How to buy a house in Italy

Real estate purchase in italy

Regardless of the type of property that is being purchased, several things can help foreign purchasers make the process much simpler, without wasting time or money.

POA for property purchase in Italy

Power of Attorney (POA) is one of these tools. The POA is a formal, unilateral, act in which a person (the Principal) attributes another person (the Representative) the power to represent him through a public notary.

General POA

The POA can be general or special. General POA provides the representative with the power to execute several legal actions with third parties on behalf of the principal. The representative can carry out many different acts on behalf of the principal for a series of actions.

Special POA

Special POA, however, concerns a specific action, or the signing of a specific deed given to the principal. In this case, the power of attorney shall have legal effect only regarding the specified deed or action.

Choosing a real estate tax attorney in Italy

In any case, the representative is liable for any consequences caused by such legal actions which they are appointed for. In this case, the principal can ratify the actions completed by the representative, having a retroactive effect. Specifically in the purchase of property, POA is used as means of negotiation and signing of required documents. This includes preliminary contracts and negotiations, and other requirements during the purchase process.

Following this, the deed goes before a public notary, whose role is to read the contract to the parties, ensure they both understand it and agree to it, and then authenticate it. The purchaser or their appointed representative must be physically present.

Not just for this reason, in order to get through the process of buying a house in Italy, you need a reliable and on-call real estate tax attorney who knows everything about the Italian context.

POA for property purchase in Italy

Real estate commission in Italy

Real estate agencies are groups that can expedite and simplify the process, as they intermediate. Then, there are many extra details about how to buy a property in Italy. However, knowing the basics skills of these professionals can be immensely helpful. It is safe to work with agents, as they must be fully licensed in Italy to hold practice. They must attend a course and take a state examination and be formally registered in a public register.

‘Provvigioni’: when is it time to pay Italian real estate commission

Real estate agents take a sales commission when dealing with the purchase of the property. Commissions on sales applied by Italian real estate agencies are called provvigioni and regulated by Article 1755 of the Italian Civil Code, which can be requested from both buyers and sellers.

The commission must be paid when the buyer and seller reach an agreement, not when ownership is transferred.

However, this amount is not a predetermined percentage. Fees are negotiable and variable depending on the price of the property, its prestige or luxury, its location, and many other factors. Based on these factors, agents and purchasing parties must agree on a fair rate.

If a rate cannot be agreed upon, then the rate defaults to the rate set out in the local municipal Chamber of Commerce.

Another key fact about agents in Italy is that they are not liable for what they sell. Once details are finalized, and an agreement is reached, their job is finished. So, it is important to source an honest and dependable agent.

This may be difficult for foreign buyers because they must navigate cultural and language barriers, as well as negotiate rates. However, we seek to help to provide trustworthy and reliable services in Italy to all foreign purchasers to allow you to profitably invest in Italian real estate.

Technical and legal due diligence for properties

Foreign buyers must not only rely on agents, however. They must also perform their own technical and legal due diligence before buying in Italy. This involves creating a due diligence report.

This report is often composed of several parts that provide an understanding of the history, properties, legal standing, and other aspects of the home. More specifically, it includes data on the property’s location and reachability; the characteristics of the area; a description of the unit; and, a history of the property.

The core parts of this report, however, are the legal and technical parts. Legal due diligence includes ensuring the unit complies with all legal regulations. This includes the ownership title of the seller, the history of the property, its previous owners, and the deeds according to which the titles have been transferred.

In the case of company-owned properties, further information on the company’s solvency, shareholder rights, assets, liabilities, and balance sheet reports are required.

Additionally, legal due diligence includes identifying any existing burdens on the property. These would include existing rights, mortgages, or easements by a law granting exclusive use to a third party.

All legal due diligence is to be completed by real estate and tax lawyers.

The technical aspect of a due diligence report looks at the unit’s characteristics and status to provide the buyer an evaluation of the steps required to guarantee the full functionality of the unit. These would include on-site visits from engineers, architects, surveyors, or other groups to establish the state of the unit.

It specifically includes the status of certain aspects of the home such as the structure, façade, roof, interior, exterior, and finishes. The report must also establish the electrical, hot water, cooling, and heating systems of the unit; and the presence of an energy performance certificate, issued by a surveyor or engineer.

Due diligence reports are not requirements in all parts of Italy to close a deal, but they are often required by banks or may aid in the transfer of property. Nevertheless, we aim to assist foreign investors by using our expertise to facilitate client research and the formation of a due diligence report.

Finding a notary in Italy

Following the due diligence report, people purchasing real estate in Italy must source a notary for the completion of necessary documents. There are 91 notary districts in Italy, that are based on location. Notaries are required by law, so purchasers need to find notaries to assist them, and for the notaries to ensure the legality and verification of a transaction.

Two ways to find notaries based on location (online), are through Notariato, and the European Directory of Notaries. Both resources provide contact information and useful tools for non-Italian speakers to find a notary in a specific region of Italy.

Property purchase agreement and contracts in Italy

Property purchase agreement and contracts in Italy

The final piece of general purchase assistance for property in Italy is property purchase agreements and contracts. The reason for this is that a proposal is not legally binding and does not secure the property for the purchaser.

Rather, a seller has a limited time to accept or reject a proposal from a buyer once a deposit (based on the sale price) is placed on the home.

However, since these proposals are not commonly used, buyers often consult lawyers to receive legal advice and to prepare and sign several contracts for the purchase of the property.

The first contract is the preliminary contract to be signed before the completion of the final deed. This is a private agreement that states the agreed sale price, the completion date of the deal, and details of the property. This does not signify a transfer of ownership.  At this time, the buyer will place a 10-30% deposit on the property to confirm the pending purchase.

One of the final steps takes place before a notary and involves either the purchaser or their representative signing the notary deed. The deed must be drawn up in Italian language and the language understood by both parties. Once read and confirmed, the three copies of the final deed are signed.

Following this, the buyer transfers the remaining balance to the seller either directly, or via a Notary’s escrow account (which is often recommended). Upon transference of the full price, the property is transferred.

Our services

With the guidance and knowledge of our expert team, we help provide foreigners with the assets and resources needed to purchase property in Italy. Whether this is finding a notary, negotiating commission, or understanding various regulatory requirements, we help make this process seamless and efficient.

Get in touch