Buying Property in Italy – Buyer Advice
Help and advice for those buying property in Italy
This page seeks to demystify the process of buying property in Italy. We aim to help you to gain confidence in your ability to buy a home in such a colourful and wonderful country.
If you would like more advice please do not hesitate to contact us directly at Il Punto Tuscany RE.
Step by Step Guide – How to buy your property in Italy
Use our property search facility to find the properties that fit your criteria most closely. Sometimes it takes a few visits to view the properties to really know what is right for you.
Visit to view properties
Our agency will be happy to arrange your viewings and accompany you to all the houses you wish to look at. We will be at your complete disposal for anything you require. We can advise on accommodation and hire cars and we can even suggest the best flights. If you want to experience first hand the pleasure of owning a home in our area of Italy, come and meet us in our agency
During your trip we can discuss your needs further and view the properties you have found that most fit what you are looking for. We often recommend at least two visits to likeable properties at different times of the day.
As with all real estate, the market here is very buoyant and so we will often be able to show you new properties that have just come onto our books. We have sales contracts with all our sellers to safeguard our buyers.
Once you have chosen the house you wish to buy, send us an informal letter called a “proposal to buy” accompanied by 2000 euros so that we can secure the property and mark it Under Offer on our website.
We will ask for photo ID at this point to accompany the letter of intent to buy the property.
Once the seller has agreed the price offered, we can then go ahead and provide a quote for the closing costs. A rough guide is that they will run to 10% to 15% of the purchase price.
These are made by a geometra, who is a combination of an architect and a surveyor. They will inspect the condition of the property, the boundary lines and the ownership of the property. They will make sure that the property you intend to buy is free of easements or liens. They will make sure the property can be legally sold and then they will write the preliminary contract. In order to keep the inspections straightforward and free of stress, our geometra will be happy to deal with this step for you.
We now urge clients to also pay for a technical survey to be done on the property that they wish to buy to ensure no unpleasant surprises. Our geometra will be at your disposal for whatever is required in order to finalize the sale. He will obtain any documents that may be needed, carry out surveys and draw up plans and designs. For these services, the buyer will be given a quote for the costs which may vary according to the property. Any information regarding town planning rules only has a shelf life of about 3 months as town planning regulations change so regularly. Finally, if you do wish to put in for planning permission on a property, do it as soon as you buy the property in case you are no longer able to carry out your plans five years later.
The preliminary contract (Compromesso) is a private agreement stating the full price of the house and the conditions that need to be met before the sale. Since January 2007, all registered Italian real estate agents are obliged to register all the preliminary contracts. This is paid for by you the buyer and will cost 168 euros which is the fixed registration fee, plus 2 bolli or stamps (these are currently 16,00 euros each) and 0.5% of the deposit. At this point the buyer is usually required to pay about 30% of the total sale price.
This will seem a lot but it will ensure that no one can be gazumped and it protects both the buyer and the seller against defaulting on the contract. If you default you lose your deposit, if the seller defaults they are required to pay you back twice the value of your deposit.
Before the geometra can go ahead and write this contract he needs to research the origin of the house i.e. who the sellers bought from, they will check if there are any liens or mortgages on the property, they will check for easements and who all the confining neighbours are. Should any problems arise involving the documentation necessary for the conclusion of the sale, the seller will have to provide the required documentation. If the seller is not able to produce the necessary documentation even though he wishes to do so, and this results in the agreement between the buyer and the seller ending, the buyer will be refunded the amount paid as a deposit as a commitment to buy, but any costs paid to the geometra up to that moment will not be refunded.
(Buying farms and/or farmland)
Books on the subject of buying property in Italy always talk about the coltivatori diretti (registered farmers); this is a law whereby a registered farmer has the priority to purchase a piece of rural property at the same price. This whole problem is avoided by getting any neighbouring farmers to sign a letter 60 days before the final contract is signed whereby they decline the priority and will not pursue it in the future, thus protecting our buyers.
Once the preliminary contract is signed we regard the purchase as a done-deal and put the property into pending status. At this point you need only pay our commission which, if you decide to go for the standard legal package is 3% plus local VAT called IVA running at 22%. The geometra and taxes are paid at final contract.
The buyer will decide which notary he wishes to use and the date he would like to sign the final contract on. On the same day, the buyer will pay the balance of the total price, the notary, the taxes and the geometra. All the payments can be made by cashier’s cheque, the payment for the property can also be made with a mortgage. We usually advise you to open a bank account in the area you are buying the house before signing the final contract to facilitate transactions.
The notary will need your proof of ID at the contract, so don’t forget your passport.
However, the Il Punto Tuscany RE Team have more than 20 years experience and work with expert partners in the region to ensure your buying experience is as straightforward and stress free as possible. If you would like further information about the buying process please do not hesitate to contact us .