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The Buying Process

For whatever reason you have decided to buy a house in Italy, there are some things you need to know and to prepare, to make the buying process as smooth as possible.

At a first glance the process to buy a property in Italy may appear complicated and bureaucratic, but don’t hesitate; with a registered estate agent by your side it will be easy and safe.

In Italy it is common that an estate agent doesn’t have the exclusive right to sell a property. The owner may have the house registred for sale at more than one agency.

The property is shown to one potential buyer at a time, most often by both the real estate agent and the owner. Below you can read more about the procedure. Please keep in mind; the agent and the notary will be handling most steps below to make the process easy for you. 

Remember – this is only a guideline, and it is written in general terms. Get yourself a load of patience and curiosity, and you’ll have a great opportunity to learn a lot about the place you might live in and the people who may be your future neighbours.


1. Get a codice fiscale – Tax identification number or a tax code

Either you’ll apply for it in your home country at the Italian Embassy or Consulate, or at the “Agenzia dell’Entrate”, the fiscal office. You need to bring your passport for identification. It’s quick and easy, and there is no charge.

You’ll need a codice fiscale to:

» Open a bank account
» Sign the purchasing agreements
» Get utility contacts
» To present in just about any kind of contact with public administration


2. Offerta d’acquisto - Written offer

The day you have found THE house, with the help of your estate agent, you’ll make a written offer including a small down payment, paid with a check that will be kept by the agent until the seller has accepted the offer, and the agent will hand it over.


3. Compromesso - Preliminay contract

When the seller has accepted your offer it is time to sign a Compromesso – a preliminary contract. It includes all details of the property, price, closing date, etc. At this time a deposit of 10-20% of the sale price shall be paid, either from your Italian bank account or from the bank account in your home country. The compromesso doesn't have to be signed in front of a notary. If you do not speak Italian the documents have to be translated into either English or your native Language. To be valid the compromesso has to be registred at the fiscal office. Your estate agent will do that.


4. Rogito or Atto notarile - Final deed

The final deed has to be written by and signed in front of a registered notary, and the seller and buyer should be present. If the buyer can’t participate he/she may delegate to another person with a proxy.

By law the notary has to read out loud the full contract, if the buyer doesn’t know Italian the contract has to be translated.You have to present you passport and your tax code, codice fiscale.

The notary will calculate the final balance to be paid including all the taxes and fees, the provision to the real estate agent and the notary himself. Again you’ll pay with a check.

You’ll get a copy of the contract and the notary will perform all the paperwork and register the acquisition with the proper authorities.


Additional costs when you buy a vacation house in Italy:

Purchase taxes and fees:

Depending on what kind of property you buy, if the seller is a company or a privat person and if you are to become resident or not.

For exampel if you buy a new apartment, to be used as a vacation home, direct from the constructor, you will pay 10% IVA (VAT) on the selling price. If the seller is a private person you'll pay 9% registration tax on the taxable value* of the property. If you buy the property to become a resident the taxes are lower.

In addition there are costs for the registration of the preliminary contract, translation cost for all the documents, the notary fee and the agents fee, the latter is minimum €3000.

When you meet your agent and choose what kind of property you would like to buy, you may may ask for more detailed information on what the additional costs will be.

*Taxable value is usually much lower than the market value. It depends on location and status of the property, but could be 50% or less of the market value.