LEGAL CONSULTATION TO BUY A PROPERTY IN ITALY
Due to the language barrier and differences in the legal systems, purchasing a property might become a complex process. Hence, before signing any contract, it is highly advisable to contact a qualified bilingual legal advisor, proficient in Italian law and knowledgeable about the property market – a real estate lawyer, to assist and guide through the process, step by step.
Real estate agents
Working with a real estate agent is the most fruitful way to find the right property without wasting too much time or money. Italian legislation maintains that to work as a real estate agent, or agency, one needs to be licensed, qualified and registered with the local Chamber of Commerce. Under the Italian law, the real estate agent is usually paid a commission, called Provvigione, by both the buyer and the vendor, whereby this commission usually equals between 2.5% and 3% of the purchase price. Of course, there is always a possibility for the parties to negotiate, and agree that the agent be paid only by one of the parties. Frequently the purchaser, especially if non-Italian, needs to sign standard terms of engagement, which should be carefully evaluated before signing, particularly due to the fact that such documents are usually in Italian. The paperwork contains not only the fee but also the duration of the mandate, or even it’s exclusivity.
Real estate lawyer in Italy
Alongside a dedicated agent, you’ll need an expert real estate lawyer based in Italy, that can help you understand and comply with the national laws and local requirements.
Paperwork the vendor has to provide
What paperwork is needed to buy a house ‘under the Tuscan sun’? When you make an important decision like purchasing a property in Italy, it is desirable to be aware of the documents that the vendor is obliged to provide, such as:
- An energy rating certificate (APE – attestato di prestazione energetica) – contains the characteristics of an energy-efficient building and serves as a control instrument, summarizing data such as the type of building, means of hot water provision, cooling and heating systems, energy production and installation systems. This document is issued by an architect, surveyor or engineer.
- Land registry certificate – maintained by Agenzia del Territorio and providing information on deeds of transfer of ownership and other property rights, as well as the raising and writing-off of mortgages. Such documents are a vital part of ensuring the legal compliance of the deal and realization of the full property rights. The transfer of ownership needs to be registered at the Land register, whereby the due tax equals 1% of the purchase price- usually to be paid by the buyer;
- Certificate of habitability (Certificato di agibilità) – according to the Italian Civil Code the vendor is obliged to produce all the documents related to the property including a certificate of habitability. This document represents a confirmation that the building is fit for occupancy. It is also required by the public notary for realization of the final deed of transfer.
- Planning permission building certificate (to be issued after 1967)- testifies that the property has been built according to the Italian laws, with compliant floor plans, planning permits and related documentation; provided by the city hall, usually online.
Special Power of Attorney (Procura Speciale)
A special power of attorney is a legal document in which one person (principal) appoints another person (attorney) to act on their behalf. It is advisable to sign a Power of Attorney when the principal is not able to attend the final deed. In particular, this applies when the principal does not speak Italian and their signature is required in front of an Italian notary for the property sale.
Purchase proposal (Offerta)
The purchase proposal represents a contract through which the buyer or their realtor communicates the seller the intention to buy the property at a certain price and within a certain amount of time. Once the purchase proposal is signed, it is binding both the parties. This step is not mandatory and is often skipped.
Preliminary contract (Preliminare)
The preliminary contract is a private agreement consisting of the negotiated full price of the property and the conditions that need to be met before realization of the sale. Since January 2007, all registered Italian real estate agents are obliged to register all preliminary contracts, whereby the cost of registration is usually paid by the purchaser. Generally the buyer is required to pay a deposit, ranging between 10% and 30% of the total sale price.
Final deed of sale (Rogito)
When all agreements have been completed, the last step is Rogito – signing a final deed of sale before a notary. Usually this professional is chosen by the buyer and recommended by the real estate agent or the attorney, working at the buyer’s side. The notary is required to read the contract in order to double check that there are no misunderstandings and the statements in it are legitimate. That is why the support of a translator or a bilingual lawyer is recommended in the case of foreign parties to the contract. Once the document’s content is read and confirmed, three copies of the contract must be signed by everyone in front of the notary. At the end, the vendor receives the remaining price amount from the buyer. The payment is often done by either an Italian bank draft or a bank transfer. The most secure way to transfer the money is through a Notary’s escrow account, which is a bonded client account (registered by Italian Law 124/2017) in which the notary is allowed to receive funds from the payment of property and hold them until it’s time to transfer them to the vendor.
The notary’s fee depends on the price of the property, but usually amounts to about 1% of the purchase price (might be higher for a low-cost property).
All-round professional knowledge about standing legislation and rules, an insider’s take on the real estate market and red tape implied. And thorough skilled expertise in handling both paperwork and people. Our team of qualified real estate agents, surveyors, architects, accountants and lawyers is ready to help you purchase property in Italy. Our assets? Proficiency, professionalism, comprehensive expertise and dedicated undivided attention.
What we can do for you is:
- offer insight on the local real estate market, facilitating contacts with real estate agencies and helping you source the right property;
- provide to due research and inspection of preliminary documents – Land Register plans, Energy rating certificates, Certificate of habitability – including supplying translations when needed and advice advise our client on their content;
- draft a due diligence and technical report itemizing our findings;
- draft a first offer and negotiate the price in case of concrete interest;
- draft and negotiate the preliminary contract and all conditions related to it;
- sign the final deed and represent our client in front of a notary public, so as to ensure that our client’s best interest is satisfied;