That’s right. Your Italian real estate agent is your partner. Buying a home in Italy is a huge and massively exciting step. Your first step will probably be falling in love with Italy. And falling in love is easy! The next part is where the work starts.

Make sure your very first contact with your real estate agent is an extremely clear one. Are you ready to define what you are looking for in terms of size, home type, how much you are prepared to renovate a property? A garden, a pool, a place to set up a home football pitch? Proximity to schools, shops, public transport, medical facilities, an airport, a beach, a sports stadium? What is vital to you and what you can compromise on?

And of course location is important. Italy is a long, thin country with lots of mountains in the middle, extensive coastal areas, a few flat grassy plains, several large-ish cities, thousands and thousands of villages. Each type of location is very different from the other; make sure you know which would best suit your needs.

Photo from archer10 (Dennis)

Once you are decided on these points, your real estate agent can begin to show you some properties that are highly coherent with your requirements.

The next stage requires a little helping hand from him or her. Most agents will include additional services in their fee, but others will not. Then make sure you know exactly what is included and what is not in your specific arrangement.
These services may include diverse aspects of the property purchase process:

1. Obtaining an Italian tax code (codice fiscale) issued by the Italian tax authority (Agenzia delle Entrate), which is required to purchase a property.

2. Opening a current account with an Italian bank, which is required before signing the definitive sales document (rogito).

3. Drawing up of the preliminary sale contract (compromesso or preliminare di vendita), in two languages if necessary, by a lawyer.

4. Screening of the property with the land registries and fiscal authorities to ensure that there are no impediments to the sale (and that there is no reason why the property might be seized by law enforcement agencies). It would probably be best if a surveyor checks out the property structurally too to make sure that it is sound or at least as described.

5. Finding a notary (notaio – a public official able to represent the state) to transcribe and register, as per legal requirements, the definitive contract (rogito) in order to effectively take ownership of the property.

It is therefore fundamental to select a real estate agent not only with regards their assistance in helping you find your dream home, but also on the basis of their ability to provide the support and services you will need once you have found it. So ask. Ask directly which (if any) services carry additional costs, and what those costs are exactly. Ensure that you choose the agent that best fits with your requirements.

Furthermore, for an extra fee, many agents will help you get a renovation estimate and even help you find a trustworthy local contractor to undertake the building works. Lots of things to do, in a a foreign language in a foreign country and your real estate agent is usually able help you out with a load of extra issues at no extra cost.

Also, if you can’t travel to Italy there are other services that some agencies could provide you remotely like virtual tours, or if you prefer in some cases your agent will walk through the house for you with a cell phone, using apps such as FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or another video chat service, showing you the house one-on-one. Also they could manage dealings on your behalf through the Power of Attorney (PoA).

Make your agent your partner for a successful deal.