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Buying in Italy: the process

Buying in Italy: the process

As your agent, we will assist you throughout the buying process, which comprises 3 phases:

Offerta irrevocabile d’acquisto (written offer)

this is a legally binding document, which the buyer’s agent prepares and gives to the vendor. It contains all the details of the offer. A good agent will illustrate the offer in person where possible to maximise its impact. If the offer is accepted, the vendor countersigns the document and the offer becomes binding: both buyer and seller have entered a commitment to complete the transaction according to the terms of the offer. The vendor can no longer show the property for sale; the buyer is committed to buying at the agreed price and within the agreed timeframe (unless a material discrepancy is discovered, but this is extremely rare). Because of the binding nature of the offer, the buyer is expected to enclose a cheque to the vendor, normally about 5% of the offer price. A reputable agent will hold the cheque until the compromesso (see below) is signed, rather than handing it to the vendor. Please note that should the buyer change his/her mind or become unable to complete, the vendor is entitled to demand the cheque from the agent and cash it.

Compromesso (exchange of contracts)

This is a contract signed by the vendor and the buyer in front of a notary. The notary is acting as an independent legal advisor and is certifying the details of the transaction: land registry records, stamp duty and fees due, purchase price, timing, identity of the parties, etc. The buyer is expected to pay a deposit, usually between 20 and 30% of the final price; agency fees also become due. The cheque held in guarantee (see previous point) is returned to the buyer. Please note that the deposit is non refundable.

Contratto finale also known as Rogito (completion)

this is an official act carried out in front of the notary who again acts “for the transaction” and not for a specific party. The balance becomes due on the day, the notary has to warrant that all amounts are cleared and correspond to the sums declared in the contract. Title officially passes to the buyer on this day.

Buying in Italy: FEES AND TAXES

The buyer is responsible for the following:

Agency fees, due at the time of compromesso

3% of purchase price plus VAT.

Stamp duty and notary fees (paid jointly), due at the time of completion

amount varies depending on the type of property, whether it is a second home or the main residency, whether it is classified as a business (a typical example is a house which is used a hotel or B&B).
Your agent will be able to advise you as to the exact costs before you make an offer (this is important as the written offer is binding).