Find & Buy property

Maybe you have enjoyed one or more holidays in one of the houses and apartments that SpecialUmbria offers to rent. Or, you are on the look for a property to buy in Italy for some time. You may have seen all kinds of properties for sale during your stay in Umbria. You probably have fallen in love with the region of Umbria and you have decided to buy ‘something’. Or even, you have found a suitable place you would like to buy but you would like to really understand what you can expect before you really buy.

SpecialUmbria is available to give you the helping hand. We have gone through the entire experience ourselves and since 2008 we have successfully guided many of our clients. We see it as our aim to help you finding your dream property, assisting you to understand all the important aspects when buying and guiding you smoothly through the entire purchase process.

Special Umbria as real estate agent

Since early 2010 SpecialUmbria is a certified real estate agent registered at the Chamber of Commerce of Umbria in Perugia (PG), Italy. Always within the framework of our philosophy (see also ‘About us’ on this website) we stand for optimal service to guide you through the entire acquisition process. We guarantee extensive communication and explanation of every detail regarding the property, making also the whole buying process a smooth and pleasant experience. We are not only your estate agent, but also your guide on more (touristic) information in the region, being one of the major players in the high-end rental market in Umbria since 2008.

The role of real estate agent in Italy

The profession of real estate agent as mediator is strictly regulated by law in Italy. The agent is entitled to mediate the sale/acquisition of real estate both on behalf of the owner as well as on behalf of the buyer (double representation). Also, the agent may work for only one the parties, like only the seller or only the buyer (single representation). In any case, estate agents are required to be registered and must clearly inform any of the parties involved about their role and point out all rights and duties of all parties involved.

Only once an agent has presented a specific property to you as a potential buyer and you will eventually buy this property, this agent (and only this agent!) is entitled to receive commission from the buyer. This right for commission arises once the buyer has been informed of the signed acceptance by the seller of the offer to purchase as put forward and earlier signed by the buyer.
Commission for the mediation of the purchase is charged by SpecialUmbria against a market competitive rate (% of the purchase price of the object to buy, as agreed in writing with the selling party).

In all other cases, agents work ‘no cure, no pay’, so you are not required to pay any fee for any specific work unless explicitly agreed upfront in writing with the agent involved.
SpecialUmbria always works along these principles. At the start of any working relationship SpecialUmbria explains what it can and will do, and will submit upfront clear quotes of its fees so that a client can fully decide in freedom.

Special Umbria as search agent

We are happy to work with you as your trusted search agent. This may be at any stage of your property search, from the very beginning or even when you have already identified the object of your choice and would need advice and assistance for the next steps of buying.

We believe it’s fundamental to define your search criteria as interested buyer as clearly as possible. We would start with an intensive intake (telephone call or meeting) to discuss your ideas, wishes and needs. We will define a clear list of search criteria and its priorities. We will not only look for the house or apartment of your dreams in our own portfolio of objects and projects for sale but also within our network of trusted partner estate agents. During every further step of the purchase process from viewing houses and apartments that may be of your interest to buy (on your behalf or together with you), the negotiation process as well as the purchase formalities itself, we will guide and facilitate you.

If you prefer working with us during your search, and not via another agent, but you may have seen properties for sale that potentially interest you with another agency, we suggest taking contact with us first. We’ll be happy to contact the other agent on your behalf, introduce you as our client and obtain all the information you need. In such case, so if you have not been in previous contact with the other agent and you haven’t visited the property through the other agent, you would pay commission, obviously only if and when you actually buy, to our agency (where the other agent will charge the selling party in such case).

Your search criteria

Before we start searching together, we believe it’s fundamental to define your search criteria as interested buyer as clearly as possible. This list will enable us to find you the best property. In our experience it would be important to consider the following questions/items:

  1. Use and function

how will you use the property: as a private residence, as a business investment (acquiring via a company), as a rental object or a mix?

  1. Location (is key!)
    1. accessibility be from abroad (distance from international airports, availability of motorways, length and quality of local access roads);
    2. vicinity of direct neighbors (extent of required privacy);
    3. town planning of the direct environment (urbanization plans);
    4. position of the house/apartment (altitude and specific land characteristics (hill side, plain land, general weather conditions));
  1. Type and size of object

required minimum and maximum dimensions (sqm) and internal lay out, ruin / off plan building project or ready-to-move-in solution, eventual extra building allowance;

  1. Size of private land

required minimum and maximum dimensions (sqm), type of land (garden, wood, farmland, olive grove, vineyards, etc.);

  1. Availability of external services

proximity of villages/large cities (shops, restaurants, specific sport facilities, et cetera);

  1. Availability of internal services

supply of electricity (also photovoltaic), gas, water (mains / private well), sewage, internet and mobile telephone reception;

  1. Budget

An idea of how much you are willing to invest in total, is helpful during the search, as it shapes and focuses the search process.

Together with you we will prepare a full list of your search criteria and define its priorities.

Four steps in the purchase process

Generally, we walk down the following path with our clients where we come across the following:

  1. Orientation: Property search and selection

As laid out above, we support you in defining your search criteria and putting them down in a property search form, which enables to easily comunicate about your search.

We will start looking for suitable properties, in our own portfolio (both online and offline) and if required also within our network, e.g. with our partner colleague agents.

You may select the properties of your interest and we will organise visits for you to view these properties, accompanied by us.

All viewings through SpecialUmbria may take place, only upon appointment with at least 2-3 days’ notice.

After your viewing we will collect all the information you need, will have all your questions answered, and provide you with a so called ‘overview cost of purchase’ in order to come to a balanced evaluation of the real estate property of your choice. In this overview you may find:

  • headline technical data of the property for sale (surfaces buildings and land);
  • sales price (including eventual present furniture);
  • estimate of the technician fee for a technical survey report (if required);
  • estimate of the notary and interpreter fees;
  • stamp duties and/or VAT including any other out-of-pocket costs (registration fees) for the transfer;
  • purchase commission agency.

The listed costs are all cost related to the purchase of the real estate property and are all at the expense of the Buyer. Later in the process, once an offer to purchase is accepted, these costs will be further specified in actual quotes from every party involved. 

  1. Negotiations: Offer to purchase

If you have decided to buy a certain property, you may start the negotiation process. Through the mediation of SpecialUmbria you as a potential buyer will then negotiate the sales price and all other relevant terms, like possible suspending conditions you would like to put forward, as well as the timing of the completion. The presence of any suspending conditions means that if one or more of these suspending conditions are not overcome against a predefined timeframe, the parties may refrain from the deal without any cost. Standard suspending conditions are:

  • to be investigated at the care and expense of the seller:
  1. pre-emption rights of neighbouring land owners who are direct farmers;
  2. technical-legal compliance of the property (urbanistic and cadastral conformity);
  • to be investigated at the care and expense of the buyer:
  1. technical survey on the actual state of the buildings/swimming pool (soundness of systems and structural parts);
  2. request for (partially) financing the purchase of the property.

Obviously not all of these and also other reasonable conditions may be formulated. Usually SpecialUmbria negotiates verbally (and per email) the various conditions between both parties, unless the situation requires differently. As soon as a verbal agreement has been reached, a formal offer to purchase will be written in Italian and English by SpecialUmbria, containing at least:

  • Parties;
  • Object description;
  • Price and payment conditions;
  • Suspending conditions, if any;
  • Latest date of completion (signing of the final deed of sale).

At this stage you would supply a copy of your valid ID (passport or identity card) and address of residency. The complete offer will be signed by you as promising buyer and forwarded by SpecialUmbria to the seller, normally with a validity of 7 calendar days.

The acquisition/sale of the real estate property is a legal fact as soon as the buyer has been notified (by the agent) of the acceptance by the seller of the offer to purchase done by the buyer.

Normally, in order to secure the deal, the promising buyer makes a first down payment on the sales price of approximately EUR 10.000 to EUR 25.000 (pending the sales price / size of the property) into the escrow bank account of the notary, as deposit, once the written accepted and countersigned offer to purchase is available. At the same time, all publicity and advertisements of the property will be suspended and no further viewings or negotiations with other parties are allowed: the property is ‘under offer’.

Simultaneously with the presentation of the offer to purchase you as promising buyer will sign a collaboration agreement with SpecialUmbria for the mediation of the purchase of the property. In this agreement rights and duties of each party are laid out, including the commission arrangement. You would sign anti-money laundering statements and we hand over our privacy terms.

Also, the notary will prepare his full quote for his work, including the timing when amounts are due, which may contain:

  • advice on the formulation of conditions;
  • calculation of all stamp duties/taxes and other out-of-pocket fees to be paid;
  • keeping in escrow account on behalf of the parties sums to be paid to third parties, like price of the sale-purchase, stamp duties/taxes and other out-of-pocket fees, as well as commission for the mediating agent, if required;
  • drafting and supervising the signing of preliminary sales agreement (PSA) and final notarial deed of sale;
  • registration and transcription of PSA and final notarial deed of sale.

Then during this phase, you will need to hand over your Italian tax code. If you don’t have it yet, SpecialUmbria will assist you in obtaining this code. Last but not least, SpecialUmbria will obtain clear and comprehensive quotes not only from the notary, but also from the interpreter and, if desired to hire, also from a technician. For this, the technician will then receive a letter of quote request in which you as promising buyer will outline all aspects you wish to have investigated. Upon acceptance, these quotes will be signed (including again anti-money laundering statement and the formal assignment to the notary), and the next phase may start.

  1. Investigation of all purchase conditions: Preliminary sales agreement

Within approximately 10-15 days from the acceptance of the offer to purchase the Notary will prepare a draft preliminary sales agreement (PSA) that contains all important and essential elements of the whole deal, at least:

  • Parties;
  • Object description;
  • Price and payment conditions;
  • Suspending conditions, if any;
  • Latest date of completion (signing of the final deed of sale).

If this PSA is not signed by parties in the notary’s office, their signatures will be digitally exchanged at distance, with the help of SpecialUmbria; the exchange of original signatures follows per courier. Usually, as part of the agreements, the promising buyer wires a second down payment of 20% of the agreed sales price (minus the first down payment), as deposit, into the escrow account of the notary. 

Within maximum 3 weeks from the date in which the last party has signed, the notary is legally required to register the PSA at the Tax Authorities. For this the buyers pays a down payment on the stamp duties of 0,50% of the confirmatory down payment deposited at the notary, including some registration fees.

In the meantime, the parties proceed with their investigations of the suspending conditions, if any, and communicate its outcomes to the other party via the agent.

In case of positive outcome of all suspending conditions, none excluded, the deposit will become a confirming down payment. As part of the agreements, the confirmatory down payment will be wired to the seller by the notary: the property is ‘sold’.

It is further regulated by law that both parties, as consumer, are well protected: if a selling owner withdraws unmotivated from the countersigned preliminary sales agreement or offer to purchase, the buyer has the faculty to not only ask his or her deposit back but also ask the owner the same amount as indemnification; if on the other hand the buyer withdraws unmotivated from the deal without motivation, the owner is entitled to claim the amount of the deposit as indemnification.

  1. Purchase completion: Deed of sale

With the payment of the confirmatory down payment by the notary to the Seller, all parties will agree on a date and time to go to the notary’s office where both the seller and buyer will sign the final deed of sale in front of the notary. In the days before the signing of the deed of sale, the buyer will wire the balance of the agreed sales price into the escrow account of the notary, where she or he will simultaneously pay to the notary the balance of the owed stamp duties and/or VAT, the notary fee and other out-of-pocket cost, like registration fees and fixed stamp duties.

If one or both parties cannot be present in person, such party may send a person with legal power of attorney. In the deed of sale your full names, address of residence as well as marital status is declared, like the tax treatment you prefer (first house/residence in Italy, or not).

Upon the signing of the deed of sale the seller hands over the keys (and remote controls) of the house as well as the original (maintenance) booklet of the gas boiler, if present, herewith handing over the possession of the property to the buyer.

In the days after the signing of the deed of sale the notary will formally register the countersigned final deed of sale at the tax authorities by paying the balance of the stamp duties on behalf of the buyer and will enroll the final deed of sale in the Property Registry (Conservatoria degli Immobili) verifying that the property is free of any burden. Once this formality has been succesfully completed the balance of the sales price will be forwarded in full by the notary to the seller.

The above described procedure is the standard way in which SpecialUmbria operates during the whole process, but obviously any deal is specific and may require different steps and actions. SpecialUmbria will customise the entire procedure with all parties involved, ensuring that the interests of all parties involved are protected to their best.

Other professionals: notary, legal and financial advisors, mortgage broker, foreign currency exchange


The notary is a public official who takes note of the will of parties, whilst supervising and ensuring that such will complies with the Italian laws and that it is correctly registered at the competent public authority offices. In a purchase-sale process the buyer is required to pay the notary for his work to formalise (complete) the deal; the buyer has therefore the right to choose the notary.

Legal advisor

The involvement of a legal advisor (lawyer, sollictor, counselor) is in Italy not strictly required during the purchase process. The notary and real estate agent have the role and responsibility to overlook the entire process, make sure that all necessary documentation is obtained and verified, ensuring a smooth and legally valid process. However, if you as (potential) buyer would like to seek specific legal advice, you’re free to do so. If desired, SpecialUmbria is available to recommend an Italian law office where English-speaking professionals may communicate directly with you regarding the legal questions and issues you may want to address.

Financial advisors

Also here, the involvement of a financial advisor (lawyer, sollictor, counselor) is in Italy not strictly required during the purchase process. If you as (potential) buyer would like to seek specific legal advice, you’re free to do so. If desired, SpecialUmbria is available to recommend an Italian law office where English-speaking professionals may communicate directly with you regarding the legal questions and issues you may want to address.

Mortgage broker

If you would like to take out a mortgage loan where the property to be bought acts as a security, SpecialUmbria may recommend an independent mortgage broker. This agency would work directly with you, in English, on your mortgage application. Please note that only existing, habitable buildings are considered for this type of financing.

Foreign currency exchange

Banks can offer poor exchange rates and currency exchange volatility can significantly impact the cost of purchasing a property if you are overseas. Seeking appropriate guidance is crucial to minimise fees, manage timing, and ensure that your purchase stays within budget. We can put you in contact with a trusted broker who will work directly with you, to provide support on cost and timing of the transfer.

Other important aspects

Some other aspects that are of importance when buying property through us can be:

  • timing;
  • identity of seller;
  • rights of way;
  • taxes.

If you are interested in working with us on your property search, we are happy to discuss your wishes and needs, and we may answer all your questions regarding the entire process. In addition to this information we may send you a brochure with evne more detailed purchase guidelines. Please feel free to contact us without any obligations.

For an overview of the properties for sale in our portfolio please click here.