La Casa Emilia
guide to buying property in Italy
Buying a property does not have to be an experience which leaves
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:
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
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
- The property was not built without planning
- 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
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.
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
- 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
- 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.