The process of buying a house in Italy

1) The first thing you need is the fiscal code (codice fiscale). It is an identification code calculated on the basis of your surname, your names, the place and the date of your birth. You use it any time you will deal with the Authorities.

    2) It is necessary to open a bank account in Italy not only to transfer the funds (we can also suggest you a company of currency exchange) for the completion (as the final payment normally happens in Italian bankers drafts) but also to get the various utilities paid automatically.

3) Once you have decided to buy the property you like, the negotiation starts with a written offer, with a description of the property, all its fiscal and town planning details, the payment conditions and a deadline for the final purchase deed. Also you will leave a deposit which you will get back if the offer is not accepted by the seller.

4) We can check that the sale documents are correct, verify the title of the property at the cadastral office, control the plans of the property and its land, the boundaries, rights of way across the land, etc.

5) The next step could be a preliminary agreement of sale (compromesso), which will specifies what is sold and the price that will be paid for it. Usually, when signing the preliminary contract, the purchaser will pay a security deposit, which only gets passed on to the vendor once the vendor has signed the contract. Often, if there are conditional clauses written into the contract, the agent will hang on to your deposit cheque and it will only be handed to the vendor once these clauses have been adhered to. Usually the cheque for the deposit is about 10% of the purchase price. If the sellers pull out after the preliminary is signed they will have to pay you the double of your deposit. If you pull out, you'll lose your money. According to new rules the estate agent has to register the preliminary contract within a month of signing, and the cost of registering will be passed on to you, the client, though it does not cost so much. Part of the cost of registering the preliminary contract will be discounted from the final taxes to pay upon signing the deed of purchase.

6) The final sales deed is carried out by a notary of your choice, the professional authority to execute legal sale. The Notary guarantees the property clear title and takes care of any other problems pertinent to the property. The purchaser will have to pay all the expenses tied to this deed, both the notary fees and sale taxes. You need to be present to sign the documents in front of the notary and if you don't speak fluent Italian you'll be assisted by a translator and the contract will be read in both languages. If you cannot be present you can always do a Power of Attorney, which the notary will prepare and you will need to get apostilled by a lawyer in the country you live in.