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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. 

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.

After searching for 3.5 years and meetings with many brokers, we can safely say to have some experience. The meeting with Tracey and Vincenzo felt right from the first moment. The combination of Italian (Vincenzo) and English / Italian (Tracey) works very well. They have an extensive network, convenient from the first moment to the after sales care. The casual and friendly way of doing business is nice. The contacts are fast. Questions by email are quickly picked up and answered. They have the necessary knowledge and can inform you about all the things needed for the purchase and / or establishment in Abruzzo. If you are looking for a broker that works reliably and fast, you've come to the right place.

In 2010 we (man, wife, 2 children and 2 dogs) had a very serious idea to move to Italy, permanently. With the promised work possibilities in mind we started our search for a nice place in the region ‘Abruzzo'. Due to all kinds of changes, we had to change plans from time to time. Changes in terms of budget, type of house, area within Abruzzo and last but not least we had to leave the idea to move permanently. At the end of 2016, we bought our second home near Castilenti, Abruzzo. A very nice situated house, exactly what we wanted regarding the moment in life.

Along the way, from 2010 until now, Tracey / Abruzzo Reality helped us with so much patience and empathy. We regularly visited Abruzzo and went to places and houses which on paper would fit our needs. Within a few minutes on site, Tracey could see and ‘feel’ if it would be a fit or not, and if not, we moved further in a very relaxed but professional way. A no-fit happened a lot and never was problem. Next time better, she kept on searching and helped us with tips and advice in between.

The ease of talking in English to a real estate broker who is multi lingual and is perfectly capable of translating it back and forward without lost of words or context is a very big plus. The network of Tracey is wide and diverse, good and reliable geometras, notarys and builders are part of her network and were very helpful for us, as new Italian home owners to quickly make the region ‘our own’.

We recommend Abruzzo Reality / Tracey highly when you want to find your home and way in, and around, Abruzzo.

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.

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!

"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."

When we fell in love with our little house in the Abruzzen, Italy, we were extremely lucky to have the help and support of Tracey.  She always responds quickly to all our emails and is tireless when it comes to answering all our questions. We certainly couldn’t have done it without her.

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!

Property transactions are invariably by their very nature stress inducing, especially when involving an unfamiliar language and legal system. Complete trust in any company chosen for marketing and conveyancing is paramount and it was clear to me from my first conversation with Tracey that I had at last found the person I'd been looking for.

The sale of my property involved a particularly challenging problem which on several occasions appeared almost impossible to resolve. Tracey however is a person who inspires confidence almost as though failure is not an option and I have no doubt that without her skill and involvement the house would still be for sale and likely to stay that way.

From my personal experience of property ownership in Abruzzo I believe the service this company provides is unique and only wish that I'd found such an agency in 2004 when I first dipped my toes into Italian living.

"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 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!

For some time we were looking for a nice place to call our own in Italy, where we could have a relaxing time in between the rush of daily life, but could also rent during the high season. Looking over countless internet pages and visiting real estate sites we came across the site of "abruzzoreality.com". We couldn't have been more lucky.

From the start we had all the help that a 'stranger in paradise' could wish.

Together with Tracey we browsed the practically the whole of north Abruzzo for something suitable that had to be not only comfortable but also had to be fitting within our budget.

Because we were in the Netherlands, she visited several properties for us and came up with an extreme good property in Mosciano Sant'Angelo at the end of May. From that moment everything went in a current. Tracey and colleagues did literally everything for us. They took care of all the paperwork and she was our tower of strength during this hectic period. In only a few weeks we had to go to Italy to get everything straightened out and a few weeks later we could sign the contract. I'm sure that with our lack of knowledge about the Italian language and bureaucracy, we would have never done it in such a short period with such a fantastic result.

Our sincere compliments to Tracey for all her effort in helping us to obtain our apartment. Abruzzo Reality really put people before quick profits.

Thank you guys!

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!

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!

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!

Buying property in a foreign country can be intimidating without a trusted guide. Tracey is that person. We have worked with her since 2010. She helped us buy our first home in Abruzzo, and when it became to small, sold it for us and helped us buy a larger one. She also cares for our property and manages the necessary paperwork in our absence for very reasonable fees. She is high energy and clearly enjoys what she does, but what most impresses us is how she continually goes above and beyond what a normal estate agent would do to help with the many small things -- even those not directly property related. If you are looking to buy in Abruzzo, you can rely on Tracey to provide you honest service, good advice, and service long after the sale.

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.

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.

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 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.

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