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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. 

From the word go we were impressed by Tracey's professionalism. She focused on exactly the type of property we wanted, not what she had to sell. Tracey spent a lot of time with us and offered much practical advice and we secured a perfect house meeting all our requirements. In addition, Tracey provided all the necessary information on Italian property law and much else besides about local issues. The whole process moved very smoothly to completion with Tracey and her colleagues always there to clarify any issues. A first class operation.

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…

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).

Finding a house in Italy was no easy task as we had no idea of an area to choose, let alone a town or city!  After searching for a few months and following a couple of visits, we came across Tracey and Vincenzo through another agency we were viewing with, and after a very short space of time, we switched agencies. Lo and behold, they found us the perfect place to live! Tracey listened to our criteria completely and some of the things we were asking for weren’t easy to come by in the city we chose - Penne - but after searching on our behalf, we have now taken possession of our beautiful new Italian apartment!  Tracey and Vincenzo organised all the legal work for us too, so all we needed to do was to arrive at the Notary office and sign a few documents. It was so easy and totally stress free!  We kept in contact with Abruzzo Reality the whole time - asking questions, raising silly points about Italian life and legalise, and each time Tracey was able to assure us that there would be no problems - and she was right!  We are back in the UK at the moment but heading out in September when her after sales Manager, Manolo, will be taking control of helping set up bank accounts in Italy together with going through all the documentation that is needed to set up payments for the apartment utilities.  We thoroughly recommend Abruzzo Reality - the service has been second to none - and we are hoping that the journey we travelled together to find our new home has made us firm friends for the future when we are living there.

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.

"Can’t thank you enough for all your help. We are now Italian house owners! The people have all been so friendly and we are looking forward to getting know our new neighbours and coming back to see you. Arriverderci, but not for long!"

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!

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!

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.

“Thank you, Tracey for all your help with our house buying experience. You gave us support right through the process, from making our first visit to some potential properties to being with us at the final signing, and this was much appreciated. We feel that we have made the right choice of property to suit our needs and we really couldn’t have asked for a more pain-free process, which was mainly down to the way you kept in touch with us and sorted things out to help us. We feel that, for you and our estate agent, nothing was too much trouble and you went the extra mile on our behalf. We’d strongly recommend you to anyone else who is thinking of buying their dream home in Abruzzo. “

In our search for houses in Abruzzo we came across several kind and helpful people in the various real estate agencies. However, from the very beginning Tracey has given us kind, informative and immediate responses to all our questions. So, when we met Tracey at our first trip to Abruzzo there was no doubt in our mind to chose her and Abruzzo Reality to help us.

Tracey has been guiding us from the first step of the Italian buying process until we finally received the keys to the house. And we are convinced that Tracey will ensure that the process of renovating the house will be as smooth as possible. Thank you.

To move, buy a house and live in another country with all its bureaucracy, customs and language barriers is quite a daunting, if not exciting, prospect at the best of times. To do so, when you are doing it alone can be frightening to say the least.

Tracey made it more of an exciting adventure, without the down side, in a friendly and trustworthy manner. I am extremely grateful to her and her colleagues, and they are still here, helping to smooth out the edges long after I purchased the house of my dreams. I consider them as friends.

Tracey also found me a companion, a beautiful and loving dog who is always by my side :) Thanks for all Tracey.

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 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.

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!

From start to finish, Tracey and the Abruzzo Reality team are there to help. With finding the correct home with in the correct budget, to offering advice as to which is a good buy and which not so much. Need work done, they have contacts to help. Need a mortgage, they have contacts that can help with that to. The service doesn't stop with the purchase of a home either. Any care, guidance, or other assistance after the home purchase, Tracey can help. Being that English is her first language, this all makes a complicated process, that much easier. I can't say enough about the level of service received by Abruzzo Reality.

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.

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!!

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.

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