Italy: Buying A Property In Italy – Essential Information

Many frequent visitors to Italy decide that they would like to take a step further and buy their own property in Italy.   They enjoy the culture and cuisine as well as the climate.  Buying a house in Italy need not be stressful or difficult with the right professional advisors by your side.  As may be expected there are differences in the process of property purchase in Italy compared with other countries and it is wise to be aware of those differences in the procedure before you start out.  Our experienced multi-lingual lawyers at Giambrone can guide you through the process ensuring that your experience will be as straightforward as possible. 

Both EU and non-EU citizens have the right to buy property in Italy and with the appropriate visa you can legally reside in the property.  However if you do not hold the right to residency in Italy you can still visit for a period of time each year providing that there is a reciprocal arrangement with your country of origin.

One significant difference in buying in Italy is that property purchase in Italy for a foreign person is undertaken with the assistance of a notary.  If you cannot speak Italian or your Italian is fine for everyday life but not quite at a level for the interpretation of legal documents you can request that the deed is drafted into your language.  The notary must be capable in the specific language of the translation; you can also request the assistance of an interpreter for the translation of the Italian contract. 

The orders of events for property purchase in Italy are as follows:

  • The first contract, the preliminary contract, is signed by you together with the seller.
  • The price of the property, the timings of the sale, the deposit and details relating to the property are all clearly defined.
  • It should be noted that the Agreement is binding for both parties.  If you decide, for whatever reason, that you do not wish to proceed with the purchase after this step the seller is entitled to keep the deposit.
  • Should the seller not wish to proceed with the sale, in that event, he or she will have to pay double the amount of the deposit to you.
  • The sale deed, called the "rogito", is signed by both parties in the presence of the notary and witnesses.
  • The deed is then must be taken to the Revenue Agency and registered within the public registry by the notary, who will then proceed to the cadastral transfer.
  • The property is transferred through a deed which is recorded at the appropriate Ufficio del Territorio , depending on the area where the property is located. 

Throughout all the steps of the property purchase the support of an experienced property lawyer is crucial to look after your interests.

The purchase of a property from a private individual is subject to a variety of fees and charges: the registration charge, mortgage registration fee and the Land Register fee.   The charges vary depending on whether tax-breaks for the purchase of the first house apply.  The charges also vary if the property is purchased from a property construction company.

Once you own your Italian property it is essential that the tax liabilities which attach to an Italian residence are dealt with promptly.  The tax responsibilities for property owners in Italy are very different from those in the UK.  A buyer should be aware that in some cases, certain taxes can only be paid via an Italian bank account.  The tax regulations change frequently and there is no room for error and the penalties are costly.  It is strongly recommended that you keep an experienced legal advisors by your side that are familiar with the complexities of the tax regime who are capable of taking the burden from your shoulders, at least in the initial stages, to ensure that you do not inadvertently breach the regulations, so that you can enjoy your new purchase without any worries or concerns.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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