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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. 

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.

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.

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!

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 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!

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!

Communication was easy, as speaking both English and Italian. Viewings were arranged with ease and Tracey helped us out with various issues, which helped a lot. We could not have done it without her. We would definitely recommend.

From the outset of meeting Tracey and Vincenzo, whilst looking for our dream home, they were incredible helpful and friendly, right to the completion date. No question we asked went unanswered and they went above and beyond to find answers to some tricky questions on our behalf. We felt very supported throughout the process with their expert knowledge and would recommend their services highly.

Selling a house in Italy we had heard was always difficult and could take years. For us our sale was very smooth and very quick with Tracey and the Abruzzo Reality team. Numerous people to view within the first few weeks and all viewings handled without fuss and at our pace. A couple of offers handled very well and final sale that went through without a hitch. Great service!

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 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.

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.

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.

I want to share the great experience I had with my agent Tracey. I’m a US resident and earlier this year I decided to make my dream of owning a home in Italy a reality. I was lucky to find Abruzzo Reality in my search.
Tracey was instrumental in refining my search and ultimate purchase in Abruzzo.
Having no idea how to purchase a property in Italy, she was able to help me through entire process. Even after the sale, Tracey helped me connect with locals to get the services I needed, from utilities to having work done.
The process couldn’t have have smoother and I highly recommend Tracey.

One very often reads and hears about all the difficulties when buying a property in Italy. All the paper work, all the regulations to be followed, all the necessary things to be executed etc.  Me and my wife didn't experience any of these difficulties when we bought our property in lovely Loreto Aprutino. Tracey Nicholas, Abruzzo Reality, gave us the best service one can wish for.  She led us through the process in an excellent way. Not one single problem occurred.  She has also been a invaluable help to us, after our property investment. Nothing seems to be impossible for Tracey and she always help us with a smile on her lips. She is a great broker and a lovely, service-minded person, that we strongly can recommend without any doubt.

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.

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!

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…

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.

“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.”

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