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).
|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”.
|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.
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
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.
|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
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
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
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
|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.
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.