We’ve recently interviewed Manlio Gervasi, attorney at c_legal, a boutique law firm specialized in real estate and administrative law, to answer some of the most frequently asked legal questions about buying property in Italy as a non-Italian. We’re sure you’ll find very helpful information.
Can foreigners buy property in Italy?
“EU citizens can buy real estate property in Italy without any restrictions. The same we cannot say for non-EU citizens. In this latter case, we should verify if the condition of reciprocity between the law of Italy and the law of the State of the buyer applies. This is an international principle recognized worldwide on which a State (ex. Italy) accepts the same treatment of an Italian citizen in another State on the base of the ‘principle of reciprocity’. Normally, before any decision of real estate investment in Italy, a non-European citizen can verify this condition on the web site of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or seek the assistance of an international real estate lawyer.”
Can one buy a property in Italy while abroad?
Can one go through the process from abroad and buy a house in Italy without being physically there? What if you find a property and place an offer but then you’re not able to come and close deed in person?
“This is especially true now because of Covid. But sure, if you are not in Italy you can purchase a property in the country even if you’re not here through the granted of a Power of Attorney (PoA) which is a very common practice for remote transactions.
If a buyer needs a legal representative who manages dealings on their behalf in Italy, the Power of Attorney is the perfect solution.
With it, a professional works regularly on behalf of a buyer(s) who, for any reason, cannot participate in the contractual agreement or stipulation phases.
A Power of Attorney (PoA) gives someone else − an Italian attorney or any other trusted individual − the capacity to legally represent the buyer in one or more undertakings, including the purchase of a property in Italy.
If granted the lawyer has the power to do all the activities on the behalf and interest of the client, from the preliminary phase until the closing with the key of the property in their hand.
It contains advanced provisions that fully protect any transaction, choosing when it takes effect and which powers/authority to be granted.
The only condition is that the PoA, if granted abroad, shall be legally binding and enforceable in Italy and/or if granted in Italy, legally verified by a Notary or real estate lawyer.
The best solution is that the buyer shall ask an international real estate lawyer used to practice with foreign transactions. So our advice is always to grant the PoA to a professional to represent foreign buyers.”
How long does the purchase process take in Italy?
“The purchase process depends on when the buyer and seller reach the agreement on the price of the property. The process is longer when there are many documents to collect and to check during the due diligence.
The due diligence is really recommended before reach the compromise with the seller. The buyer should verify the legal condition of the property in order to avoid future problems and unpleasant situations or waste time and money.
If the buyer hires a real estate lawyer or professional the purchase process should be quick and fast.
In my personal experience, we closed deals between 3-9 months but it depends on the real estate property and problems that could arise during the due diligence and negotiation.”
[Written in collaboration with the Italian attorney Manlio Gervasi from C_legal]