buying a property in Italy

Buying a property in Italy: Legal Consideration

Are you thinking about purchasing a property in Italy? Are you finally fulfilling your dream of moving to Italy, or are you simply considering an investment in the country?

Don’t worry, no matter what your reason is for deciding to buy a property in Italy, in this guide, we will explain all the steps to follow when embarking on this exciting and challenging journey.

The first thing to do is to find the property to buy. In Italy, there are many websites where you can find properties for sale. It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak Italian, as many of these sites are multilingual. An interesting website with thousands of listings is You can also rely on a real estate agency and get assistance throughout the purchasing process from a qualified real estate agent.

Now that you’ve found the property in Italy to buy, let’s see what the next steps are.

The first step after finding your dream property in Italy is to conduct checks to ensure that everything is in order. Two important documents that provide a complete overview of the property you want to buy, are the “visura catastale” (cadastral registry extract) and the “visura ipotecaria” (mortgage registry extract).

The “visura catastale” is a sort of ID card for the property. It includes information about the building’s dimensions, category, cadastral income (essential for calculating various taxes), property use type (e.g., commercial space, villa, office, etc.), and the owner’s details.

The “visura ipotecaria” is important to determine if the property you intend to buy in Italy is free from encumbrances such as liens or mortgages. Additionally, you can find out if the person selling the property is the true owner and if there are any recorded preliminary contracts, etc. Both the “visura catastale” and “visura ipotecaria” have low costs and can also be requested online. Here is a link to a website where you can purchase these documents, and they offer assistance and support in English.

In any case, before finalizing the purchase contract, the notary, who will draft the contract, will carry out cadastral and mortgage checks to ensure that the transaction is in full compliance with Italian regulations. However, it’s always advisable to perform a preliminary check to avoid wasting time and money in lengthy negotiations and trips.

If the negotiation is successful and an agreement is reached between the buyer and the seller, the final step is to formalize the agreement through a public deed with a notary.

Before discussing this topic, it’s important to note that it’s not always possible to finalize the contract immediately after reaching an agreement. Consider the case where the property is under construction, or it’s currently leased to third parties and the lease contract has yet to expire. The scenarios can vary. In all these situations, the parties can enter into a preliminary sales contract. With this contract, the buyer commits to purchasing from the seller, and the seller commits to selling to the buyer at a later date after the agreement has been reached.

The last step to achieve the goal of purchasing a property in Italy is the signing of the purchase agreement, or the final contract if a preliminary sales contract had been established.

In Italy, real estate purchase contracts are drafted by a notary and are subject to registration in the public real estate records. During this phase, the notary, responsible for drafting the contract, will carry out all necessary checks to ensure that the transaction is concluded in full compliance with current regulations and the rights of the parties involved. As mentioned earlier, the notary will perform cadastral checks to ensure the property is duly registered in the national Cadastre, as well as mortgage checks to verify any encumbrances on the property. For the contract’s conclusion, an updated cadastral plan and an energy certification of the property are also necessary.

After all the checks have been completed, the notary will set a date for contract signing. At this point, the transaction can be considered complete, and the buyer will have acquired the property rights.

After the contract is signed, the notary will handle its registration in the real estate records. Registration is crucial to allow third parties to know who the new property owner is.

One last aspect to consider when buying a property in Italy is taxation and the taxes to be paid. The topic is quite complex, as Italian law encompasses various cases and exceptions. Generally, a foreigner purchasing a property in Italy, whether from an individual or a company, must pay the “imposta di registro” (registration tax), which is 9% of the property’s value, the “imposta ipotecaria” (mortgage tax) of 50 euros, and the “imposta catastale” (cadastral tax) of 50 euros. However, the topic is more intricate, and specific circumstances must be considered to accurately determine the taxes to be paid at the time of contract signing when purchasing a property in Italy.

Finally, if you’re considering buying a property in Italy, you should also take into account the fee to be paid to the notary for drafting the purchase agreement. If the purchase is facilitated through a real estate agency, there will also be a fee for the agency’s services.

A question that is often asked is whether legal assistance is necessary for purchasing property in Italy. Italian law doesn’t specifically require it, but considering that the buyer is a foreigner and language barriers may exist if they’re unfamiliar with Italian language, it’s advisable to rely on an Italian lawyer for assistance throughout the purchase procedure. Additionally, practical issues can arise that are quite complex. Consider the situation where the buyer not only wants to purchase the property but also intends to make modifications. It’s not always possible, as there may be restrictions that prevent changes to the property. For all these reasons, seeking legal advice is recommended.

If you’re thinking about buying a property in Italy, contact us for a free consultation with one of our specialized Italian property lawyers.

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