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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 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.

Tracey made buying a property in Abruzzo a quicker and easier process than buying property in the UK. We viewed in July and moved in November. She arranged appropriate viewings and was prepared to drive us to several properties with return visits when required. We stopped occasionally for coffee and pizza and a chat about the steps necessary, to make sure everything was done legally and ensure our peace of mind. Tracey is an invaluable link between non- Italian speakers and the authorities involved in buying here. She arranged Codice Fiscale's, bank accounts, money transfers, notaio's, geometra's etc and also arranged work we wanted done at the house before we moved in. She even personally cleaned the house before we moved in and bought us the essentials of at least wine to see us through the first night after a long drive from North Wales. Most communications were via email, always prompt, truthful and courteous. After we had moved in and during that very unsure period she was available by phone or email to help and support us when dealing with utility companies, Sky TV and practically anything we asked of her. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend using the friendly and professional services of Abruzzo Reality.

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!

Abruzzo Reality, what a brilliant team! We found them on the internet when searching for a property to buy in Abruzzo. The site is very easy to navigate, with good information, photos and detail of locations. We requested details of some properties and Tracey responded immediately, asking what our requirements were. We were very impressed with Tracey's complete honesty as to whether the properties would be suitable for us or not. The viewings were arranged and we found our property. With Tracey's guidance and input, answering our numerous queries, the whole process was completed in 2 months and we are now living here permanently. It all went seamlessly.
The Abruzzo Reality team do not stop at completion but continue to provide support, assisting us in opening a bank account, getting residency and arranging transfer of all the utilities, to us. They are always there to provide advice and assistance. We feel very lucky to have found them and if you are looking to buy in Abruzzo, put Abruzzo Reality top of your list.

Everything went smoothly!!
We saw a lot of houses with a lot of agencies. Some of them were more friendly than others, but with you, from the beginning, it was just like talking to a friend, and we had never met before.
Every question, even a stupid one, you answered.
If we had a doubt, you gave us your trust by sending evidence.
Last year in April we met, to visit a few houses. The one we came for, was the one we fell in love with.
You arranged everything through email, we just had to sign and pay 😉
Even the appointment with the notary was planned according to our chosen date.
Even after the sale you are willing to help us and answer our questions.
Thank you Tracey!

We have moved from the USA to Montefino in the Province of Teramo, Abruzzo, Italy. By shear luck we googled Abruzzo properties and found Abruzzo Reality and Tracey! She and her colleagues were the most accommodating team that we could have asked for. Tracey speaks both fluent Italian and English so there has been no concern for a misunderstanding in translation. We incurred some daunting trials while acquiring our Elective Visas and Tracey went above and beyond the call of duty to assist us. If you are in the market for a home in Abruzzo, Abruzzo Reality is a must!

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 cannot thank you enough for all the help you have given us in becoming Italian real estate owners! That lovely house is something one only dreams of!"

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!

Having visited other regions in Italy with other agents I was finding it difficult to find someone who understood what I was looking for.
From the moment I began emailing Tracey I knew that I had found someone I could trust; always quick to respond, providing straight forward and practical advice.
On meeting Tracey and Vincenzo I felt that I knew them well already, and we spent a good amount of time looking at properties with Tracey and Vincenzo offering alternatives where appropriate.
I found my dream property and, with their help, the purchase went through quickly and smoothly even though I speak very little Italian (Tracey and Vincenzo deal with a very nice English speaking Notary).
Now that the purchase has gone through and I'm getting ready to move out there permenantly I will still be in touch with Tracey and Vincenzo, using their after sales services and also I hope as friends! Thank you so much.

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.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tracey has always been very helpful, supportive and trustworthy. She helped us with liaising the utility companies when we had difficulties communicating with them and ensured the bills were paid. When we decided to sell the property.  Tracey dealt with the whole process during the difficult time of the pandemic while keeping us updated throughout. As we were unable to travel to sign the contract, Tracey acted on our behalf as power of attorney to enable the sale to complete. We cannot recommend her highly enough.

Our search for a home in Abruzzo started at the end of 2017. After a lot of searching on the internet, we ended up on the website of Abruzzo Reality. What immediately struck us was that we could read this site in our own language. Which in itself was a plus. After the first mail we sent to Tracey, we were quickly surprised by her quick and professional answers. No question or comment was too much for her. She is the best in her profession and she has always supported us with advice and action. After we had visited our dream home and decided to buy it, she took care of all the administrative matters. From application Codice Fiscale, up to and including signing with the notary. Which was a great reassurance for us, knowing that we were assisted by someone who knew perfectly well how things work in Italy. Even after the purchase she still takes care of the administration and we can still contact her for advice. The smooth course of this sale has even prompted us to purchase a second home in Abruzzo. Without Tracey there was a big chance that our purchase would end up as a nightmare, now it remains a dream, thanks to her! We can therefore highly recommend Abruzzo Reality.

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.

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