Buying in Italy

Buying in Italy


Tips for buying property in Puglia Italy

How the purchase process works

If you are thinking of buying a property in Puglia Italy, you would probably know how the italian property purchase process works. Here’s a small guide.
Firstly, you should check the credentials of the people you are buying from, therefore if buying through an agent ask for a proof. They must be registered at the Chamber of Commerce of the province where the business is located. The companies must have the IVA number, also known partita iva, (the equivalent of the VAT number) that every business must have and the R.E.A. number.
You might find people who decide not to be registered at the Chamber of Commerce simply because it’s required to have a long course and an exam at the end. These so called agents, such as architects, engineers, geometras and so on,  cannot legally trade without licence. Moreover, if you decide to acquire a property through one of these, you need to be aware that you are not protected during the buying process: should something go wrong, you have zero come back. Of course, you are more than free to decide to avail yourself of the services of a professional agent or not, basically we just want to suggest not to risk your investment.
This said, once you have decided on a property, you should make a verbal offer on it. In case of agreement by the owner, here is the step by step procedure:
1) Check out all the documents on the property.
Property title. This is one of the most important document regarding a property, on which are identified the owner/s, the cadastral details of the property (the cadastral parcels), the permission of building etc..
Permission of building. The permission of building is a document needed in the purchase process, as on that it’s specified if the property has been built according to the Italian laws (Testo Unico dell’Edilizia); If a house has, for example, a room that is not registered on the floorplan or if has not a planning permit, the property cannot be sold. On the contrary, if there is the possibility to submit a planning permit to the commune where the property is located in order to “legalize” what is not registered, the owner must do it. Once the owner get the planning permit, the ownership of the property will be transferred from him to the buyer in front of the Notary Public. In some cases the planning permission is not required, we understand it might seem strange to you: until the 1st of September 1967 the planning permits were not required to build a house in the countryside, therefore if the building you are going to acquire is mentioned on the property title of the seller as “fabbricato rurale, rudere, trullo, masseria” etc. “built before the date above”, the planning permit is not needed.
Cadastral searches. The cadastral searches includes the visura catastale, which is a document issued by the Italian revenue office that specifies the details of the property identified on the map of the area, and the planimetria catastale (the floorplan registered at the revenue office). We collect all of these documents before the property is on the market, in order to have a clear idea of the property we have for sale.
Energy performance certificate (attestato di prestazione energetica – APE).  It’s required by the law to attach this certificate to the deed of sale, and to the rental contracts, too. Basically, it contains information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs and recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.
Legal inspections (people checks and debs checks) are carried out by the Notary, who is a public official responsible for the stipulation and the registration of the Final Public Act.
Usually, we check out all the paperworks before the preliminary contract is signed in order to protect the buyer. Of course, you are more than free to have a geometra (surveyor) to help you in buying a property, and to contact a lawyer for your own peace of mind.
Basically, a property should have: the title, a cadastral plan registered at the Registry Office, the Energy Performance Certificate and the permission of building. As above mentioned, in some cases, a planning permit doesn’t exist if the house was built before the 1st of September 1967. Since that date on, the law also termed in Italy “Legge Ponte”, requires the planning permit to build in the countryside. In this specific cases the permission of building is not required.
2) Getting a fiscal code (codice fiscale), the codice fiscale in Italy is similar to the National Insurance Number (UK) and the Social Security Number card (USA). It basically serves to identify unambiguously individuals residing in Italy and enables to open a bank account, get the connection to utilities etc.. It is issued by the Revenue Office (Agenzia delle Entrate).
3) Opening bank account. An Italian bank account is needed to purchase the property (it’s required to pay the balance to the owner of the property with Italian means), to pay the bills of the utilities, taxes etc.
4) Irrevocable purchase proposal (Proposta irrevocabile d’ acquisto). The irrevocable purchase proposal is a document that is drawn up by the registered estate agents and represents the intent by purchaser to block a property. Usually it is signed by the buyer first, and includes all the details of the property, including cadastral details, the offer made by the potential buyer, the amount of the deposit etc.. Sometimes we skip this step, and go directly to the preliminary contract. For example, if you have made a verbal offer on a property you are interested in, and the seller has accepted, we agree to go straight to the point, the preliminary contract in other words.
5) Preliminary contract of sale (Compromesso/Preliminare di vendita). The preliminary contract, also known “compromesso” or “preliminare di vendita” in Italy, is a legally binding contract drawn up the estate agent, a lawyer or a notary public, that establishes the selling price which the both parties have agreed to, the date by which the sale will be stipulated in front of the notary public and other agreements if any. It’s recognized and governed by the Italian Civil Code.
6) Final deed (Rogito/Atto pubblico di compravendita). The final deed (or deed of sale) is the public document through which the property is transferred from the owner/s to the buyer/s, and is stipulated by the notary public (a public officer representing the Italian government and standing as a neutral party) with all the guarantees that a notary offers. The balance to the seller is paid at this stage, and the means of payment are mentioned on the deed. If you don’t speak Italian, it’s required by the law to have a copy of it translated into your language, and the presence of a translator at the signing of the deed, unless the notary speaks your language. Once the final deed is stipulated, the notary will provide to register it to the Registry Office (Conservatoria dei Registri Immobiliari) within one month from the stipulation of the deed of sale.
7) Agent fee. As mentioned in the About us page, the estate agent in Italy according to The Italian Civil Code (art. 1754), doesn’t work for a party in particular, and its own activity materializes in getting in touch two or more parties for the conclusion of a deal.
Basically, both the seller and the buyer avail themselves of the service of the estate agent, who charge a fee (commission) which is usually 3% plus VAT of the agreed selling price.. Even though the higher price, the lower fee. Generally speaking, for properties up to 100.000 fee is 3% plus VAT. Please, note the commission is not spread by the parties (the seller and the buyer) but it’s paid by both..
8) Taxes. Speaking of taxes in this small guide, it all depends on if you wish to establish your residence in Italy. If so, you will pay notary’s fee (it depends on the property price), Registry tax 2% of the cadastral value, a fixed cadastral tax (€ 50), a fixed mortgage tax (€ 50, nothing to do with mortgage). If not, you will pay notary’s fee (it depends on the property price), Registry tax 7% of the cadastral value, Cadastral tax 1% of the cadastral value, Mortgage tax 1% (nothing to do with mortgage). The taxes are calculated with the cadastral value of the property, which is lower than the property price. This means you will pay less taxes when stipulating the final deed of sale.