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Buying a house in Italy – step by step procedure

Are you coming to the Riviera with a dream of buying a house in Italy? To be able to purchase, you must first apply for the Codice Fiscale in Italy. The Codice Fiscale is the analogue of the BSN Citizen Service Number in the Netherlands, Tax Code in the United Kingdom or Steuer-ID in Germany. The operation is free and the request is made by presenting to the Revenue Agency “Agenzia delle Entrate” with the passport. The passport and the Tax Code are the only documents you need to sign the purchase contract with the Notary.


When you have found the house, first of all you want to block it with an offer. In Italy the offers for the house do not rise, as often happens in England. Instead, you can try to offer a lower price that for what it is listed. Without exaggerating! Typically, with 10% less you have a good chance that your offer will be accepted by the owner.


But let’s go step by step. You came to the agency, you saw the photos of the house, we accompanied you to see it. Here it is! This is the house you wanted!


Let’s go back to the agency and sign the purchase proposal. The proposal will have a deadline, generally set at 15 days, within which the owner must accept or reject the offer. With the purchase proposal you will make a sum available to the seller as your first deposit. The amount can be as small as 5,000 Euro, at your choice. This deposit will be retained in our agency until the proposal is approved by the owner. If the owner of the house changes his mind after accepting the offer, he will have to give you back double the deposit. Of course, if you pull back, you will only lose the deposit itself.

The purchase proposal can also have a condition. For example, it can be conditional on the approval of a mortgage. Or, conditional on the approval of a building construction project (such as a balcony or a swimming pool). When the proposal has a condition, the deposit remains in the agency until the condition is fulfilled. If the condition fails (you do not obtain the approval of the mortgage / building permit), the deposit is not lost, but returned to you fully.


Your proposal has been accepted, hooray! It is the best time to request the Codice Fiscale and prepare for the signing of the preliminary sales contract (contratto preliminare, compromesso). This will be your first meeting with the owners of the house. At the preliminary contract you will pay a more substantial deposit, generally 20% of the purchase price. Obviously, all the deposits paid will be deducted from the agreed price, and at the final Notarial Deed you will pay the difference.

The compromesso does not have the obligation of the presence of the Notary, but will have the obligation to be registered within 20 days of signing. An unregistered preliminary contract faces fines equal to, or greater than, 15% of the house price! But don’t worry, the Agency will take care of the registration of the preliminary. Registration costs are 200.00 Euros, regardless of the price of the house, plus extras (2 or more revenue stamps of 16.00 and 0.50% of the deposit). All registrations, notary and tax costs are the responsibility of the buyer. But you also decide the timing and choose the Notary! In the office we have at your disposal a list of the best Notaries in the area with whom we have been collaborating for many years, and we can ask for the most advantageous quotes for you.


The final sprint to get ownership of your new home is the Notarial Deed. No hurry! The notary needs time to organise with us all the necessary documents and checks on the legality of the process. Minimum time is one month, but more commonly it would be 4 months. This means that you will have time to prepare for the payment and the move! There are several controls made to buy the house. We will help the Notary since in the meantime we have already collected most of the necessary documents and licenses on the house;)


In the event that you, buyer, do not (yet) speak the romantic Italian language, you will need to have a translator appointed under the notary law to intervene in the presence of the Notary. In the agency we have certified English and Russian speaking staff. For other languages, we have a list of translators available externally. The notarial deed must be followed by a written translation into a foreign language certified by the official translator, in accordance with the Italian text.


At the Notarial Deed the costs you will have to bear are:


– The house price, minus the two deposits.

– Taxes. These are of three types: di registro, ipotecarie and catastali. Taxes vary depending on whether you intend to bring your residence into the house, but also if the seller is a physical person or a construction company. We Agency will help you understand how much these fees will be.

– Notary’s price. This depends on the price of the house. Each notary has its own price list. We Agency will request quotes on your behalf, but in general you can count on spending between 2000 and 3500 Euro.

– Agency commission, 3% of the house price.

– Any price of the translation of the final deed of sale.

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Your dream for buying a house in Italy is coming true. Final result? The happiness of owning property on the Riviera! Your Dolce Vita start!

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