PURCHASE: Vademecum

We provide tailored real estate service to the individual.

Please let us know your most detailed requirements or give us a specific brief of your ideal home.

We keep a close eye on the market and use our extensive knowledge and network of contacts to fulfill each client’s requirements.

We are eager to remove the time and stress normally associated with acquiring a property.

We can provide experts guidance to find and secure your desired property.

PURCHASING a HOME in ITALY

Congratulations! You have decided to buy a home in Italy.

When searching for a house in Italy it is strongly recommended that you use an estate agent fully licensed by the Chamber of Commerce. Gabetti Todi is one such agency. There are no restrictions placed upon a non-resident wishing to purchase a property in Italy, either from Europe or elsewhere (only some few exceptions).

We are happy to represent YOUR interests as  your “buyer’s broker”
when collaborating with other agencies and their real estate offers.

Having decided to buy a property in Italy, the purchase process will require a number of steps to be taken:

WRITTEN OFFER (“Proposta irrevocabile d’acquisto”)

Once you identify the Italian property you want to buy you can immediately sign a Proposta irrevocabile d’acquisto – an irrevocable purchase agreement – which is signed by the buyer and seller once you have agreed on the price. The agreement identifies both parties and the property in question, and gives an expiry date for signing the preliminary contract of sale (“Compromesso”). When you sign, you shall pay a deposit (usually 10% of the offering price). This is held by the Agency, and returned to you or given to the seller as part payment when you sign the Compromesso.

If the sale does not go ahead by the specified date through no fault of your own your deposit will be returned to you. If you change your mind about purchasing the property you will forfeit this deposit, as the owner will have effectively agreed on the sales conditions and taken the property off the market for a certain period of time.

During this time you may arrange for a qualified surveyor (Geometra) to organise a complete survey on the property. The Geometra will ascertain that all of the structures on the property have proper planning permissions in addition to checking other important documentation on the property if this isn’t already in the files of the agency.

PRELIMINARY CONTRACT (“Compromesso” or “Contratto Preliminare”):

The preliminary contract specifies the items and points of agreement made in the offer and turns it into a legally binding private contract. This contract also details all the relevant data of the property, fixes the purchase price, the payment method and sets a date for the final contract.

As from January 1st, 2007 each preliminary contract needs to be registered at the Tax Office – Ufficio delle Entrate within 20 days. The costs are 200 Euros for each copy and a ‘marca di bollo’(stamp) of 16 euro for every 4 pages and for each attachment. The Buyer has also to pay 0.5% registration tax that will be deducted from the taxes paid at the signing of the Deed.

A point of particular interest is the “Caparra Confirmatoria”, an Italian peculiarity that secures the preliminary contract through a prepaid deposit of between 15% and 50% of the purchase price. This deposit is paid to the seller at the signing of the preliminary contract. If the purchaser withdraws from the contract, the deposit is forfeited. Conversely, if the seller withdraws from the contract, he is obliged to pay double your initial deposit.

However, before the signing of the preliminary contract, the purchaser of a property in Italy must have an Italian tax number (“Codice Fiscale”) as well as a bank account in Italy. Obtaining these is usually a simple process and we are more than happy to help you with this.

FINAL CONTRACT (“Rogito” or “Atto di Compravendita”):

In spite of the legal validity of the preliminary contract, the public registration of the purchase through a final contract attested by a notary, is decisive. The notarized final contract serves to evidence a chain of uninterrupted ownership required to effect a sale. Furthermore, the final contract forms the basis for all tax computations and must therefore be signed in front of a notary public. The Notary is responsible for a number of checks including: ensuring the vendor is the legal owner of the property and is entitled to sell the property; ensuring there are no debts or mortgages on the property; ensuring there are no written liens or burdens; ensuring the existence and validity of all legally required licenses and permits.

The seller and purchaser must personally attend the signing or be represented by someone with an official power of attorney. Prior to signing the final contract, the remaining balance of the purchase price must be paid to the seller. Once the notary has countersigned the documents, the final contract is entered into the official land/building registry (“Conservatoria dei Registri Immobiliari”). Furthermore, the final contract forms the basis for all tax computations.

PURCHASE TAXES (if the seller is a private person):

The taxes that are due with the purchase of your property (“imposta di registro, ipotecaria, catastale”) must be paid at the notary:

buildings: 9% on the value set by the Building Registry Office – “valore catastale” (usually much lower – up to a quarter!-  than the purchase price)

agricultural land: 15% of the declared price

However, there are reduced tax rates in the case of Italian residency: if within 18 months after the purchase, your new house is established as your primary residency in Italy, the property purchase taxes are reduced from 9% to 2% (imposta di registro), plus the imposta ipotecaria e catastale of € 50 each. The taxes for the land don’t change.

If the seller is a building company and the sale takes place within 4 years after the end of the works instead of the registration tax, VAT must be paid on the purchase price; 10% VAT for non residents, 4% in the case of italian residency.

Power of Attorney:

If a purchaser does not have sufficient language abilities in Italian to comprehend the contents and stipulations of the final contract, the presence of an official interpreter is legally required. Alternatively, many buyers endow a trustworthy person of their choice with a special power of attorney (“procura speciale all’acquisto”). This document can be issued to the purchaser locally by the notary public or by the Italian consulate in his country of residence.

Three weeks after signing the new owner can pick up a certified copy of the final contract at the notary’s office.

In addition to taxes, the following expense items are payable at the time of the final contract:

Notary’s fees: Approx. 2% of the price of the property, with a minimum of about € 1.200, due at the signing of the final contract.

Surveyor’s fees: varies according to the services rendered

Agency Commission: GABETTI charges 3.66% (22% taxes included) of the purchase price (subject to a minimum of € 3500 + vat for properties valued below €100.000) to be paid within 20 days after registration of the preliminary contract (registered proposal). We will, of course, accompany you through the whole process in front of the notary and further on.

Translator’s fees: variable, subject to rate and hours worked.

Mortgage arrangement fees, typically up to 0.4% of the amount of advance and also capped at a certain amount. Please note that mortgages are subject to a mortgage tax amounting to 2% of the amount of advance (0.25% for residents).

Costs Associated with Ownership

Owning a property does of course mean you will have ongoing costs of ownership. These will vary depending on the property you are buying but potential costs that you need to be aware of, in addition to any mortgage payments you have, are: ‘Imposta Municipale Unica’ (IMU: annual property tax) calculated on the value of the property. It is payable twice a year in June and December or alltogether in June.

Tassa sui rifiuti’ Some Municipalities raise additional taxation in relation to the services that they supply to property owners in the area (similar in many ways to the UK’s council tax). These may include rubbish collection, cleaning of the streets and beaches etc.

Utilities – electricity, water, gas, telephone, internet

Condominium fees – if you buy a property which is part of a group of properties which share some communal areas – gardens, driveway, swimming pool, tennis court etc. then you will be required to pay condominium expenses. This will obviously vary depending on your share in the Condominium but you should anticipate an annual cost in the range of €1000 to €2000.