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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 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.

My wife and I were dreaming about a house in Italy for years. After years of searching in Piemonte we moved our focus to Abruzzo. By luck we came in contact with Abruzzo Reality and started our search. Three holidays in a row, we flew to Pescara and toured around with Vincenzo en Tracey while they started to get to know us better and they discovered what we were looking for.  After about a year of looking, Tracey mailed us that she had the perfect house for us. She couldn’t have been more right. Now we found the house, there was the process of purchasing it. Luckily, Tracey knew the Italian formalities to be executed. We use our house as a holiday rental house during the summer. Without Tracey we could not have been able to organise this: she helps us with the laundry, the cleaning, the welcoming of the guests, and any issues that occur. It’s a comforting thought that she is so trustworthy. We are now enjoying our house and the fantastic region of Abruzzo.

"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!"

Buying a house in Italy has been an almost life long dream for us and was one that we never expected to come true. We decided that we might be able to buy in April as a result of the very favourable exchange rate and we immediately found Abruzzo Reality and a number of houses we were interested in. I started bombarding Tracey with daily, and sometimes more frequent, e-mails to get more information about properties and about the process generally and she was fantastic. She responded promptly every time and really seemed to enter into our excitement about the project. She gave us excellent advise about some of the properties which had appeared ideal on the web but which clearly were not going to meet our ideals. We went out to Abruzzo in July and met Tracey and Vincenzo as we visited our three chosen properties. They negotiated a fantastic deal for us on our perfect property and saw us through everything that followed; Tracey could not have been more helpful or supportive. We completed our purchase as planned on November 9th after a last minute hiccup, when the notary had to cancel our appointment at short notice. Tracey provided a lot of psychological support and Vincenzo rang round virtually every notary in Abruzzo to find one who could see us that day, as our plans and those of our vendors were completely dependant on that date. Tracey is now our property manager and I have complete confidence that under her expert guidance, all will continue to run smoothly for us in Abruzzo. Our dream has totally come true and for that we owe a huge debt to Tracey and Vincenzo for their expert support and guidance in helping us to achieve that dream.

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

We were extremely happy with the professional service provided by Tracey when selling our house in Abruzzo. Tracey was very efficient, responsive and provided a high quality and reliable service, as well as being a sincere person.

Tracey always kept us well informed through every step of the selling process. It is worth noting that Tracey was also prepared to put in the extra work, even driving 2 hours each way, because through her experience she knew that our property would match her client's requirements. We are very pleased Tracey put in the time and effort to sell our property as she was then able to match it to the buyer's requirement the outcome being it was sold to the first family who viewed it. I would definitely recommend Tracey who is a professional breath of fresh air, compared to the indifference showed by some other agencies (especially when selling).

We cannot speak highly enough of our experience when dealing with Tracey Nicholas of Abruzzo Reality.  She made the whole selling process so simple and straightforward, and this was dealing with two customers who didn’t speak a word of Italian!  She answered every email promptly, was honest and fair and we had total faith in her from the beginning, and our trust was rewarded.  The viewing of our property, to the completion with the notary, all took place in under a month, thanks to her organisation.  We were kept fully informed at every stage, from receiving initial deposits to advising when to book our flights.  What we expected to be a complicated and nerve wracking experience actually turned out to be very enjoyable, thanks to her.  We recommended her to friends of ours, and they had exactly the same experience as us, and even said she did more than was expected to help them after their sale was completed, assisting them with the bank and transfers.  We would be happy to act as referees for anyone thinking of buying or selling with Tracey, we are totally confident you would be as pleased as we were if you used her as your agent.

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.

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!

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.

We first fell in love with Abruzzo when visiting friends in the summer of 2017. On return from our visit we began searching for a property. We spent many hours trawling through properties and estate agents on the internet!  Abruzzo Reality came highly recommended by some close personal friends.
In April 2018 we were back in Abruzzo looking at properties with Tracey and Vincenzo. They were both very friendly and knowledgeable.
Having looked at a number of properties in Loreto Aprutino, Collecorvino and Penne, we found a perfect little house in Penne. Vincenzo and Tracey offered impartial advice which was pivotal in helping us chose our property in Penne. This included their assessment of the property value and the potential for holiday letting. Tracey and Vincenzo organised all aspects of the legal process including Codice Fiscale and the official transaction with the notary, which was very quick!
Throughout the whole process from beginning to end Tracey was able to offer advice and guidance. She dealt with all our queries no matter how trivial.
We are continuing to rely on Tracey when we require property management services.
Buying a house can be a stressful experience, even more so in a foreign country, but we can say without reservation that the whole process from beginning to end has been stress free.
Tracey, Vincenzo and Manolo are all very approachable and helpful we are very grateful for their assistance in making our dream of owning a house in Abruzzo a reality.

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

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.

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.

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.

In our search for a house in Abruzzo we were so lucky to get introduced to Tracey and the Abruzzoreality team. As a first-time buyer abroad, we of course didn’t have much experience in the buying process in Italy. From day one, they patiently helped us and guided us in our search, finding the right house, making sure that every detail was in place and taken care of. Every email was replied quickly and professionally and made us feel 100% secure. After getting the keys, the after sales service has been very valuable and they have assisted us in getting the needed craftsmen, cutting trees and just looking after the house. All in all, we could not have asked for better assistance.

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.

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!

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!

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