There are 4 important documents which are obtained from the land registry office, which are all essential in the house buying process. We gather these documents from the seller of each property. If she/he isn't in possession of them, we go directly to the Land Registry Office (Ufficio del Territorio).
1) Visura Catastale
This is one of the first documents that we obtain, when we take on a new property to sell, as it tells us much of what we need to know about ownership and how a property is registered. When the document is issued from the cadastral office, it shows all the current information, on that particular day, so you know it is up-to-date information. The information noted on this document is as follows:
All the current owners of a property are shown, including their date and place of birth, their Italian tax code and the percentage of the property that they own.
The correct address of the property is recorded. The details of the comune in which the property is located is also noted.
How the property is classified
It includes the details of where and how the property has been recorded - on which page of the land registry records it appears, which parcels of land are included and how many rooms there are in total.
Each property is categorized, depending on the type and quality of the structure. There are 6 groups, A – F, which are then subdivided. For residential properties, we only need to concentrate on Group A, which shows that the house is habitable, and Group C, which relates to garages, outbuildings, storage etc.
For example, A3 is ‘tipo economico’, which is a mid-quality house, A7 is ‘villini’, a small villa. C6 is ‘Stalle, scuderie, rimesse, autorimesse’, which includes garages and stables. Only categories which start with ‘A’ mean that the property is officially habitable.
The ‘Rendita Catastale’ is a tax value given to property, calculated using various factors, such as the size of the property, the materials used, the year it was built, etc. This figure is needed to calculate the annual council tax. It is also used to find out the valore catastale of a property, which is needed to calculate purchase taxes.
Agricultural land also has a tax value, in fact it has two: reddito agrario (agricultural annuity) is the tax value used when the owner is an imprenditore agricolo (registered farmer), whilst the reddito dominicale (dominical annuity) is the tax value used for everybody else.
If there have been any changes in the classification, this is noted on the current records. Plus, if there are any special conditions or constraints on the property, they are also recorded on the Visura Catastale. For example, a person may not be the owner of a property but they have been given the permanent right to use the property as their own. This is called ‘Usufrutto’. In this case, the person with this right is named on the Visura Catastale. If the property is sold, this person also has to sign, along with the owners, at the time of the sale.
2) Planimetria Catastale
These are the official floor plans of the property. They are drawn to scale, but the individual rooms sizes are not recorded on the plans. When you buy a property in Italy, it is important that the property is the same in reality as it is on the plans. If the owner has made any structural changes to the property (either modifications or additions), then permission is needed from the Comune (council), by applying for and carrying out a project. Once the project has been completed and signed off, new plans are drawn up and registered with the cadastral office. If work is carried out without permission, and then the property is sold, the ‘problem’ is passed to the new owner. It is, therefore, very important that the floor plans are studied closely.
NB.This job is something that we carry out for our clients and if there are any discrepancies, we make sure that the seller puts them right before the property is sold.
3) Mappa Catastale
These is the official land map, for the land which belongs to the property. Land is usually divided into lots of small pots, and the land map shows all the plot numbers and sizes of each plot. It is quite common for an owner of a large piece of land not to know exactly where the borders are. As everyone knows each other and are usually friends or relatives with their neighbours, exact boundary lines aren't important amongst the local people. However, when it comes to selling, we find out exactly where the boundaries are, and these lines are marked out before the final signing date.
4) Visura Ipotecaria
This is a more in depth version of the ‘Visura Catastale’, which is obtained by the notary, before the property is sold, which shows up any mortgages, loans or any other financial constraint on the property.