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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 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!"

From the moment we began working with Tracey, we knew we had found someone extraordinary that would make our house-buying experience as smooth as it possibly could be, considering we were interested in buying a house on a different continent, in a country where we didn’t speak the language. Her warm personality and amazing work ethic, when combined with her knowledge of the Abruzzo region, make her simply the perfect realtor to work with when buying a home there. We had countless questions for her throughout the process, for which she provided answers via e-mail or telephone almost immediately, regardless of time zone differences. There were also many challenges with the bank that provided our home loan that Tracey resolved through perseverance and 100% dedication to our best interests. When we met her in person, our initial impression was solidly reinforced; we instantly felt at ease with her, as if she was part of our new family abroad. We honestly don’t know if we could have succeeded in buying our dream home in Italy without her, and continue to depend on her and trust her fully with other business opportunities to this day. We couldn’t be more pleased with her work. We also cannot say GRAZIE MILLE enough to our dear friend Tracey Nicholas for making all of it possible, and for making it a fantastic experience!!

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 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!

"Having decided emphatically that Abruzzo would be our holiday home location, we visited at Easter to look for our dream home. We met many agents but not one of them inspired us with trust in the manner in which Tracey did. We were led patiently through the house hunting process; initially via the “net” in England and then on the ground in Abruzzo.

Every detail of this potentially difficult process was taken seriously and sensitively. We were kept up to speed by being fed every morsel of information electronically as the deal unfolded whilst we were back home in England. The establishment of our ‘codice fiscale’ and Italian bank account were all facilitated for us. We came back to Italy to complete the purchase, just six weeks from first sight to completion."

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.

After deciding for ourselves that the region Abruzzo was for us the place in Italy to look for a vacation home, we came in contact with Tracey. Right from the start the contact was good and comfortable.  We never felt there was a main focus on the business side, or that we were being pushed in a direction we did not want to go.  Instead we always felt that it was up to us what kind of properties we wanted to view.  That Tracey had understood what our wishes were regarding the property and the location, became very clear when we were asked if we wanted to view a "mystery" property and fell for it right away.  It forfilled all the wishes we had for a property in Italy!

During the entire process, from start to end, we have always felt that Tracey was there to support us.  It was a very good feeling to know that a person with good knowledge of the Italian way of doing business was there to support us by doing the necessary paperwork or translation work.  Based on our own experience , we highly recommend working with Tracey Nicholas.

“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.”

While searching for our dream house in Italy, we “shortlisted” a long list of about 30 houses in various parts of Abruzzo. More than half of the houses were from Abruzzo Reality, as Tracey was one of the few real estate agents that responded to us, and promptly too. We met different real estate agents during our house-hunting trip. Tracey and Vincenzo stood out as they patiently listened to our requirements (and we were rather fussy about what we wanted!) and brought us to see the different houses. We read about the Daunting process of buying a house in Italy and different websites tell you different things. We were glad we could leave everything to Tracey and Vincenzo! They made the whole process so much easier as we had to go back to work and could not travel to Italy as often as we would have liked. After signing for our dream house, Tracey and Manolo (the do-it-all handyman) helped us with everything from cleaning the house, dealing with the utility company, to getting the house painted. We really appreciate their help!

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.

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 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.

"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."

"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!"

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.

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.

After living 8 years in Abruzzo, Italy, we felt it was time for another change in our lives and we put our house on the market. Within a year we sold it through Tracey and her colleague Vincenzo. We are very pleased with the way the sales process has gone. Tracey and Vincenzo offered help and gave advise wherever needed.
Currently, we have to make the latest changes by name at a view Italian utility companies and we are pleased to have the help of Tracey for realizing that. So we are very satisfied with the work of Tracey and Vincenzo. Thank you both!

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.

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 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!

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