Written by Christopher Nye,
Last Modified: 31st October 2018

Italy has a wealth of choices for discerning buyers, from grand palazzos to picturesque farmhouses and super-stylish modern villas. Buying a home here doesn’t depend on EU citizenship, and you can use it as you wish, including earning an income from rentals. Even better, prices are more than reasonable at the moment, and you can take advantage of our free property hunting service. So if you’re looking for your own Italian renaissance, here is how you buy. 

How does buying a home in Italy work?

The legal system is based on the civil code, so it works differently to common-law countries like the UK or Ireland. With a different language to contend with as well, it’s highly advisable to secure yourself the services of an English-speaking lawyer. Your Italy specialists in Distinction by Property Guides’ Resource Centre can provide introductions to trusted legal specialists with experience helping overseas buyers purchase in Italy. Simply call us on 020 7898 0549 or send us an email at distinction@propertyguides.com.

 

It's important to make sure you involve a notary when purchasing a home in Italy.

It’s important to make sure you involve a notary when purchasing a home in Italy.

 

What are the key steps to purchasing in Italy?

There is a lot of preparation to do if you’re purchasing in Italy, including before you find your property. Here are the key steps.

Before finding your home in Italy

You’ll need to get your Tax Code or Codice Fiscale, which the Italian Revenue Agency of the Minisry of Economy and Finance (Agenzia della Entrate) or a consulate abroad can issue you.

With your tax code in hand, it is time to open an Italian bank account. This will give you somewhere to lodge funds for the purchase. Your Italian notary may insist on a banker’s draft from one in-country.

Prepare your secure currency transfers. The exchange rate changes constantly, which means the price of your property will fluctuate between agreeing and sending a deposit. We can introduce you to Smart Currency Premier, the only specialists in transfers for luxury property transactions. Just contact us on 020 7898 0549 or distinction@propertyguides.com.

After you’ve found your home in Italy

Make sure to do detailed research on what the sale includes. Ask your estate agent about the features included in the sale, the title information, building compliance, known ongoing costs and energy supply. Make sure also that you have all information on building compliance and the seller’s solvency – this is the agent’s job in Italy.

Next, have a survey done to get a detailed understanding into the property’s state, and find out anything that you might have missed.

Properties in rural areas with a lot of land may be classified as Prelazione agraria, or agricultural pre-emption. If so, the vendor will have to offer first right of purchase to neighbouring farmers at the price you’ve stated before continuing with you.

Then, it’s time to make your purchase proposal or proposta di acquisito. This is a declaration from you that you wish to purchase the home at the price you state. With your signature, you make a commitment to buy, but the seller is not yet obliged to accept.

Special exemptions and rules

Properties in rural areas with a lot of land may be classified as Prelazione agraria, or agricultural pre-emption. If so, the vendor will have to offer first right of purchase to neighbouring farmers at the price you’ve stated before continuing with you. If you don’t carry out this stage, the neighbour could claim the land back in the future.

After the seller accepts your offer

As soon as the seller accepts your purchase proposal, you can turn it into a preliminary contract or contratto preliminare. The seller will also sign this and both of you will finally have an obligation sign the final sales contract. Ensure it contains detailed information on the transaction, including the sale price, identity of the property, plot numbers, information from the Land Registry and the date of the final contract. It can be useful to involve a notary in this step for advice.

 

The contratto preliminare will help to set the intention to purchase your home in Italy in stone.

The contratto preliminare will help to set the intention to purchase your home in Italy in stone.

 

At the same time, you’ll pay a deposit or caparra of about €10,000. Usually, the contract will stipulate that if the seller backs out, you can claim it back. Equally, if you back out, you will lose the deposit.

Then, it’s time to draw up the deed. The notary will, before finalisation, carry out a number of legal checks on the property. Once you and the seller are satisfied, you will attend the notary’s office to sign and witness the public deed of sale or atto pubblico di compravendita, commonly called rogito. You will pay the balance of the purchase price and then receive the keys. You’re ready to start your new life in your dream home in Italy!

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