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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 cannot thank Tracey and Vincenzo enough for all the fabulous help and support they have given us throughout the process of finding a new home in Abruzzo, Italy. Their honesty, openness and friendly professionalism was everything we needed to feel confident at what was a daunting time. I would highly recommend both Tracey and Vincenzo to anyone looking to buy or sell in Abruzzo. True Gems that deserve every success. THANK YOU.

"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 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.

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 can't say enough good things about Tracey and Vincenzo. The welcoming guidance they provided during our first day-long house search in several towns was as helpful and generous as their time and "insider insights." We've had good experiences with real estate professionals in our moves, but have never seen this level of customer service and expertise.

We used Tracey and Abruzzo Reality to sell our beautiful, small holiday house in Abruzzo. We always found her to be accommodating and friendly and very helpful. There was great communication throughout (with us being in London for most of the year) and yet she was happy to meet up whenever we were in Italy for our holidays. She explained the process well, managed the viewings and sorted all the issues to make sure that our whole selling experience was effortless. Tracey has a great knowledge of the local area and of local people and we got a great price for the house, even when the deal looked like it might fall through.

We would thoroughly recommend Abruzzo Reality and Tracey and thanks for all your efforts.

Our experience with Tracey Nicholas was professional and personable from the beginning of our purchase to closing. She guided us through the unfamiliar process of buying a home in Italy. She made what could of been an impossibility difficult process, understandable and comfortable. She and her staff were attentive to everything we required. It allowed my husband and I to focus on the joy and excitement of becoming owners in the fantastic Abruzzo area. I would recommend if you are purchasing in Abruzzo to use Tracey.

For the purchase of our house, we were lucky to have a real professional, who was able to advise us wisely, to find the property that fitted our needs and especially to follow us, to avoid any pitfalls during the purchase.
Professionalism, responsiveness, efficiency but above all an agency we can really trust and what an extraordinary thing, even 4 years after our purchase, we can always count on this agency when we have problems.
It is rare and precious.
We are very satisfied with this agency and strongly recommend the services of Abruzzo Reality.

It was my first overseas experience when I bought my holiday home in Loreto. I was very worried on how the whole process will go, having no knowledge or experience on regulations abroad. However, it went very smooth without hassles and in no time. The whole credit goes to the professional handling and advise of the Abruzzo Reality team. I sincerely recommend Abruzzo Reality and I will not hesitate to approach them again for any similar future plans.

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…

When my wife and I decided to purchase a property in Italy we began our research of the regions of Italy and quickly came to the conclusion that Abruzzo was the region we would like to reside in. Now it was time to search properties. A quick Google search of real estate companies pointed us to Abruzzo Reality. Having found a few properties we were interested in I submitted my inquiry and received a prompt reply from Tracey. Thus began a wonderful, professional relationship that led us to a successful purchase of our house in just a few short months. The team of Tracey and Vincenzo, along with the assistance of Manolo (the jack-of-all-trades handyman) has made this a very painless journey to home ownership in another country. Tracey coordinated our process from beginning to end. We could not have accomplished this on our own. Vincenzo patiently showed us many properties and Manolo has assisted us with anything we have needed following the sale. If you are considering home ownership in Italy, you cannot go wrong with the Abruzzo Reality team to put your mind at ease and begin enjoying your new life in Italy.

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 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.

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.

While living in California, I happened to read an article on unspoiled areas in Europe. A real estate search in the Abruzzo region of Italy produced a few websites. I reviewed those sites and discovered that Abruzzo Reality provided the most comprehensive, yet balanced information on the area. The property search pages were so efficient that I easily found a couple of properties that were interesting, so I reached out to Abruzzo Reality for more detailed information, whilst clarifying that my interest was merely superficial at this point, since my search had just begun. Tracey Nicholas responded almost immediately to my queries, and informed me that it was fine to be inquisitive without any need to feel pressured to do anything. Tracey's response was pleasant to hear, given I wanted more information, but was months away from any decisions. Although very aware of real estate purchasing in the US, I was a novice in Italian real estate, which led to a myriad of questions for Tracey. Another pleasant discovery, Tracey methodically answered my questions, without a hint of presumptiveness or pressure of any sort. For the next few days, I looked around the internet for more information about the region, real estate, laws, etc., but kept returning to Abruzzo Reality website and Tracey for exacting and accurate information. Excellent!
As a buyer of real estate, I tend to do my research and proceed with great caution always testing the situation from a number of angles. I found a property that met a number of my personal attributes, so a great deal of additional information was gathered to meet my requests, including the geometra on the property, current photographs, videos, and pricing. My approach was pretty thorough and not necessarily easy for Abruzzo Reality, however all of my research requests were met with a spirit of pure openness.
As I tinkered with an offer, I considered the value of the property and my distance from Italy. In summary, I made an offer without visiting Italy. The offer was accepted, and the deal was consummated. As a testament to “trust” and Tracey, I made the purchase from California following the Italian real estate process in three payments of thousands of euros each, while not yet actually seeing the property. I made my initial trip to Abruzzo for the closing of the deal. To my pleasant surprise, the property, the deal, Abruzzo Reality, and Tracey were all as they previously appeared... accurate, authentic and honest.
My real estate experience in the US sometimes involved minor risks, but nothing like the risk of this untested situation in Italy. The key to my risk taking was Tracey and the support of the Abruzzo Reality team. Without hesitation and from the perspective of purchasing numerous properties in the United States, Tracey Nicholas and Abruzzo Reality provided the finest and most honest experience of my life.

We would like to say a huge thank you for all of your help and support in helping us buy our dream home here in Italy; you walked us through every step of the way.

The service you and Abruzzo Reality provide is first class as well as your ongoing after sales service. It is hard to believe we’ve been living here for over four years now and not being fluent in Italian, it’s still great to know you are always there whenever we need your help and support. We know we can rely on you and you always have a friendly, professional approach, so we’ve always felt secure in dealing with someone who speaks the same language. That is a really important factor, especially when buying a property abroad. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you to anyone.

Once again a very special thank you, Tracey, we both know we couldn’t have done it without you!

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.

We used Tracey to sell our house in the Abruzzo. We found that the services she offered were consistently what was needed. It was never any problem for her to bring prospective purchasers, even though our house was a little off the beaten track. Having lived in the Abruzzo for many years she has local knowledge and an understanding of the culture and the people which all helps in the purchasing and selling process. We have no hesitation in recommending her 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.

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!!

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