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All residential property is freehold and the title is registered
Agency fees are paid by the vendor and by the purchaser at the time of the “compromesso” or private contract. The agent must be registered with the local Chamber of Commerce and his fee ranges from 2% to 5% of the total amount (if it seems a lot of money, consider that there is a lot of work involved in a transaction and a good agent will save you time, money and worry).
Negotiation
Once the right property is found and an agreement with the vendor is reached, after negotiation conducted by the local intermediary possibly with some reasonable reduction of price, a “reservation document” is generally required with a “booking” fee deposited with the agent. Now you need to settle on the terms of the sale, with all the details which will be clearly written in the “compromesso”.
Survey
At this stage it is advisable to employ a “geometra” for the professional survey of the building and the necessary checks with the local authority to ensure that the property complies with legal requirements and regulations to be saleable. The geometra produces a written report, encouraged to point out any possible problems before the final contract.
Compromesso (Exchange of contracts)

This is the private contract containing all the details of the purchaser and the vendor, as well as the property being sold. It specifies the purchase price, the date of completion and the balance due at that time and the deposit paid with the contract, which is 30% of the sale price.

The compromesso is not a legal document ( but it can be registered as such) but an agreement reached by vendor and purchaser , drawn up between them with or without legal help.

In most cases, the purchaser instructs the Notary, who will eventually draw up the final contract , to write the compromesso. The Notary is a public official but not a lawyer, he does not give legal advice, his function is to witness the signature of the title deeds and to deal with specific administrative matters.

In case of large investments or properties that present problems it is therefore advisable to relay on a reputable law firm.

The compromesso is usually registered by the buyer as a legal document to be lodged with the local Registration Tax Office on payment of a small tax and any fee due to the estate agent is paid at this time.

The compromesso is a binding document: if the purchase fails to complete on the specified date he will forfeit the deposit paid, if the vendor fails to give certain guarantees about the saleability of the property he shall return double the deposit.

 
Completion
In the time between the first payment and the final contract the Notary, instructed and paid by the purchaser, will prepare the necessary documents and undertake the necessary searches to verify that the vendor can indeed meet the promises made to the purchaser.

The completion takes place in the Notaio’s office in the presence of the two parties concerned (or their representative) and he reads out the details of the transaction, ensuring that all aspects are understood and agreed before the signing of the new title (Rogito) which is the title document proving who is the
owner of the property and containing a detailed description of the it.

As the Notaio’s duty is also to collect taxes on behalf of the government, this is the stage at which the buyer will pay over him the registration and transfer taxes, as well as his fee.

The Land Registry fee (imposta di registro) is for instance in the range of 10% of the declared value of the transaction. This declared value is decided by the purchaser with advice from lawyer or geometra and it has to exceed the “Automatic Valuation” of the property as defined by the Land Registry (Catasto) which can differ from the market value and the agreed price.

Example: according to the Catasto the value of a property is £100,000 and its market value is £300,000. The purchaser who buy at £300,000 can register the property at a value of 150,000 in order to pay less taxes. It is quite normal and perfectly legal for property to change hands at a declared price of 50% of the amount actually paid.

The Notaio then sends off the Rogito to the Land Registry so that the new ownership can be inscribed in the register; it can take a long time but it doesn’t affect the ownership rights of the new proprietor in any
way.

 
Cost for the purchaser

The Land Registry fee (10% of the declared value- much less in practice)

The Notary fee ( 1,50% of the amount paid to the vendor)
The Geometra fee ( in the range of £1,200)

The Agency fee (generally 2.5% of the agreed price)

Roughly, you have to allow 11% on top of your purchase price for taxes, Notaio, surveyor, agency and the various “Bolli” ( stamps needed to legalize most Italian official documents)

Speaking of taxes, in order to own a property in Italy you must obtain a “Codice Fiscale” which enables you to pay your property taxes, buy insurance and so on.

Our agencies can help with the procedure as well as they can provide the services of experienced surveyors and notaries, reliable legal firms and banks with special departments dealing with clients abroad, qualified architecture firms and competent builders for restoration or modification of your property.

They could also arrange for new contracts with the main utilities and handle the estate managements in your absence: knowing that an efficient company will pay your bills, keep your accounts, organise any work and check the property from time to time can transform a burden in a pleasure, allowing you to fully appreciate your new home abroad and to enjoy it thoroughly.

 
Conclution

Approaching the transaction with an open mind is essential. In Italy you can always find a solution. You not only buy a house but a style of life: Italy is a wonderful country offering a fantastic climate, excellent food, delicious wines, friendly people and a relaxed atmosphere surrounded by history, art, culture and natural beauty.


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