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Buying a house in Italy

House buying for foreign citizens in Europe varies from State to State; the same is concern of the laws (in same of them they are very restrictive).
Italian laws allow foreigners to invest money as they want including buying houses or other real estates.
A foreigner in Italy has the same laws and duties as an Italian citizen.


House buying in Italy

The process of buying a house in Italy depends on the kind of property you want to buy (farm-house put down by land register, country-house registered as a building, villa, factory, hotel); on the buying form (holiday house, residential house, productive property); on the kind of the seller (private person, firm, public organisation).

After you have found your dream house or a commercial property suiting your business, which you want to buy, you sign a private contract, called compromesso (preliminary sale or purchase agreement). It is written sale agreement between the parties setting out conditions of purchase such as price, payments, boundaries, as well as a date for the completion of the transfer of the property, all the necessary juridical and technical information, guaranties that the property is free from mortgages or other bounds. As a guaranty of the preliminary contract the purchaser pays a deposit of 20% - 30% of the price. This document can be drafted privately or you can decide to register it. If you back out of the agreement for reasons not covered in the compromesso the deposit is not returnable. At the same time, the seller has to pay you double the deposit if he backs out of the sale or does not keep to the agreement. The Italian name for the deposit is caparra.

Completion of the purchase takes place in presence of a public notary, super partes , who is a professional authorized by the Ministry of the Internal Affairs. He/she also records the purchase in all competent offices, witnesses the transfer of title from the seller to the buyer and collects the taxes due on the transaction (for the Register office, Land register, Notary archives). The notary signs the deed after the parties and thus he/she certifies and grants the transfer of title from the seller to the buyer.

Before the completion, a notary gathers all the necessary documents of the property to be sure that this property is free from mortgage and any bounds, that it is not an illegal construction that no-one has pre-emption right on the sold property.

During the reading of the notary certificate, made by the notary and translated by the interpreter into the official State language of the buyer, the notary makes sure that everyone understands every detail. Both parties will then sign the document before the notary signs it himself and stamps it. At the completion, the buyer has to pay the balance of the property plus State taxes and notary fees.

In the time between a preliminary agreement and the notary completion a surveyor controls all the technical and cadastral data (drawings, plans, certificates and land surface), its accordance with the original documents and the preliminary contract. The surveyor provides the notary with all the technical documents, if needed.

If you wish to buy a house in Italy, you have to pay the following taxes and fees:
1. State taxes;
2. notary's fees;
3. agent's fees;
4. technical competence.

1. The buyer of a holiday house has to pay taxes at 10% of the fiscal value (it is multiplied by a coefficient established by the State; in general it is as a half of the real preliminary price).

The buyer of a residential house has to pay taxes at 3% (only for those who want to change their residence in Italy within 18 months from the purchase). It is necessary to present a residential permit to the municipality (it is not difficult to receive it, but the bureaucracy asks for any months, therefore it is better to begin in advance).

The buyer of an agricultural land has to pay taxes at 18% of the fiscal value.

2. Notary's fees have to be added to the mentioned amounts. They are normally in inverse relation to the purchase value; notary's fee may range between 2-3% of purchase price.

3. The estate agent's fees amount to 3-7% of the purchase price.

4. A surveyor will normally cost between € 800 and 3.000 circa according to the technical work he has to carry out to regularize the property juridically and cadastrally.
International real estate
Italian Country Homes - Via Madonna del Piano 49, 60030 Serra de' Conti (AN) - Italy
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