Tips to Buy a Property in Italy

Buying a property in Italy can currently be a very advantageous investment both for the performance of the Italian real estate market, and for the...
Italian Real Estate

Silvia S

Buying a property in Italy can currently be a very advantageous investment both for the performance of the Italian real estate market, and for the facilitated taxation if you decide to move your residence to Italy, both for the wonderful landscapes and for the excellent food that the Italian territory offers.

If you decide to buy a property in Italy, you need to follow some rules:

  • Verify that the seller is the real owner of the property to be purchased and check what his “regime patrimoniale” is: if the seller is in a communion of goods regime (comunione dei beni), the spouse must be consenting to the sale except in the case of personal property (for example received by succession or donation). If the seller is in a separation of goods regime (separazione dei beni), the presence of the spouse is not necessary because it is a personal asset. The extract of the marriage certificate (estratto dell’atto di matrimonio) is the document necessary to prove the regime patrimoniale between the spouses. On the marriage certificate, after the wedding, the regime patrimoniale chosen by the spouses is transcribed: for marriages contracted until 20 September 1975, the regime that was automatically applied was that of the separazione dei beni; for marriages contracted from 20 September 1975 onwards, the automatic regime, unless otherwise provided, is that of comunione dei beni. Spouses, even after marriage, can opt for the separazione dei beni. This choice will result in the extract from the marriage certificate in the “Annotazioni” section.
  • Request a visura catastale of the property. It containing the personal data of the owners, the quota assigned by the offices of the land registry, the location of the property and the cadastral data of the property (lot, sheet, parcel or land register, subordinate, category, number of rooms, surface and the cadastral income). This document is issued by the local office at the Agenzia delle Entrate, but can also be requested by the Notary. The visura catastale is not sufficient to guarantee ownership of a property because the “catasto” is not evidentiary of the property according to Italian law.
  • Always ask the seller, before signing the preliminary contract, for a copy of the deed of purchase of the property (title of origin) which can be a notarial deed, a succession report, a judge’s judgment. It is important to request the deed of origin of the property to verify that the last deed of origin is not a deed of donation, and that there have been no donations in the last 20 years because they could be subject to hereditary problems, unless you decide to opt for the stipulation of an insurance policy. This information can be obtained freely, in a short time and without the owner being able to object because in Italy the news relating to the transfer of ownership of properties are public as well as those relating to events such as mortgages, foreclosures or judicial applications.
  • Carry out a mortgage inspection (ispezione ipotecaria) by requesting a mortgage certificate (visura ipotecaria) from which you can view all the information regarding the types of formalities on the property such as transcriptions (indicate all the deeds of transfer of the property), registrations (indicate the presence of any mortgages) and annotations (indicate in addition to any cancellations of mortgages the presence of foreclosures).
  • Check the regularity of all town planning documents. In particular, verify the actual existence of the title to build, that the property is actually stacked and that the cadastral plan reflects the actual situation. In addition, any building abuse must be excluded and if there are small remediable differences to deal with it should be the seller.
  • The buyer is responsible, together with the seller, for the debts left by them for the condominium fees for the current year and the previous year if it is not included in the deed of sale that these expenses will be paid by the seller. It is therefore always better to ask the administrator for a statement on the status of payments; the seller must obtain the said declaration from the administrator. It is important to verify that the previous owner has paid all the ordinary condominium fees and that no extraordinary works have been approved.
  • The buyer must have the certificate of viability (certificato di agibilità) issued because in the absence of it, he may refuse to deed the deed of sale or to sign the preliminary agreement.
  • The seller is obliged to provide the documentation certifying the energy class of the property by delivering the APE (attestato di prestazione energetica) to the buyer (energy performance certificate) and above all for the systems built after 2008 a certificate of conformity must be provided while for those previous, the certificate of compliance is sufficient.
  • In order to protect the citizen, the Italian State requires that the purchase contract be entered into by a notary, an impartial public official, who guarantees compliance with all the law.
  • Inquire about the services that are in the area, if it is well connected by public transport, if there are green areas or schools or shops and this to avoid buying a house in a residential area that does not have the appropriate services.
  • Once the property to be purchased has been identified, it is necessary to go to the Agenzia delle Entrate to obtain the Italian codice fiscale which is required in order to enter into the public deed of purchase or compromise.
  • If you decide to transfer your residence to Italy, taxation of the deed of purchase can be requested at a discount of 2% otherwise it is 9% always on the cadastral value (valore catastale) of the property to be purchased.