Buying a property in Italy

If you can't find it, we will.

 



Property viewing is free of charge. Please remember that it may take time getting from one house to another. In the summer it’s important to bring plenty of water and if you are with children it may be prudent to have car sickness tablets. Bring hats and sun cream. It’s our experience that 6 houses is about the maximum one can comfortably do in a day.

As a rule there are no restrictions placed upon a non-resident wishing to purchase a property in Italy, either from Europe or elsewhere. When searching for a house in Italy it is strongly recommended that you use an estate agent fully licensed by the Camera di Commercio (Chamber of Commerce). Abode srl is one such agency.

 

BUYING PROCESS


The buying process is generally in two parts;

1. Preliminary contract of sale (compromesso):
Once both parties have reached an agreement a preliminary contract of sale is signed with which the vendor and the buyer are mutually obliged to conclude the future contract of sale, establishing a date, the price of the property and the method of payment as well as any reciprocal obligations that have been agreed upon by the parties. To reinforce this obligation the buyer hands over a portion of the purchase price as a confirmatory deposit (caparra confirmatoria), this is normally an amount that represents between 10% and 30% of the agreed purchase price. If the party who has handed over the confirmatory deposit fails to fulfil the obligations within the preliminary contract, then the vendor may withdraw from  the agreement and retain the confirmatory deposit. If, on the other hand, the vendor withdraws from the contract, the person who intended to purchase the property is entitled to a refund of double the amount that was handed over. Generally, 2 to 4 months pass between the date of the signing of the preliminary contract and the date of the signing of the notarised contract of sale;  the contract with which the buyer legally gains possession of the property.

Abode will register the preliminary contract at the tax office. At this point a portion of the purchase taxes/duties payable by the buyer are due and correspond to 0.5% of the confirmatory deposit (this sum will be deducted from the taxes/duties paid at the moment of the notarised contract) along with a fixed tax of € 200 and a number of revenue stamps, the sum of which will be calculated at the time of registration. (Briefly, upon the signing of the preliminary contract of sale the following will be payable; a percentage of the sales price in the form of a confirmatory deposit, a small portion of the purchase taxes/stamp duties and the first 50% of the agency fee).

 

NB: The agency fee is 3% of the agreed sales price plus IVA. IVA is currently at 22%

2. Notarised contract of sale:
The actual transfer of the ownership of the property takes place in front of a notary, who draws up the sales contract and represents both parties. The contract must be signed directly by both the parties (or by persons acting as proxy for the parties) in front of the notary, who authenticates the signatures. The same notary will be obliged to register the signed contract at the tax office, transcribe it at the land registry office and register the transfer of the property ownership with the cadastral office. (Briefly, upon the signing of the notarised contract of sale the following will be payable: the balance of the purchase price, the remainder of the purchase taxes/stamp duties directly to the notary along with his or her fee and the remainder of the agency fee).

PURCHASE COSTS


The costs relative to the notarised contract of sale are all borne by the purchaser and are payable upon the signing of the notarised contract of sale.


NOTARY FEE
The notary fee is calculated in proportion to the value of the sale.


PURCHASE TAXES
The registration taxes are paid to the notary at the time of the notarised contract of sale and are then in turn paid by the notary when the contract is registered. If a sale of property for habitation (along with any outbuildings or other pertinent accessories) takes place between private individuals then the taxable value necessary for the registration may be calculated using the cadastral value of the property rather than the actual sales price. Both the taxable value and the sales price are included within the notarised contract of sale.

For buildings the taxes payable are equal to 9% of the value as described above whilst land tax is equal to 15% of the market value of the land. When a prima casa is purchased (that is a property that is to be a primary residence) the buyer may take advantage of a concession that will reduce the tax payable. This concession gives the buyer the option to pay the registration tax with the reduced rate of 2% instead of 9%. Land tax is not subject to a concession and therefore remains at 15%.

For sales involving parties that are not private individuals (construction companies, Italian companies, non-Italian companies etc), then different tax regimes apply, depending on the nature of the company involved. As a general rule however, if you buy as a company or you buy from a company, taxes are paid as a percentage of the full purchase price.

IN ORDER TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE REDUCED TAX CONCESSION:
1.The property purchased must not be considered  a luxury property. Luxury status is established according to regulations.

2.The real estate must be located in the municipality in which the purchaser either has residence or in which they intend to take up residence within 18 months of the signing of the notarised contract of sale.

3.The purchaser must not already be the title owner of a property, have right of usufruct, use, habitation or residuary right of ownership  in another property in the municipality in which the property to be purchased  is located.

4.The prospective buyer must not own, have the right of usufruct, use, habitation or residuary right of ownership in another property purchased with the concession allowed for a prima casa.
Purchases that differ from the above will be evaluated with our assistance.

Additional costs
Surveyor’s fee – we can organize a property survey on your behalf.  This cost is not covered in our fee and will be payable directly to the technician upon receipt of the survey.

Translator – if you do not speak Italian then the notarised contract of sale will need to be translated by an authorized translator. We can organize a translator for you; again this service is not covered in our fees and is payable directly upon the signing of the notarised contract of sale.  The total expenses incurred in the purchase should not, on average, amount to more than 10% of the purchase price.

Running Costs
IMU (Imposta Municipale Unica or Unified Municipal Tax). A bi- annual municipal tax due on all houses, including main residences, prima casa, holiday homes etc. That means if you own any property in Italy you will need to pay IMU.
Rubbish tax - it is payable in four instalments or all at once if you prefer.

Utilities - electricity, water, gas, telephone (if applicable)
Condominium expenses - if you buy a property which is part of a group of properties which share some communal areas - gardens, driveway, swimming pool, tennis court etc. then you will be required  to pay condominium expenses.

The easiest way to pay most of these is by direct debit, although some will need to be paid at the post office or even in cash depending on agreements made with your condominium.