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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. 

"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."

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!

After having our apartment up for sale for a couple of years with no result, we were recommended to contact Tracey by friends, as she had helped with their sale. We cannot thank and praise her enough as she instantly went into action to advertise and find us a buyer. The whole process was completed quickly and professionally and what we thought would be a complete headache went very smoothly. Tracey dealt with the whole process from viewings, booking the Notary and arranging to have all the utility bills transferred in to the new owners names. We would like to thank the whole team for their excellent service.

“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.”

"Having decided emphatically that Abruzzo would be our holiday home location, we visited at Easter to look for our dream home. We met many agents but not one of them inspired us with trust in the manner in which Tracey did. We were led patiently through the house hunting process; initially via the “net” in England and then on the ground in Abruzzo.

Every detail of this potentially difficult process was taken seriously and sensitively. We were kept up to speed by being fed every morsel of information electronically as the deal unfolded whilst we were back home in England. The establishment of our ‘codice fiscale’ and Italian bank account were all facilitated for us. We came back to Italy to complete the purchase, just six weeks from first sight to completion."

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 do not know where we would be if it weren't for the assistance provided by Tracey. She made every step of the buying process effortless as well as assistance above and beyond the actual purchase. Everything was explained in detail and their knowledge of the area, details and contacts were invaluable. She is an asset to the continued management of our property and have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone contemplating buying or selling property in Abruzzo.

We had been looking for a while to find a house in Abruzzo, when we made an appointment with Tracey. What a relief. Where we thought we were well prepared and made a list with houses to visit, Tracey had a much better view on what we needed and wanted. It was love on first sight with the house she suggested.

Being a foreigner in Italy, we could use all the help we could get. Tracey and her colleagues exceeded our expectations; not only did they give us tonnes of advice and information, they also helped with several practical issues. Thanks to Tracey we experienced a very smooth operation.

Besides the professionalism, Tracey excels in trustworthiness, and she transfers this feeling also to the people she works with. We appreciate her professional sight, but we appreciate her even more for the person she is.

I can advise everyone to engage with Tracey and her colleagues when you are looking for a house in Abruzzo.

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!

"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!"

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.

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.

“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. “

"Tracey, you have been so very helpful with looking for a holiday place for us to buy. Without your help and translating there is no way we could have done it. We are very grateful, very many thanks."

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!

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.

We were looking at houses in Abruzzo for quite some time as we were quite fussy on what we wanted and it had to be within a specific budget. Apart from this, our requirements changed a lot over the period we were looking at houses. Despite this we have to say Tracey and colleagues were always there to help out, and even show us a few house we insisted on seeing when they knew quite well they were not suitable for us. The house we eventually purchased was one they brought to our attention, when they did we named it the "prison house", which shows how impressed we were, and of course how wrong! During the purchase and since (now 4 years on) Tracey has helped us (and still does) not only sort out our problems and get jobs done, but also provide great guidance and encouragement to do things ourselves.

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.

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!

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.

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