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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.

Having visited other regions in Italy with other agents I was finding it difficult to find someone who understood what I was looking for.
From the moment I began emailing Tracey I knew that I had found someone I could trust; always quick to respond, providing straight forward and practical advice.
On meeting Tracey and Vincenzo I felt that I knew them well already, and we spent a good amount of time looking at properties with Tracey and Vincenzo offering alternatives where appropriate.
I found my dream property and, with their help, the purchase went through quickly and smoothly even though I speak very little Italian (Tracey and Vincenzo deal with a very nice English speaking Notary).
Now that the purchase has gone through and I'm getting ready to move out there permenantly I will still be in touch with Tracey and Vincenzo, using their after sales services and also I hope as friends! Thank you so much.

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.

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.

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.

In our search for a house in Abruzzo we were so lucky to get introduced to Tracey and the Abruzzoreality team. As a first-time buyer abroad, we of course didn’t have much experience in the buying process in Italy. From day one, they patiently helped us and guided us in our search, finding the right house, making sure that every detail was in place and taken care of. Every email was replied quickly and professionally and made us feel 100% secure. After getting the keys, the after sales service has been very valuable and they have assisted us in getting the needed craftsmen, cutting trees and just looking after the house. All in all, we could not have asked for better assistance.

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 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.

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 found a perfect house, to retreat to, on the Abruzzo Reality website. Work commitments at the time meant that we couldn’t travel to see the house for several months. During this time, Tracey was in regular contact, gave us lots of useful information and was willing to arrange a viewing for us.

When we arrived in Abruzzo, everything was new to us and we didn’t know our way around. Tracey and Vincenzo agreed to pick us up from our holiday accommodation, they drove us to the house we wanted to view and they showed us a few others for comparison. During our time spent together, they gave us reassuring information about life in Abruzzo and about the house buying process in Italy. They helped us with submitting our offer and negotiating the price of the house.

In the months that followed, communication was frequent. We opted to have a survey conducted and Abruzzo Realty appointed a surveyor (geometra) for us. The results of this survey were very detailed and these were sent to us in both Italian and English. Throughout the whole house buying process Tracey liaised between us and the vendors.

On moving Tracey and Vincenzo met us at the property and they had organised for the handover of keys and also for us to reside at the house until the signing day. Tracey also made sure the codice fiscale (tax number) was completed in good time. They also accompanied us to the signing which was reassuring when there are so many people present and the documents are read out in both languages which takes a long time!

After completion of sale, Tracey helped with the transfer of utilities into our names. On several occasions Tracey has gone over and above what one would expect of an estate agent. She was friendly, helpful and professional through the whole process. The service we received through the whole buying process was really outstanding and gave us confidence to go ahead and buy in Abruzzo. It is without reservation that we would recommend the services of Tracey at Abruzzo Realty to prospective home buyers.

We used Abbruzzo Reality for the sale of our house. Their service was very good and they were able to find a good number of people to look at the house. Once a buyer was found, all of the necessary documentation, notary appointments, handover of utilities were taken care of. I wouldn't  hesitate in recommending this company’s services.

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.

Everything went smoothly!!
We saw a lot of houses with a lot of agencies. Some of them were more friendly than others, but with you, from the beginning, it was just like talking to a friend, and we had never met before.
Every question, even a stupid one, you answered.
If we had a doubt, you gave us your trust by sending evidence.
Last year in April we met, to visit a few houses. The one we came for, was the one we fell in love with.
You arranged everything through email, we just had to sign and pay 😉
Even the appointment with the notary was planned according to our chosen date.
Even after the sale you are willing to help us and answer our questions.
Thank you Tracey!

Selling a house in Italy we had heard was always difficult and could take years. For us our sale was very smooth and very quick with Tracey and the Abruzzo Reality team. Numerous people to view within the first few weeks and all viewings handled without fuss and at our pace. A couple of offers handled very well and final sale that went through without a hitch. Great service!

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!

Excellent experience with Abruzzo Reality.

Buying property in other countries can be stressful and frustrating. For us it was a wonderful and smooth process thanks to Tracey and Manolo at Abruzzo Reality. They were patient with us and helped us every step of the way.
They responded to our questions promptly and never left us hanging. Not only did they get us an amazing property for a great deal but they also helped us to find trustworthy and fair tradesman to help us after closing. We would highly recommend this company if you are looking to buy in Italy. They are the kind of people that we hope to keep a friendship with even after business is complete. Thank you to the entire amazing staff.

“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.”

The process of buying or selling a home in Italy can be very complicated and confusing for non-Italian residents, especially if you don’t speak fluent Italian, cannot be there in person to attend the closing, or meet with a realtor on a regular basis. My husband and I are forever grateful to have had Tracey working on our behalf and making sure that every detail was taken care of. As a Realtor, Tracey is 100% committed to her clients, and we felt she represented us consistently with professionalism and backing. She seems to work round the clock, answering emailed questions from us (from the United States) even when we knew it was very late at night in Italy (not expected, but very much appreciated!). With her knowledge and contacts, she was able to successfully bridge all communication and process gaps, without which the process of selling our home in Italy most likely would have been a nightmare. Despite some challenges along the way (such as, obtaining a power of attorney in our absence), Tracey persevered and fought for us every step of the way. We couldn’t have gotten through this without her as our Realtor, and highly recommend trusting her with any home purchase or sale. Hopefully we will have the great fortune to request her services again someday! Grazie mille per tutto, Tracey!!

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.

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.

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