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The main stages of Property Purchase (Compravendità) in Italy are the initial purchase offer (Proposta d’Acquisto), the preliminary contract of sale (Compromesso), and the notarized final act of sale (Rogito Notarile).  This article explains how the process works.

1. PURCHASE OFFER (Proposta d’Acquisto)

The first step after finding your ideal house is to make a purchase offer.  Initially, this is usually done verbally.  We discuss your offer price with the seller and after a bit of negotiation, hopefully your offer will be accepted.  Then, we complete the appropriate written offer document, incorporating all your conditions relating to the sale, which we ask you to sign. If you have already returned home, it is not a problem, as this stage can be carried out by email. Once the seller has also signed the document, we ask you to pay a small deposit, usually around 5% of the purchase price, which can be paid by bank transfer.

If the seller accepts your conditions (written acceptance), the parties will be bound to complete the sale as it has been established in the proposal. The seller receives your money, and this becomes your deposit on the property.

NOTES:

  • If you pull out of the sale after your offer has been accepted, you will lose your deposit. If the seller pulls out of the sale, he must refund your deposit.
  • When you make your offer to the seller, you must also decide on the dates by when you would like to sign the preliminary and final contracts. These dates are seen as deadlines, but you can sign anytime beforehand, as long as it is agreed by the seller.

2. PRELIMINARY CONTRACT OF SALE (Compromesso)

The compromesso is an agreement where both parties promise to conclude a future contract (notarial deed) and in which they record and expand upon all the terms of the proposed purchase.

In the compromesso the following information must be clearly stated - the identities of both parties, the features and cadastral data of the property, the cost and method of payments, and the date by which both parties agree to sign the final act (when the property officially becomes your own).

It must also be stated that the house will be sold without any outstanding debts, encumbrances or mortgages and is completely in order with town planning regulations.

A further payment (caparra) is made to the seller, usually around 20% of the total purchase price (including the deposit already paid).

NOTES:

  • By this stage, you need an Italian tax code (codice fiscale) which can be obtained from any tax office in Italy or from your Italian Embassy.  We can apply for your tax code, on your behalf. 
  • If the seller pulls out of the sale after this stage, he must refund your money and pay you the same amount again, as a penalty. 
  • The estate agency fee is due to be paid when the compromesso has been signed. The estate agent fee is usually around 3% of the purchase price + VAT.
  • It is a good idea to open an Italian bank account at this stage, in preparation for the final act.  We will help you with this. 
  • This stage can be carried out via email.

3. NOTARIAL DEED (Rogito Notarile)

The notarial deed is the FINAL ACT of the sale and is signed before a public notary (notaio) and the interested parties (seller and buyer).

Before the signing, the notary performs all the relevant checks on the property (land registry searches, legal and mortgage checks, etc.) He draws up the act which is signed in his presence and then he lodges the necessary taxes and registers the title deeds with the land registry, making the property officially yours.

If you are taking out a mortgage, you will sign a separate act for the mortgage at this time, and the notary will record your bank as your mortgage lender.

At the time of the signing, you also pay the balance on the price of the property, the notary fee and the related taxes.

NOTARY FEES

Notary fees vary, usually it is around 1.5% - 2% of the purchase price, but it is always advisable to request a quote. However, as an example, for a house costing €100,000, you can expect to pay around €1,500 - €2,000 (including VAT) to the notary. If you are taking out a mortgage, you have to sign 2 separate documents, so the cost will be around double.

TAXES

Below is a table of taxes currently payable on the purchase of a property:

 

Seller  Tax  Primary Residence  Secondary Residence 
 
Purchase from
a private seller
 
Registration Tax  2% of cadastral value * 9% of cadastral value 
Local Tax  €50   €50 
Stamp Duty  €50 €50 
 
Purchase from
a developer or
constructor (within
5 years of 
completion).
VAT  4% of purchase price
10% of purchase 
price **
Registration Tax  €200   €200  
Local Tax  €200  €200
Stamp Duty  €200 €200

 

* there is a minimum fee of €1,000 when paying the 2% tax on a primary residence. If the property is classed as a 'luxury home', the tax is 9%, not 2%.
** if the property is classed a 'luxury home', the tax is 20%, not 10%.

THE NOTARY

The notary is chosen by the buyer, however he is an impartial public official. He cannot act in the interest of one party, to the detriment of the other. Having one official, rather than 2 opposing solicitors, makes the process simpler than in other countries and also saves money. The notary ensures the validity and effectiveness of the act. He checks that the property is legally owned by the seller, that there are no outstanding debts and he carries out all the safeguards to protect the interests of both parties.  He calculates and collects the purchase taxes. His work is guaranteed, so if he makes an error, he must reimburse you for any losses that you incur.

NOTES:

  • If the contract is between 2 private individuals, the law states that the deeds must state the actual price paid for the property. However, for tax puposes, the figures can by calculated using the cadastral value (valore catastale), which is a figure decided by the land registration office and is usually a lot lower than the purchase price.
  • If the buyer is unable to read Italian, the documents must be translated into your language, or a trusted person can be given Power of Attorney (Procura) to sign on your behalf.  The fee for the translation (usually around 500 euros) is paid for by the buyer. 
  • In order to buy a property as your primary residence, to qualify for the lower tax value, you must obtain Italian residency within 18 months of signing the final act.
  • On 1/7/2009, a new law came into force requiring an energy performance certificate (ACE) to be attached to the notarial deed. It is issued by a qualified technician, and it is the seller's responsibility to organise this.

A NOTE FROM US

Buying a house in Italy may seem very complicated and bureaucratic, but it is usually straightforward and can be relatively swift. The process also has certain safety nets for the buyer, which aren’t present in the English system. We will help you at each stage and ensure that you are ready to proceed to the next step.

If you have any questions about the process, please contact us: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Tracey has made the selling of our Abruzzese property painless. She has coped with all the bureaucracy for us, and made a potentially very stressful time, into a positive experience. If only all house buying was that simple; much more certain and secure than in the UK. Many thanks.

Tracey made buying a property in Abruzzo a quicker and easier process than buying property in the UK. We viewed in July and moved in November. She arranged appropriate viewings and was prepared to drive us to several properties with return visits when required. We stopped occasionally for coffee and pizza and a chat about the steps necessary, to make sure everything was done legally and ensure our peace of mind. Tracey is an invaluable link between non- Italian speakers and the authorities involved in buying here. She arranged Codice Fiscale's, bank accounts, money transfers, notaio's, geometra's etc and also arranged work we wanted done at the house before we moved in. She even personally cleaned the house before we moved in and bought us the essentials of at least wine to see us through the first night after a long drive from North Wales. Most communications were via email, always prompt, truthful and courteous. After we had moved in and during that very unsure period she was available by phone or email to help and support us when dealing with utility companies, Sky TV and practically anything we asked of her. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend using the friendly and professional services of Abruzzo Reality.

Finding a house in Italy was no easy task as we had no idea of an area to choose, let alone a town or city!  After searching for a few months and following a couple of visits, we came across Tracey and Vincenzo through another agency we were viewing with, and after a very short space of time, we switched agencies. Lo and behold, they found us the perfect place to live! Tracey listened to our criteria completely and some of the things we were asking for weren’t easy to come by in the city we chose - Penne - but after searching on our behalf, we have now taken possession of our beautiful new Italian apartment!  Tracey and Vincenzo organised all the legal work for us too, so all we needed to do was to arrive at the Notary office and sign a few documents. It was so easy and totally stress free!  We kept in contact with Abruzzo Reality the whole time - asking questions, raising silly points about Italian life and legalise, and each time Tracey was able to assure us that there would be no problems - and she was right!  We are back in the UK at the moment but heading out in September when her after sales Manager, Manolo, will be taking control of helping set up bank accounts in Italy together with going through all the documentation that is needed to set up payments for the apartment utilities.  We thoroughly recommend Abruzzo Reality - the service has been second to none - and we are hoping that the journey we travelled together to find our new home has made us firm friends for the future when we are living there.

We do not know where we would be if it weren't for the assistance provided by Tracey. She made every step of the buying process effortless as well as assistance above and beyond the actual purchase. Everything was explained in detail and their knowledge of the area, details and contacts were invaluable. She is an asset to the continued management of our property and have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone contemplating buying or selling property in Abruzzo.

After struggling to buy a house in Abruzzo for over a year, Abruzzo Reality made it happen for us. They turned out to be very helpful in ensuring we did not have any surprises and easing the, sometimes, arduous process of buying a house. They really pushed the boat out; sorting out difficulties with land boundaries and in particular, after purchase, they were very helpful in introducing us to a wide range of local craftsmen and builders to ensure we had a choice of who refurbished the property. We couldn't have asked for more, they supported us all along the way and were transparent and straightforward in all the negotiations. We would have likely given up long ago if it were not for their support!

We entered into the Italian property market on a bit of a whim and with little knowledge. Tracey immediately impressed us by the responsive way she answered our initial queries and provided us with really helpful advice on geographical areas to consider. We booked a couple of long weekends in Abruzzo and Tracey could not do enough for us in organising viewings and ferrying us from house to house. Tracey was accompanied by Vincenzo who originates from Abruzzo and together they make an impressive and knowledgeable Anglo-Italian partnership. They were always realistic about the merits and weaknesses of each property and we never felt under any pressure from either of them at any time. They clearly just wanted to find the right property for us and approached this with great integrity and dedication. We learned a lot about Abruzzo from them and did eventually find a wonderful property, completing the sale in May 2016. Tracey held our hand throughout the process, arranging the survey and the notary and responding immediately to any issues whenever they arose. This high quality attentive service did not stop once we had taken possession of the property and Tracey continued to help out with organising energy supplies and fuel bills.

We would now regard Vincenzo and Tracey as our first Abruzzo friends. We often had meals together during our house hunting and we now take every opportunity to catch up with them when we return to the holiday home they found for us. We feel very lucky we stumbled on Abruzzo Reality!

We are 2 Danish families who recently has bought a house in Abruzzo. We have been very satisfied with Tracey and Abruzzoreality from the first day.  All our emails were answered in a quick and positive way and all our questions has been replied professionally and accommodating.  All our arrangements has been observed and we consider Tracey and her company very reliable.  No task is too big and none too small. Tracey is at the moment helping us buying furniture in Ikea and has bought 4 padlocks and made sure, that our house was securely locked.

I and my husband were thinking about buying a house or an apartment in Italy. Last October we visited a fair for Homes Abroad in Helsinki, Finland and afterwards we waited that one of the agency’s would contact us about the apartments.  Then, while we were on vacation at Christmas, we found in internet one apartment which was very interested. So, we contacted AbruzzoReality and Tracey. She answered very quickly and was very helpful. In the beginning of January we were visiting this apartment in Italy. The apartment was just that we were looking for. Because of Tracey, everything happened very quickly, in the 1st of February we could say: We own a part of Italy! Happy, happy, happy…
P.S. Finally the Finnish agency offered the same apartment for us but for much more expensive price…

Buying a house in Italy has been an almost life long dream for us and was one that we never expected to come true. We decided that we might be able to buy in April as a result of the very favourable exchange rate and we immediately found Abruzzo Reality and a number of houses we were interested in. I started bombarding Tracey with daily, and sometimes more frequent, e-mails to get more information about properties and about the process generally and she was fantastic. She responded promptly every time and really seemed to enter into our excitement about the project. She gave us excellent advise about some of the properties which had appeared ideal on the web but which clearly were not going to meet our ideals. We went out to Abruzzo in July and met Tracey and Vincenzo as we visited our three chosen properties. They negotiated a fantastic deal for us on our perfect property and saw us through everything that followed; Tracey could not have been more helpful or supportive. We completed our purchase as planned on November 9th after a last minute hiccup, when the notary had to cancel our appointment at short notice. Tracey provided a lot of psychological support and Vincenzo rang round virtually every notary in Abruzzo to find one who could see us that day, as our plans and those of our vendors were completely dependant on that date. Tracey is now our property manager and I have complete confidence that under her expert guidance, all will continue to run smoothly for us in Abruzzo. Our dream has totally come true and for that we owe a huge debt to Tracey and Vincenzo for their expert support and guidance in helping us to achieve that dream.

"We cannot thank you enough for all the help you have given us in becoming Italian real estate owners! That lovely house is something one only dreams of!"

After having our apartment up for sale for a couple of years with no result, we were recommended to contact Tracey by friends, as she had helped with their sale. We cannot thank and praise her enough as she instantly went into action to advertise and find us a buyer. The whole process was completed quickly and professionally and what we thought would be a complete headache went very smoothly. Tracey dealt with the whole process from viewings, booking the Notary and arranging to have all the utility bills transferred in to the new owners names. We would like to thank the whole team for their excellent service.

Property transactions are invariably by their very nature stress inducing, especially when involving an unfamiliar language and legal system. Complete trust in any company chosen for marketing and conveyancing is paramount and it was clear to me from my first conversation with Tracey that I had at last found the person I'd been looking for.

The sale of my property involved a particularly challenging problem which on several occasions appeared almost impossible to resolve. Tracey however is a person who inspires confidence almost as though failure is not an option and I have no doubt that without her skill and involvement the house would still be for sale and likely to stay that way.

From my personal experience of property ownership in Abruzzo I believe the service this company provides is unique and only wish that I'd found such an agency in 2004 when I first dipped my toes into Italian living.

Buying property in a foreign country can be intimidating without a trusted guide. Tracey is that person. We have worked with her since 2010. She helped us buy our first home in Abruzzo, and when it became to small, sold it for us and helped us buy a larger one. She also cares for our property and manages the necessary paperwork in our absence for very reasonable fees. She is high energy and clearly enjoys what she does, but what most impresses us is how she continually goes above and beyond what a normal estate agent would do to help with the many small things -- even those not directly property related. If you are looking to buy in Abruzzo, you can rely on Tracey to provide you honest service, good advice, and service long after the sale.

For some time we were looking for a nice place to call our own in Italy, where we could have a relaxing time in between the rush of daily life, but could also rent during the high season. Looking over countless internet pages and visiting real estate sites we came across the site of "abruzzoreality.com". We couldn't have been more lucky.

From the start we had all the help that a 'stranger in paradise' could wish.

Together with Tracey we browsed the practically the whole of north Abruzzo for something suitable that had to be not only comfortable but also had to be fitting within our budget.

Because we were in the Netherlands, she visited several properties for us and came up with an extreme good property in Mosciano Sant'Angelo at the end of May. From that moment everything went in a current. Tracey and colleagues did literally everything for us. They took care of all the paperwork and she was our tower of strength during this hectic period. In only a few weeks we had to go to Italy to get everything straightened out and a few weeks later we could sign the contract. I'm sure that with our lack of knowledge about the Italian language and bureaucracy, we would have never done it in such a short period with such a fantastic result.

Our sincere compliments to Tracey for all her effort in helping us to obtain our apartment. Abruzzo Reality really put people before quick profits.

Thank you guys!

We were looking at houses in Abruzzo for quite some time as we were quite fussy on what we wanted and it had to be within a specific budget. Apart from this, our requirements changed a lot over the period we were looking at houses. Despite this we have to say Tracey and colleagues were always there to help out, and even show us a few house we insisted on seeing when they knew quite well they were not suitable for us. The house we eventually purchased was one they brought to our attention, when they did we named it the "prison house", which shows how impressed we were, and of course how wrong! During the purchase and since (now 4 years on) Tracey has helped us (and still does) not only sort out our problems and get jobs done, but also provide great guidance and encouragement to do things ourselves.

We bought our house via Abruzzo Reality a couple of years ago. We contacted them via internet and went to Abruzzo to have a look at several houses that were available at that moment. Tracey organised the trip to the different houses and yes...We fell in love with one particular house. From that moment on, Tracey took care of everything for us to be able to buy the house. Even now, when bills have to be paid, when meetings have to be organised and other problems have to be solved, she takes care of it. She took care of finding a gardener, someone to take care of the pool, etc...
In other words, she's taking care of everything when we aren't there and we know we can rely on her. Keep up the good work, Tracey! Thanks for helping us!

We cannot speak highly enough of our experience when dealing with Tracey Nicholas of Abruzzo Reality.  She made the whole selling process so simple and straightforward, and this was dealing with two customers who didn’t speak a word of Italian!  She answered every email promptly, was honest and fair and we had total faith in her from the beginning, and our trust was rewarded.  The viewing of our property, to the completion with the notary, all took place in under a month, thanks to her organisation.  We were kept fully informed at every stage, from receiving initial deposits to advising when to book our flights.  What we expected to be a complicated and nerve wracking experience actually turned out to be very enjoyable, thanks to her.  We recommended her to friends of ours, and they had exactly the same experience as us, and even said she did more than was expected to help them after their sale was completed, assisting them with the bank and transfers.  We would be happy to act as referees for anyone thinking of buying or selling with Tracey, we are totally confident you would be as pleased as we were if you used her as your agent.

In our search for houses in Abruzzo we came across several kind and helpful people in the various real estate agencies. However, from the very beginning Tracey has given us kind, informative and immediate responses to all our questions. So, when we met Tracey at our first trip to Abruzzo there was no doubt in our mind to chose her and Abruzzo Reality to help us.

Tracey has been guiding us from the first step of the Italian buying process until we finally received the keys to the house. And we are convinced that Tracey will ensure that the process of renovating the house will be as smooth as possible. Thank you.

To move, buy a house and live in another country with all its bureaucracy, customs and language barriers is quite a daunting, if not exciting, prospect at the best of times. To do so, when you are doing it alone can be frightening to say the least.

Tracey made it more of an exciting adventure, without the down side, in a friendly and trustworthy manner. I am extremely grateful to her and her colleagues, and they are still here, helping to smooth out the edges long after I purchased the house of my dreams. I consider them as friends.

Tracey also found me a companion, a beautiful and loving dog who is always by my side :) Thanks for all Tracey.

"Tracey, you have been so very helpful with looking for a holiday place for us to buy. Without your help and translating there is no way we could have done it. We are very grateful, very many thanks."

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