive portfolio does not contain the type of property desired, itcasa offers a personalised search service, which monitors the local property market based on client indications and flags any newly listed properties which could be of interest.

Once the desired property has been identified, itcasa is able to provide all the assistance necessary to successfully complete the acquisition, this includes:

  • Valuation of the target property;
  • Preparation of a detailed technical report containing all the documentation necessary to ascertain the conformity of the building to local and national building regulations, town planning laws, etc;
  • Drafting and presentation of a formal offer document to the seller; and Supervision/preparation and collation of all the necessary reports, certificates and documents required for the preparation of both the preliminary purchase agreement ("compromesso" or "contratto preliminare di vendita") and the final sale and purchase agreement ("rogito notarile").

For foreign buyers, we can also provide assistance to ensure all personal documentation has been obtained from the relevant Italian authorities and with other tasks such as, opening local bank accounts or obtaining home insurance for your new home.   

The buying process
Buying a property in Italy can be very different from buying a property in other countries. The following is a brief summary of the main aspects of the Italian buying process.

Formal offer document ("Proposta formale d'acquisto")
Once the property has been successfully identified it is necessary to draft and submit a formal, written, binding offer document. The offer document will have a limited validity within which timeframe the owner can either accept or decline the proposal.

When a formal proposal is submitted a deposit is left by the buyer with itcasa, as the real estate agent. Should the proposal be accepted, the seller countersigns and returns the offer proposal and the deposit is passed on to him. In the event that the offer is declined the deposit is returned to the buyer within 5 working days.

Preliminary purchase agreement ("Contratto Preliminare" or "Compromesso")
Once the formal offer document has been accepted and countersigned a preliminary purchase agreement is drafted, agreed and signed by both parties.

Upon the signing of the preliminary purchase agreement the buyer must pay a deposit, normally between 10% and 30% of the agreed purchase price. 
The preliminary purchase agreement will also indicate, amongst other things, the following items:

  • The agreed purchase price;
  • The conditions of payment of the purchase price;
  • The timing of the payment of the purchase price;
  • The legal status of the property (rented, free, etc.);
  • The guarantee of full transfer of ownership and use, free from any third party claims or liens;
  • The agreed date the buyer can take possession of the property;
  • The agreed date of completion i.e. the signing of the final sale and purchase agreement in front of the notary (ordinarily between 2 and 4 months from the date of the preliminary purchase agreement).

Under Italian law, the preliminary purchase agreement is fully binding and as such each party can be sure that subject to one or both parties changing their mind, in which case the type of deposit paid ("confirmatorio" or "penitenziale") will determine the options open to each party, the sale will complete successfully. It is at this point that the real estate agent's commission becomes legally due in Italy.

The Sale & Purchase Agreement or Deed of Sale ("Rogito Notarile")
The sale & purchase agreement is the final phase of the buying process. This contract is prepared by a legally recognised notary (ordinarily chosen by the buyer) and signed by all parties, including the notary.

Prior to drafting the sale and purchase agreement, the notary carries out 'visure', searches similar to those already undertaken by itcasa during the earlier stages of the sale, aimed at verifying the legal ownership, status, rights and or burdens associated with the property in question. Only if the outcome of the searches is satisfactory will the notary draft and witness the signature of the sale and purchase agreement. The notary will then deposit the signed contract in the Conservatoria dei Registri Immobiliari, inform the Catasto of the change of ownership and pay the necessary taxes associated with these duties.

In many cases, together with the sale and purchase agreement, a mortgage agreement is also signed, in which case the notary also registers the mortgage in favour of the issuing bank.

Once all documents and contracts have been duly signed, monies are exchanged and the notary's costs are paid.

Acquisition costs
Ordinarily, acquisition costs should not be more than 12% of the agreed purchase price.

Given that all costs associated with the preparation of the sale and purchase agreement (notary costs, taxes, etc.) are payable by the buyer, the buyer may choose the notary.

The main costs associated with the acquisition of a property in Italy are the following:

  • Change of ownership taxes – these vary based on the type of property (first home, second home, etc.) and the type of vendor. For example, as a rule, the taxes due on the acquisition of a property from a private vendor vary between 2% and 9% of the registered value of the property, revalued based on the property's category;
  • Notary – the notary's fee is calculated based on national tariffs and on the purchase price of the property;
  • Real Estate Agent – itcasa charges a commission of between 3% and 5% of the purchase price (excluding tax) based on the value of the property.

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