La Casa Emilia


guide to buying property in Italy

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Buying a property does not have to be an experience which leaves you stressed.
The Italian legal and tax system may be unfamiliar, and the form that the conveyance takes different to what you are used to but we can help you through this process.
If you wish to find a property to buy please see our list of Italian properties for sale.

This guide aims to help you understand the stages to deal with when purchasing a property in Italy.

Normally the buying a property is arranged in three stages:

Stage one

Either directly or with the assistance of an agent (Mediatore / Agente) the foreign buyer will need to select the property, obtain some basic information and documentation, and negotiate the general terms of the purchase. Sometimes, the foreign buyer may be asked to sign a reservation agreement (Prenotazione), and pay a small deposit to the agent. At this stage it will also be necessary to organize a survey, local land registry searches, and all necessary checks with the local authorities (Comune), as far as local planning and building regulations are concerned. This work is usually undertaken by a local surveyor (Geometra).

Property Checks and Searches

Before any sale can be completed there are a number of searches and checks to be carried out on the property. Those responsible for these checks are the Geometra (Local surveyor) and the Notaio (Public Notary). If these searches reveal any problems regarding the sale of the property then the sale cannot be completed. Usually these checks and searches take two to three weeks to carry out.

Checks carried out by the Geometra
  • The property matches the Land Registry definition
  • The property was not built without planning permission
  • Any work or extensions done, have received approval and have had the relevant taxes paid
  • The owners as Land Registry Office are the same as stated by the vendor

Stage two

The second stage is usually spent in negotiating, drafting, signing and exchanging the contract [Compromesso]. This is normally a binding legal agreement to complete the purchase at some future specified date, in the offices of a local Notary Public (Notaio). In view of the fact that this is an unequivocal commitment to buy the property and pay the agreed price at the time of signature, it is vital to have acquired all the documentation and search reports necessary to complete the purchase, or, at the very least to have ascertained all legal and practical difficulties / problems, and agreed a timetable to sort them out before completion. Italian law requires all contracts relating to land or buildings to be in writing, signed by both parties.

Stage three

The third stage relates to the completion formalities, which normally take place in the offices of a local notary. Notaries have a special duty of drafting the Purchase Deed [Rogito] and to ensure the proper execution, registration, and payment of all Italian taxes ancillary to the completion.

Checks carried out by the Notaio

  • The vendor is the legal owner of the property and is entitled to sell the house
  • There are no debts or mortgages on the house
  • There are no written liens or burdens
  • The vendor is aware that they must declare any outstanding private agreements regarding the property. For example if the vendor has agreed to allow a neighbour to build or extend within the minimum laid down by Italian law or has given a friend a right of way across the property.

The purchaser is liable to pay

  • Purchase Tax. This is levied on the cadastral value at 10% for non-residents, 3% (plus a small fee) for residents. For non-residents the tax is composed of Registration tax (7%), imposta ipotecaria (2%), imposta catastale (1%).
    When purchasing land this is 18%; note that this includes Stamp Duty (Bolli) which is levied at 1%.
    NOTE: If buying a new property from a developer or builder, the purchase tax is replaced by a 10% VAT (IVA) charge on the purchase price.
  • These are based on a sliding scale depending on the property value and cadastral value.
    Minimum charge around 1,500 Euros, approximately at 2.5% of the cadastral value (+ IVA).
    Notary Fees vary depending on the location in Italy and the specific Notary.
  • This is a formal verbal and written translation of the Rogito, typically around €400. The translator has to supplied by law if you do not speak Italian.
    The fee may be included with the Notary fees.
  • Our Agency fees - 3% of the price of the property; with a minimum charge of 3,000.
    Note that in Italy both buyer and seller pay Agent fees.
    You will only be charged by Realpoint - there are no other Italian Agents to pay.
  • Any legal fees
  • Bank Charges, if a money transfer is involved

Important : Declared Value

Under Italian Law a property has a legal or declared value. The legal value is a statutory value placed on the property by the Government. This value is generally considerably less than the actual purchase price and it is this figure which usually appear on documents. The amount of tax payable is, therefore, a lot less than it appears at first sight.

La Casa Emilia can help you through this process.

Casa Emilia works with private vendors, Geometras and partner Italian Estate Agents to find suitable properties for you. We can advise you on local, reputable surveyors and obviously make initial contact with the partner Agent on your behalf. We can help in more practical ways, suggest accommodation for you when viewing, get the utilities changed into your name, assist with the bank transfers or help arrange any work you may decide to do to your new home. In fact we are ready to offer help in any way we can. For our efforts in finding the right property for you, helping you through the sales process and assisting you to establish your home in Italy, we charge purchasers 3% of the agreed sale price, which is standard through Italy. Unlike many other agents we do not expect any payment until you sign the final contract and have a firm date for the purchase - the Rogito - when you get the keys to you property.
For more information about restoration see our Property Renovation and Restoration page.

La Casa Emilia Beverley, East Yorkshire, UK
Tel: +44 (0)845 331 2812 (local call in UK); Fax: +44 (0)20 8196 2383; Email Enquiry

RealPoint Property is a trading name of RealPoint Property Ltd., registered in England and Wales.
Registered Number. 4753346

buy house in italy italian villas, italy farmhouse a place in the sun italy
buy house in italy italian villas, italy farmhouse a place in the sun italy

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