House Buying Process in Italy
Who can buy
Fortunately, most expats can buy real estate in Italy with no restrictions. UK, USA, Canadian, EU nationals can buy property in Italy whether or not they live in the country. The same goes for citizens of any other country (which is the majority of countries) that has a similar reciprocal agreement with Italy. This means that if Italians can buy a property in your home country, then you can buy a property in Italy.
Before proceeding with the purchase you need to make a tax code or “codice fiscale”, that is a like a social security number used for signing contracts, getting paid and opening accounts in Italy.
This is an alphanumeric code that identifies citizens, non-citizens, residents and non-residents, in all dealings with Italian public authorities. While the Tax Code is assigned by birth to Italian citizens, it is assigned upon request to non-Italian citizens and residents. Foreign citizens can apply for an Italian Tax Code at any Italian Consulate or at any Italian Revenue Agency office (“Agenzie delle Entrate”). Our agency will deal with this directly with Revenue Agency so it’s something you have not to think about.
Many website said that it’s necessary open a bank account in Italy: NO, IT’S NOT NECESSARY, you could easily open it once the final deed is done. Exclusive Property will assist you for both case without further charges. With the current scenario could be little more difficult (war, recession etc.) for not resident people.
To make the deal becomes binding for both parties the next step is drawing a preliminary agreement or a compromesso with which the seller and the buyer engage themselves to sell and buy the property. In the contract, there are details about the parties, the sale price, the amount of the deposit, the completion date and details referring the property. The Agency will collect all the necessary documents related to the property as: cadastral maps, title deeds, registered mortgages and any other required legal information. When the preliminary agreement is signed, it’s necessary, according to the law, record it to the Income Revenue Authority (charged to the buyer).
The next step is the payment of a deposit, that consists in a percentage (not fixed) of the whole price of the property.
According to art. 1385 of the Italian Civil Code, if the vendor decides not to sell the property after having signed the preliminary sale contract and collected the deposit, he must pay the purchasing party back twice the sum received.
In Italy therefore it is highly unlikely that a vendor will contemplate paying back double the sum by changing his mind after the preliminary contract has been signed. In the same time if the buyer withdraw from the contract, he will lose the deposit.
The Notary is a public officer appointed by the Italian Ministry of Justice. He/She acts as a third party who is independent of both the seller and the buyer.
He ensures that the conveyance of the property complies with all legal requirements, in the common interests of both the buyer and seller.
The notaio or notary public has the responsibility of performing due diligence and he acts for both parties.
The Notary Public is not the same as a British solicitor. Here in Italy he must only guarantee that the deed is legal, that the house is in order and that the payment is made in a legal manner. The final deed is a legal document drawn up by the Notary, the formal handover of the property will take place by signing the deed and paying the remaining amount in front of the Notary.
Power of attorney
The power of attorney can be used for many purpose, one of this is to buy or sell Italian property. A Power of Attorney (PoA) is document which allows an individual (the “principal”) to grant another person (a trusted person) the power to act on his or her behalf and represent him or her legally.
It is used in the case you are in the process of purchasing a property in Italy, but do not have time or in case of pandemic, the chance to travel to Italy to make the formalities. It’s often used even if you can be present to make the final deed, this applies when the principal does not speak Italian and his/her signature is required in front of an Italian notary public. More specifically, when a non-Italian speaking party is involved in person in a notarial deed (such as a property transaction), the law requires such deed to be drawn up in two languages, i.e., in Italian and in a language understood by the non-Italian speaking party. Also, the law requires that an interpreter is present for the entire duration of the meeting.
The PoA is in Italian and in the language of the principal.
A power of attorney can be signed abroad in your country. It’s enough to sign it in front of any foreign Public Notary or a solicitor there who speaks Italian too, who will authenticate the signature. After this, an Apostille is necessary to complete the PoA made abroad. The Apostille is an official certification authenticated by the Competent Authorities designated by the State. Each State has a different Authority which issue the Apostille, the consulate or the embassy, National Apostille office, Government office or Tribunal.
Closing usually takes six to eight weeks. But for bureaucratical reason sometimes could take longer.
When you own the property you need to transfer under your name the utilities as water, electricity. Also in this case we will assist you without any added charges. To make some renovation we can help you too; we offer an advice-only consultancy service. If you need a full consultation and quote, we have a number of trusted contractors experienced in dealing with residential properties of all sizes, types, ages and conditions, to help you find the perfect solution which is the best for your needs.