Tuscan Farmhouse | €1,360,000 for two shares | Listed by August
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Moving to Italy and realizing the dream of property ownership entails navigating a path woven with cultural subtleties and legal procedures. Join us as we decode the strategic aspects of buying a house in Italy’s alluring market.

We delve into the purchasing journey with Mélie Dunod, founder and CEO of August, a pioneer of luxury co-ownership across Europe that operates in the most sought-after Italian regions. From the initial search for a property to the thorough legal preparations, let’s unveil the key steps involved in the process.

Mélie Dunod
Mélie Dunod
Founder and CEO, August
The process of buying a property in Italy is more time-consuming than in France or Spain due to a lack of online data transparency. We tend to negotiate more than other markets, with greater flexibility between market reality and online postings: prices often can be negotiated down by 10-15%. Off-market networks play a crucial role in getting the best opportunities at the best prices, especially in Tuscany.
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1.Tuscany

Luxury Design Villa in the Сountryside of Volterra. Browse More Listings in Tuscany

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What are the specifics of buying a house in Italy?

Compared to other European markets, such as France or Spain, the Italian real estate market is quite conservative. Established in Italy (in Tuscany and Rome) since 2020, we have not observed an evolution in the buyer journey during these years, unlike other regions where we undertake business.

Off-market network plays a crucial role in getting the leading opportunities at the best prices, especially in Tuscany. Our agents stay in touch with the mayors of the small towns where we purchase and build relationships with local shopkeepers and restaurant owners.

So, in Italy, to be as knowledgeable as possible, we fostered our own database to track and understand the market.

How has the process evolved in recent years?

In France and Spain, the pandemic became a great opportunity to move things online, especially when it comes to signing preliminary contracts and final deeds. In the Italian market, we are still required to go in person to the notary office each time.

The process of buying real estate in Italy is still more time-consuming than in other European countries due to a lack of online data transparency.

We tend to negotiate more than other markets, with greater flexibility between market reality and online postings: property prices often can be negotiated down by 10-15%.

2. Italian Lake District

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What is the typical journey of a foreign buyer looking for a home in Italy?

I would say that the market and the behavior of international buyers differ from one region to another.

Rome has a higher concentration of agencies, which leads to better coverage. The supply tends to be lower than the demand for the typical “pied-a-terre” product that international buyers are looking for, which creates a relatively quick market.

Tuscany, compared to Rome,  has fewer opportunities, as houses are spread out over a larger area. As a result, it is more challenging for foreign buyers to find property, as the market is wider, and information takes longer to circulate.

Understanding the purchasing process in Tuscany is time-consuming. It often takes several visits to the region to determine the preferred villages or areas to purchase property.

We advise seeking out agencies or real estate agents operating in specific areas rather than larger ones located in Florence or Pisa, as they may not have all the opportunities on their radar.

What key steps are involved in the property buying process in Italy?

Once you find the right property, you enter the negotiation stage. As explained before, during the negotiation stage you should keep in mind that posted prices are typically 10-15% higher than the actual sale price.

At this point, it is crucial to define all the conditions and steps involved in the acquisition process. In Italy, unlike the UK or France, there are no legally defined steps for this stage. This means that everything must be negotiated, making these initial parts of the acquisition particularly challenging.

For instance, local sellers are not in favor of notarial deposits and prefer direct deposits in their accounts.

They may also be reluctant to share much information or documentation about properties compared to what sellers in other countries are required to provide.

3.Liguria

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What documents and contracts should buyers be familiar with?

When buying a property in Italy, notaries play a crucial role. They are responsible for conducting checks on the property titles and providing necessary documents, such as the Deed of Provenance.

The Deed of Provenance certifies the legitimacy of the property’s transfer from a seller to a buyer and ensures that the seller has the right to transfer the property. In other words, the deed indicates how the seller came into possession of the property.

The notary helps lawyers locate historical data, particularly for providing evidence of the existence of an easement. They are also responsible for drafting both the compromesso (also known as  “Compromesso di Vendita” or “Preliminare di Vendita”, a preliminary sales contract) and the final deed.

The role and responsibilities of a notary are legally defined. However, it is still advisable to seek the services of a professional who is willing to go the extra mile and conduct detailed due diligence checks.

Buying Property in Italy: Key Steps
Obtaining Tax Code (Codice Fiscale) At the Italian Embassy in your home country or at any Revenue Office in Italy
Opening Italian Bank Account Seek the professional assistance of a notary
Negotiation Price can be decreased by 10-15%
Signing the Compromesso The purpose is to define the conditions necessary for the final deed’s signing
Placing Notary Deposit Deposit of 10% of the price is placed in an escrow account
Conducting Due Diligence Notary is responsible for providing the Deed of Provenance and drafting the final deed
Conducting Technical Survey Geometra will conduct a technical survey and examine cadastral registrations
Assessing Risks Solicitors will utilize the findings from the geometra and the notary to assess the risk associated with the acquisition
Signing Final Deed Releasing the deposit, paying purchase taxes and notary fees
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4.Apulia

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What is the significance of the “compromesso”, or preliminary sales contract?

The compromesso is not a mandatory step in Italy and is often substituted by private contracts.

The main purpose of the compromesso is to define the conditions necessary for the final deed’s signing. The compromesso is made after conducting due diligence checks and identifying any risks associated with the property. It is designed to protect you as the buyer against these dangers.

Once we find a property and make an offer, we usually negotiate to get an exclusivity period of a few weeks. This allows us to carry out our due diligence checks before signing a compromesso in front of a notary.

At this stage, a deposit of approximately 10% of the acquisition price is placed in an escrow account. These funds are only released at the final deed stage subject to the conditions outlined in the compromesso.

If you discover that any part of the property was built illegally during due diligence checks, you should negotiate with the seller at the compromesso stage to regularize the situation before the final deed.

At this stage, it is crucial for both the buyer and the seller to adhere to the clauses mentioned in the contract and ensure their fulfillment by a specific deadline.

Failure to meet the deadline could lead to the potential loss of the deposit for the buyer, or the seller having to pay the deposit amount if they fail to meet the deadlines set in the conditions for the sale.

What should buyers look out for when evaluating a property?

The key figure in this process is geometra, who combines the roles of technical surveyor and architect.

There are numerous elements to verify, including energy certificates, cadastral registration, building permits, and more.

This person will conduct a technical survey of the property and thoroughly examine all cadastral registrations, comparing them to the actual conditions of the property.

The solicitors will then utilize the findings from both the geometra and the notary to assess the risk associated with the acquisition. In addition to their role in risk assessment, solicitors also play an essential role in the commercial aspects of the acquisition.

Given that many details are often undefined, having a competent solicitor who understands your risk profile and the project’s inherent risks is vital. They ensure that the right clauses are incorporated into contracts and negotiate effectively with the selling party.

If a property has any irregularities, it’s essential to engage the services of the right third parties who can guide you in rectifying this situation.

6. Rome

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Are there any specific requirements that foreign buyers might face?

While there are certain processes, such as obtaining a tax ID, that one needs to navigate, I wouldn’t consider the Italian market to have significant entry barriers for foreigners.

The primary challenges seem to stem from cultural differences and a nuanced understanding of the market.

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