Once you have identified your dream home, viewed it, and decided it is the one for you, it will be imperative to first understand the legal process of buying property in Italy before you finally close the deal. The following short guide will be quite helpful in unravelling some of the legal terms and requirements involved in the process.
• The first step before you proceed with anything is to get a ‘codice fiscale’ which is basically a personal code provided by Italian Tax Office. The code is a mandatory requirement for all types of investments, contracts, or legal proceedings in the country. The code is also issued at an Italian embassy or consulate.
• You will also be required to open an account at an Italian bank.
• Once done, you can then proceed to create a formal offer or ‘proposta d’acquisto’ for the property. It confirms your interest to pay for the property. However, it is always important to engage the services of a solicitor at this point to ensure that your interests are well catered for throughout the entire process. As a matter of fact, as soon as the seller accepts your offer the formal offer turns into a legal-binding contract, and you will also be required to pay a deposit known as ‘caparra’, usually 10% of the property’s price. That deposit is legally non-refundable if you back out of the deal. But if it is the seller to back out, he will pay back to you the deposit plus an amount of money which is equal to the deposit itself.
• The deposit seals a contract known as preliminary agreement of sale (‘compromesso’ or ‘contratto preliminare di vendita’ in Italian). It is also called the ‘promessa di vendita’ which is actually a major contract setting out all the full conditions of the sale including all the necessary registry information. The signed contract must be registered within 20 days at a cost of about € 200 and a € 16 stamp duty for each page to make it a legally binding document.
Anyway, the preliminary agreement is not mandatory and the ”final contract” can be immediate.
• The next step will be to officially get the property’s title deed known as the ‘atto di compravendita’ or simply the ‘rogito’ (final contract) using the services of a notary, locally known as the ‘notaio’. He or she will validate the contracts dealing with transfer of property ownership, draft a new deed citing you as the new legal owner, and witness the closing of the deal as you hand over the final payment and receive the property’s keys from the seller. Notary fees vary from town to town and also depends on the purchase price of the property. His or her services are quite essential in closing the purchase convivially.
There are usually many variations to the property buying process but most sales usually follow this pattern in most parts of Italy. The information provided here should shed some light on what to expect as you set off to purchase your desired property in Italy.