Steps when buying property
SpecialUmbria can support you with every necessary step in the buying process. We will provide you with all the information you need and can mediate any professional help that you may want to hire in Italy from technicians, lawyers or an accountant.
Once you have identified the property you would like to buy, you can go immediately to the notary with the seller to sign a final deed of sale, but this is quite rare. Normally three rather straightforward steps will have to be taken to become owner of the property of your choice:
- Negotiation / definition of terms and conditions
Through the mediation of SpecialUmbria you as a potential buyer will negotiate the sales price and all other relevant terms, like timing and eventual suspending conditions. The latter means that if one or more of these suspending conditions are not overcome, the parties can refrain from the deal without any cost. The acquisition/sale of the real estate object 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.
- Offer to purchase or preliminary sales agreement with (suspending) conditions
As soon as all terms and conditions of the sale have been defined, these will be written down in a bilingual contract called offer to purchase or preliminary sales agreement that the parties will countersign. Normally the buyer will pay a deposit that will become a confirming down payment as soon as all conditions have been overcome. SpecialUmbria advises to leave the deposit in an escrow bank account held by the notary chosen by the buyer.
It is possible but not mandatory to sign this preliminary sales agreement in front of the notary and have it registered (and transcribed) at the Real Estate Register, as are all final deeds of sale.
It is regulated by law that the buyer as a consumer is well protected: if an owner withdraws from the signed preliminary sales agreement or offer to purchase, the buyer is entitled 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 from the sale, the owner is entitled to claim the deposit as indemnification.
- Final deed of sale
As soon as all suspending conditions have been overcome, the parties will agree on a time and date to go to the notary where both the seller and buyer will sign the final deed of sale. The balance of the agreed sales price will be paid at the same day and the owner will leave the keys of the house and gives the property into possession of the buyer.
The notary in Italy is a public officer who’s entitled to stipulate official deeds that are publically registered. Real estate transactions are an important example of these deeds. As a trusted person the notary has an escrow bank account where he may take in custody any down payment that is done by a buyer who’s awaiting the outcome of suspending conditions agreed at the sale.
Also, in case one or both parties may not be able to be present in person at signing the deed of sale, the notary is the person in front of whom you can sign a proxy power, delegating a trusted third person to sign the preliminary agreement or final deed of sale on your behalf.
Last but not least, the notary in Italy is an important advisor on all kind of heritage and private law topics that may be of interest for anyone buying or owning property in Italy.
Other important professional figures
During the buying process you may want to have investigated certain issues that are related to the property you would like to buy or to your personal position in Italy. It is not mandatory to hire any professionals, but SpecialUmbria is available to bring you in contact with anyone from its trusted network who might be of help. We can help you with translations, asking for a quote for the services you require and a written assignment before you start. Professional figures you may think of are:
- Technicians (architect / geometra / engineer / geologist)
A geometra is a central technical figure who can represent you on all your necessary contacts with the Council, Province and other technicians. Possible assistance by any of the technicians can entail:
- performing technical survey
- inquire for the change of (local) roads to improve accessibility or privacy
- use extra/remaining building allowance
- present construction plans and obtain permissions/authorizations (buildings, swimming pool, well)
- Legal assistance (lawyer)
A lawyer may check all your contracts, verify several duties and rights and represent you (in any legal course of act).
- Tax advice (accountant / bookkeeper)
It is very common in Italy to hire an account/bookkeeper (‘commercialista’) who handles all your tax issues. Tax authorities in Italy not always write you in person on what you are supposed to declare or pay, but you are still obliged to declare and pay! The accountant may support on:
- tax implications when buying
- business advice: setting up an Italian company owning the property or founding a second seat in Italy of your home based business entity
- assistance on tax returns when restoring and when renting out
- Financing property (mortgages)
SpecialUmbria can assist you in finding the right bank or intermediary that may support you in financing the property of your choice with a mortgage and/or any other financial product. Amongst others we may recommend:
Hypotheek & Buitenland is a Netherlands based, independent and authorized intermediary that exclusively focuses on mortgages for private properties in Europe.
Acquisition costs when buying
The Italian law makes a clear distinction on who needs to bear which cost when acquiring a property in Italy, unless explicitly other agreements are taken.
At owner’s expense are:
- All mandatory paper work related to the property like:
- Notarial deed(s) of acquisition
- All permissions, authorizations and communications to and from the several competent authorities (like Council and Province) related to the property to be sold
- Correct land registry data, maps and plans (renderings, lay outs) in correspondence with the actual situation
- All certificates: urban destination, habitability, gas/hydraulic/electrical conformity, energy performance
It is the owners duty to submit all the above documentation, eventually via his or her geometra’.
At buyer’s expense are:
- Stamp duties
These are the taxes to be paid via the notary to the Italian State for transferring the property from the former owner to the new one. If you will become resident in Italy within 18 months from the moment you buy the property you pay 3% on the land registry value (in some cases on the agreed sales price, e.g. when you buy with a business entity) or 9% if you buy the property as a second residence. On any agricultural land you acquire you always pay 12% on the agreed sales price of this land.
- Secretarial and registration rights
The notary will sustain secretarial and registration fees for registering the deed of sale at the Real Estate Register as well as presenting the change of ownership at the Land Registry.
- Notary’s fee
The notary’s fee is based upon the value of the real estate subject to the sale and quoted upfront via SpecialUmbria.
- Agent’s fee
SpecialUmbria charges a local market competitive fee in terms of a % of the agreed sales price, with a down payment once the negotiation is finalized (counter signed offer to purchase or preliminary sales agreement) and the balance at the final deed of sale with the notary.
- Optional: eventual fees for professionals (technician, lawyer, accountant) assigned by the buyer
As indicated above, these fees are only to be borne if you commission any work to a professional. Please note that professional fees are subject to VAT. Next to this technicians are obliged to ask in their bill for the contribution to their profession specific national (unemployment) fund (2-4% on the billable sum depending the profession).
For all of the above fees SpecialUmbria assists you to obtain clear and detailed quotes upfront before you sign any collaboration agreement or notarial deed.
If you are interested in working with us on your property search we are happy to discuss your wishes and needs. Feel free to contact us without any obligations. For an overview of the properties for sale in our portfolio click here.