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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. 

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!

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!

We have nearly completed our first year of owning a property in Abruzzo after looking for almost 5 years.
During our last two years we met Tracey and Vincenzo, who introduced us to the region of Abruzzo. They showed us a variety of properties, based on the brief given to them and did care that we the buyers and the properties were closely aligned.
Having found a property that matched what we wanted, the process of buying was fairly straight forward through their services. Tracey took us through the process step by step and ensured everything was conducted in a professional manner.
Both Tracey and Vincenzo assisted us with the Italian notary and followed up after the transaction was completed dealing with all the necessary paperwork.
We are delighted with her services and her meticulous attention to detail.

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.

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.

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

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

"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!"

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!

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.

I cannot rate Abruzzo Reality highly enough. We were very fussy buyers!! We had a long list of things that we wanted from a house and we were beginning to think we would not find what we were looking for. It can be quite disappointing seeing what looks like a lovely property on the internet and then travelling all the way to Italy to find its next door to a factory!!
Vincenzo and Tracey however, took on board our requirements and showed us only properties that fitted the criteria we asked for. They were professional and their local knowledge of the area was invaluable. It was also nice to see that the sellers thought highly of them too.
They found us the property we eventually bought and convinced us to look at it even though we thought it might not be for us from the photos. They were right.
They guided us through the buying process and helped us every step of the way, always prompt with responses to our queries. The help did not stop after we signed the papers, they helped with bills, finding us local suppliers and services and even now help us if we have a problem or need to know where to find something.
I would highly recommend them to anyone thinking of buying in this area, with Tracey speaking English and Vincenzo’s local knowledge they make a great team.

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.

After struggling to buy a house in Abruzzo for over a year, Abruzzo Reality made it happen for us. They turned out to be very helpful in ensuring we did not have any surprises and easing the, sometimes, arduous process of buying a house. They really pushed the boat out; sorting out difficulties with land boundaries and in particular, after purchase, they were very helpful in introducing us to a wide range of local craftsmen and builders to ensure we had a choice of who refurbished the property. We couldn't have asked for more, they supported us all along the way and were transparent and straightforward in all the negotiations. We would have likely given up long ago if it were not for their support!

Buying property in a foreign country can be intimidating without a trusted guide. Tracey is that person. We have worked with her since 2010. She helped us buy our first home in Abruzzo, and when it became to small, sold it for us and helped us buy a larger one. She also cares for our property and manages the necessary paperwork in our absence for very reasonable fees. She is high energy and clearly enjoys what she does, but what most impresses us is how she continually goes above and beyond what a normal estate agent would do to help with the many small things -- even those not directly property related. If you are looking to buy in Abruzzo, you can rely on Tracey to provide you honest service, good advice, and service long after the sale.

I and my husband were thinking about buying a house or an apartment in Italy. Last October we visited a fair for Homes Abroad in Helsinki, Finland and afterwards we waited that one of the agency’s would contact us about the apartments.  Then, while we were on vacation at Christmas, we found in internet one apartment which was very interested. So, we contacted AbruzzoReality and Tracey. She answered very quickly and was very helpful. In the beginning of January we were visiting this apartment in Italy. The apartment was just that we were looking for. Because of Tracey, everything happened very quickly, in the 1st of February we could say: We own a part of Italy! Happy, happy, happy…
P.S. Finally the Finnish agency offered the same apartment for us but for much more expensive price…

We were 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.

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 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.

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

"We 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!"

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