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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.
  • 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 first fell in love with Abruzzo when visiting friends in the summer of 2017. On return from our visit we began searching for a property. We spent many hours trawling through properties and estate agents on the internet!  Abruzzo Reality came highly recommended by some close personal friends.
In April 2018 we were back in Abruzzo looking at properties with Tracey and Vincenzo. They were both very friendly and knowledgeable.
Having looked at a number of properties in Loreto Aprutino, Collecorvino and Penne, we found a perfect little house in Penne. Vincenzo and Tracey offered impartial advice which was pivotal in helping us chose our property in Penne. This included their assessment of the property value and the potential for holiday letting. Tracey and Vincenzo organised all aspects of the legal process including Codice Fiscale and the official transaction with the notary, which was very quick!
Throughout the whole process from beginning to end Tracey was able to offer advice and guidance. She dealt with all our queries no matter how trivial.
We are continuing to rely on Tracey when we require property management services.
Buying a house can be a stressful experience, even more so in a foreign country, but we can say without reservation that the whole process from beginning to end has been stress free.
Tracey, Vincenzo and Manolo are all very approachable and helpful we are very grateful for their assistance in making our dream of owning a house in Abruzzo a reality.

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…

Our experience with Tracey Nicholas was professional and personable from the beginning of our purchase to closing. She guided us through the unfamiliar process of buying a home in Italy. She made what could of been an impossibility difficult process, understandable and comfortable. She and her staff were attentive to everything we required. It allowed my husband and I to focus on the joy and excitement of becoming owners in the fantastic Abruzzo area. I would recommend if you are purchasing in Abruzzo to use Tracey.

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.

My wife and I were dreaming about a house in Italy for years. After years of searching in Piemonte we moved our focus to Abruzzo. By luck we came in contact with Abruzzo Reality and started our search. Three holidays in a row, we flew to Pescara and toured around with Vincenzo en Tracey while they started to get to know us better and they discovered what we were looking for.  After about a year of looking, Tracey mailed us that she had the perfect house for us. She couldn’t have been more right. Now we found the house, there was the process of purchasing it. Luckily, Tracey knew the Italian formalities to be executed. We use our house as a holiday rental house during the summer. Without Tracey we could not have been able to organise this: she helps us with the laundry, the cleaning, the welcoming of the guests, and any issues that occur. It’s a comforting thought that she is so trustworthy. We are now enjoying our house and the fantastic region of Abruzzo.

Abruzzo Reality, what a brilliant team! We found them on the internet when searching for a property to buy in Abruzzo. The site is very easy to navigate, with good information, photos and detail of locations. We requested details of some properties and Tracey responded immediately, asking what our requirements were. We were very impressed with Tracey's complete honesty as to whether the properties would be suitable for us or not. The viewings were arranged and we found our property. With Tracey's guidance and input, answering our numerous queries, the whole process was completed in 2 months and we are now living here permanently. It all went seamlessly.
The Abruzzo Reality team do not stop at completion but continue to provide support, assisting us in opening a bank account, getting residency and arranging transfer of all the utilities, to us. They are always there to provide advice and assistance. We feel very lucky to have found them and if you are looking to buy in Abruzzo, put Abruzzo Reality top of your list.

“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.”

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.
Tracey has always been very helpful, supportive and trustworthy. She helped us with liaising the utility companies when we had difficulties communicating with them and ensured the bills were paid. When we decided to sell the property.  Tracey dealt with the whole process during the difficult time of the pandemic while keeping us updated throughout. As we were unable to travel to sign the contract, Tracey acted on our behalf as power of attorney to enable the sale to complete. We cannot recommend her highly enough.

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 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.

While living in California, I happened to read an article on unspoiled areas in Europe. A real estate search in the Abruzzo region of Italy produced a few websites. I reviewed those sites and discovered that Abruzzo Reality provided the most comprehensive, yet balanced information on the area. The property search pages were so efficient that I easily found a couple of properties that were interesting, so I reached out to Abruzzo Reality for more detailed information, whilst clarifying that my interest was merely superficial at this point, since my search had just begun. Tracey Nicholas responded almost immediately to my queries, and informed me that it was fine to be inquisitive without any need to feel pressured to do anything. Tracey's response was pleasant to hear, given I wanted more information, but was months away from any decisions. Although very aware of real estate purchasing in the US, I was a novice in Italian real estate, which led to a myriad of questions for Tracey. Another pleasant discovery, Tracey methodically answered my questions, without a hint of presumptiveness or pressure of any sort. For the next few days, I looked around the internet for more information about the region, real estate, laws, etc., but kept returning to Abruzzo Reality website and Tracey for exacting and accurate information. Excellent!
As a buyer of real estate, I tend to do my research and proceed with great caution always testing the situation from a number of angles. I found a property that met a number of my personal attributes, so a great deal of additional information was gathered to meet my requests, including the geometra on the property, current photographs, videos, and pricing. My approach was pretty thorough and not necessarily easy for Abruzzo Reality, however all of my research requests were met with a spirit of pure openness.
As I tinkered with an offer, I considered the value of the property and my distance from Italy. In summary, I made an offer without visiting Italy. The offer was accepted, and the deal was consummated. As a testament to “trust” and Tracey, I made the purchase from California following the Italian real estate process in three payments of thousands of euros each, while not yet actually seeing the property. I made my initial trip to Abruzzo for the closing of the deal. To my pleasant surprise, the property, the deal, Abruzzo Reality, and Tracey were all as they previously appeared... accurate, authentic and honest.
My real estate experience in the US sometimes involved minor risks, but nothing like the risk of this untested situation in Italy. The key to my risk taking was Tracey and the support of the Abruzzo Reality team. Without hesitation and from the perspective of purchasing numerous properties in the United States, Tracey Nicholas and Abruzzo Reality provided the finest and most honest experience of my life.

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).

We are now the happy owners of a beautiful house in Abruzzo.

We came to Abruzzo for the first time, knowing that we love Italy and having talked to Tracey once, we soon realized that she understood our brief better than we perhaps did ourselves.

We not only enjoyed her professional service, both during the search and all the following admin work, but also the friendly manner in which it was delivered.

We would have no reservations in recommending Abruzzo Reality to anyone that would like to buy a property in Abruzzo.

Tracey of 'Abruzzoreality' is quite simply a miracle worker! Let us explain.

Having had a holiday home out in the countryside near Penne for ten years, we decided that it was now time for us to 'downshift' and move to a smaller, more easily managed house in town. Tracey had superbly managed the country house for us, arranging ongoing maintenance for the house and gardens, as well as successfully organising holiday lets for the weeks when we were not 'in residence'. Tracey is a highly respected professional; her knowledge and understanding of the vagaries of the property market in Abruzzo is second to none. Knowing her to be honest; always acting with integrity and with our best interests at heart, we were keen to involve her in our plans to relocate in Abruzzo, from the outset.

Tracey designed the advertisement for the sale of our property; posted it on her Abruzzoreality website and was successful in attracting a number of potential buyers. A sale and date for the exchange of contracts was agreed within weeks, meaning we had to quickly find a town house which met our needs. Tracey arranged for us to look at suitable properties in our preferred towns of Penne and Loreto Aprutino. Tracey chose well and we fell in love with a beautiful compact house in the 'Centro Storico' in Loreto. We made an offer which was accepted and through Tracey's hard work, were able to complete the purchase to coincide with the sale of our country property. Tracey had managed to successfully ensure our move was stress-free, seamless and relatively quick to conclude.

We will of course continue to use Tracey's management services for our new holiday home in Loreto and as always, will never hesitate to recommend 'Abruzzoreality' to anyone and everyone! We have been very lucky in getting to know Tracey, who for a whole variety of reasons, has made our time in Abruzzo trouble free and hugely enjoyable. Long may she continue to do so!

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.

"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!"

We used Tracey and Abruzzo Reality to sell our beautiful, small holiday house in Abruzzo. We always found her to be accommodating and friendly and very helpful. There was great communication throughout (with us being in London for most of the year) and yet she was happy to meet up whenever we were in Italy for our holidays. She explained the process well, managed the viewings and sorted all the issues to make sure that our whole selling experience was effortless. Tracey has a great knowledge of the local area and of local people and we got a great price for the house, even when the deal looked like it might fall through.

We would thoroughly recommend Abruzzo Reality and Tracey and thanks for all your efforts.

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.

We were already looking a while for a suitable house for us in Abruzzo. Abruzzo Reality helped us very well on the search for this suitable house. We visited several houses. but when we saw our house, we knew immediately knew that this was the one. The house offers plenty of oportunities. Tracey helped us perfectly through the buying process.
A few months later we were the proud new owners! Tracey has also helped us with the paperwork concerning the purchase. Nothing was too much and we also found it important that the documents were translated in English. For a foreigner it’s not so easy , especially because ‘notary language’ is not the most understandable one.
Besides her professionalism, Tracey gave us a trust worthy feeling. She and Vincenzo are a good, reliable team. They made it a lot easier for us with their professional way of working and their knowledge.
Meanwhile, we are several months away and we are enjoying our life in Abruzzo. A splendid region that has so much to offer! Thanks!

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