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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. 

We can't say enough good things about Tracey and Vincenzo. The welcoming guidance they provided during our first day-long house search in several towns was as helpful and generous as their time and "insider insights." We've had good experiences with real estate professionals in our moves, but have never seen this level of customer service and expertise.

"Can’t thank you enough for all your help. We are now Italian house owners! The people have all been so friendly and we are looking forward to getting know our new neighbours and coming back to see you. Arriverderci, but not for long!"

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 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.

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 had a very large and unusual property and Tracey and colleagues did a great job selling it, they managed to find a buyer who loves our house and village. They were helpful and accommodating from the beginning, through to the final act.

“Tracey, who works with a reliable Abruzzo estate agent through whom we purchased our property, was so incredibly helpful in guiding us through the bureacracy of Italian property purchase: in her safe hands, we didn't encounter any problems, and it all seemed straightforward. And now she is providing an excellent property management service: totally flexible, reliable, and not expensive: it just takes away all those little worries that you inevitably have when you're not actually there. It is so useful when someone knows a trustworthy builder, plumber or carpenter. We consider ourselves so fortunate.

We find few people in the UK have even heard of Abruzzo, let alone know where it is in Italy! It is simply glorious, it is "real" Italy, still (thank goodness) undeveloped, un-touristy and cheap. If you have children, like us, they are loved and spoiled. Go to Abruzzo, and see for yourselves! Tracey will give you the warmest welcome.”

We have moved from the USA to Montefino in the Province of Teramo, Abruzzo, Italy. By shear luck we googled Abruzzo properties and found Abruzzo Reality and Tracey! She and her colleagues were the most accommodating team that we could have asked for. Tracey speaks both fluent Italian and English so there has been no concern for a misunderstanding in translation. We incurred some daunting trials while acquiring our Elective Visas and Tracey went above and beyond the call of duty to assist us. If you are in the market for a home in Abruzzo, Abruzzo Reality is a must!

After searching for 3.5 years and meetings with many brokers, we can safely say to have some experience. The meeting with Tracey and Vincenzo felt right from the first moment. The combination of Italian (Vincenzo) and English / Italian (Tracey) works very well. They have an extensive network, convenient from the first moment to the after sales care. The casual and friendly way of doing business is nice. The contacts are fast. Questions by email are quickly picked up and answered. They have the necessary knowledge and can inform you about all the things needed for the purchase and / or establishment in Abruzzo. If you are looking for a broker that works reliably and fast, you've come to the right place.

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 were extremely happy with the professional service provided by Tracey when selling our house in Abruzzo. Tracey was very efficient, responsive and provided a high quality and reliable service, as well as being a sincere person.

Tracey always kept us well informed through every step of the selling process. It is worth noting that Tracey was also prepared to put in the extra work, even driving 2 hours each way, because through her experience she knew that our property would match her client's requirements. We are very pleased Tracey put in the time and effort to sell our property as she was then able to match it to the buyer's requirement the outcome being it was sold to the first family who viewed it. I would definitely recommend Tracey who is a professional breath of fresh air, compared to the indifference showed by some other agencies (especially when selling).

From start to finish, Tracey and the Abruzzo Reality team are there to help. With finding the correct home with in the correct budget, to offering advice as to which is a good buy and which not so much. Need work done, they have contacts to help. Need a mortgage, they have contacts that can help with that to. The service doesn't stop with the purchase of a home either. Any care, guidance, or other assistance after the home purchase, Tracey can help. Being that English is her first language, this all makes a complicated process, that much easier. I can't say enough about the level of service received by Abruzzo Reality.

We would like to say a huge thank you for all of your help and support in helping us buy our dream home here in Italy; you walked us through every step of the way.

The service you and Abruzzo Reality provide is first class as well as your ongoing after sales service. It is hard to believe we’ve been living here for over four years now and not being fluent in Italian, it’s still great to know you are always there whenever we need your help and support. We know we can rely on you and you always have a friendly, professional approach, so we’ve always felt secure in dealing with someone who speaks the same language. That is a really important factor, especially when buying a property abroad. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you to anyone.

Once again a very special thank you, Tracey, we both know we couldn’t have done it without you!

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…

I cannot rate Abruzzo Reality highly enough. We were very fussy buyers!! We had a long list of things that we wanted from a house and we were beginning to think we would not find what we were looking for. It can be quite disappointing seeing what looks like a lovely property on the internet and then travelling all the way to Italy to find its next door to a factory!!
Vincenzo and Tracey however, took on board our requirements and showed us only properties that fitted the criteria we asked for. They were professional and their local knowledge of the area was invaluable. It was also nice to see that the sellers thought highly of them too.
They found us the property we eventually bought and convinced us to look at it even though we thought it might not be for us from the photos. They were right.
They guided us through the buying process and helped us every step of the way, always prompt with responses to our queries. The help did not stop after we signed the papers, they helped with bills, finding us local suppliers and services and even now help us if we have a problem or need to know where to find something.
I would highly recommend them to anyone thinking of buying in this area, with Tracey speaking English and Vincenzo’s local knowledge they make a great team.

"We cannot sing the praises of Tracey sufficiently highly. She has taken all of the worry out of the house purchasing process in Italy. She has been trustworthy, thorough and reliable throughout. Tracey is a gentle, intuitive translator, active project manager and industrious agent. We have made significant savings by entrusting the whole process to Tracey. Without having the confidence to make this leap of faith we could never have operated so effectively, or economically from so great a distance.

The inevitable unfamiliarity with the Italian property house buying market proved potentially daunting. Informed advice is crucial and is provided in abundance."

From the word go we were impressed by Tracey's professionalism. She focused on exactly the type of property we wanted, not what she had to sell. Tracey spent a lot of time with us and offered much practical advice and we secured a perfect house meeting all our requirements. In addition, Tracey provided all the necessary information on Italian property law and much else besides about local issues. The whole process moved very smoothly to completion with Tracey and her colleagues always there to clarify any issues. A first class operation.

“Thank you, Tracey for all your help with our house buying experience. You gave us support right through the process, from making our first visit to some potential properties to being with us at the final signing, and this was much appreciated. We feel that we have made the right choice of property to suit our needs and we really couldn’t have asked for a more pain-free process, which was mainly down to the way you kept in touch with us and sorted things out to help us. We feel that, for you and our estate agent, nothing was too much trouble and you went the extra mile on our behalf. We’d strongly recommend you to anyone else who is thinking of buying their dream home in Abruzzo. “

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.

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!

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