Solicitors / Lawyers Website Addresses
real estate in Italy
Most Italian properties are freehold and a deposit of around 10% is usually accepted
and is paid to a notary. If the vendor decides not to sell after signing the
preliminary contract, they must pay double the deposit back. It is wise to check
the wording of the deposit, a 'penitenziale' means you will only lose
your deposit if you withdraw from the sale, while a 'confirmatoria' would
mean the seller could take legal action to force the purchase.
When buying a property in Italy, you will first sign a preliminary contract,
this can be drawn up by the vendor, agent or a solicitor/lawyer. The preliminary
contract may be preceded by a binding 'buying proposal' called a compromesso,
where the buyer is legally bound to buy, but the vendor and agent are free to
consider other offers.
The preliminary contract contains the details of the sale like the purchase price
and financing, plus the completion date which is normally six to eight weeks.
The sale will be completed before a public notary when the final deed or conveyance
of transfer is signed. The notary issues a certified copy of the deed of sale
and registers the original document with the land registry, which makes you the
legal owner of the property. There are two kinds of deeds in Italy; a private
deed and a public instrument, this provides more protection and costs slightly
more. When a property is bought by private deed and is subsequently found to
have a charge against it, such as a mortgage, the notary isn't responsible. When
buying by public instrument you can seek legal action against the notary for
Solicitor / Lawyer
You will need to hire the services of a solicitor/lawyer to draw up your initial
contracts and instruct the notary.
Total fees for buying a property in Italy are usually between 10-20% of the purchase
price. Registration tax/stamp duty should be 10% of the declared price for urban
property, up to 17% for agricultural property, with a reduced rate of around
4% for first time buyers. If you're planning on becoming a resident, you should
to do so before purchasing your home in Italy.
The declared property sale figure should also agree with the official value in
the Land Registry, which is usually over half of the purchase price. Notary fees
vary depending on the price of a property and are higher as a percentage on cheaper
properties. They are generally about 4% of the declared price. Legal fees are
usually around 2% of the purchase price. A surveyor's fee will vary according
to the price of the property and will be upwards of L500,000. The real estate
agent's fee and who pays it varies considerably, although it's usually shared
between the vendor and buyer, a buyer contributing about 2% of the purchase price,
the vendor about the same. VAT(Value Added Tax) is payable on new homes from
9-19% depending on the registries rating and is included in the price.
It's important to deal only with a qualified and licensed agent, and to engage
a local lawyer, before signing anything or paying a deposit. A local surveyor
may also be necessary, particularly if you're buying an old property or a property
with a large plot of land. Your lawyer or surveyor will carry out the necessary
searches regarding such matters as ownership, debts and rights of way. Enquiries
must be made to ensure that the vendor has a registered title and that there
are no debts against the property like mortgages or taxes and check the property
has the relevant building licences, conforms to local planning conditions and
changes have been authorised. Check for selling consent of all family registered
owners and water supplies for countryside properties.
Income tax (IRPEF) is high in Italy and ranges from 10%-60%. Non-residents must
submit a tax return stating the details of their Italian property, even though
there's no tax to pay if no income is derived from rental etc. The standard rate
of VAT is 19%, with reduced rates to a minimum 4%. VAT is payable on new properties
at 9% for non-luxury property and 19% for luxury property. The local community
tax or rates, ICI, ('Ichy') is paid by anyone who owns property or land in Italy,
whether they are a resident or non-resident. It's levied at between 0.4% - 0.7%
of a property's value, the actual rate being decided by the local authority depending
on the size of the property, location, class and category. If a property is unfit
for habitation it could qualify for a 50% reduction. ICI is paid in two instalments
in June and December.
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