De Tullio Law Firm in Fortune Italia Magazine

A World Apart

In the April 2019 edition of Fortune Italia Magazine, we contributed to a discussion about the state of the luxury real estate market in Italy.

The luxury real estate market in Italy is booming – indifferent to market fluctuations. Who buys luxury properties and furnishings?

Italy’s luxury property market is particularly healthy. Compared to the same period in 2017, the first half of 2018 saw an increase of 26.73% in real estate transactions in excess of 900 thousand euros. Real estate of more than one million euros saw 1,028 properties sold compared to 865 in the previous year. This represents an increase of 18.84%.

Italy’s Luxury real estate market sector “is less exposed than other property segments to economic conditions. The uniqueness of the Italian offer, which is inextricably linked to our architectural, landscape and cultural heritage, represents a strong element of attraction”, says Giandomenico De Tullio, Managing Partner at De Tullio Law Firm. The company provides legal services in the Italian luxury real estate market – mainly serving US and UK clients.

Specialists for cross border property law throughout Italy

Generally, we are talking about properties that mainly appeal to international clients, which De Tullio calls, ‘High Net Worth Individuals’. ” This is a clientele with high expectations that demand high levels of competence and professionalism”.

Choosing a property

In the main, investors are foreign so they often need a guide. Perhaps they don’t know Italy very well, or are unfamiliar with the dynamics of its real estate market.

Lionard, is one of the most important players at national level in the luxury real estate sector. The company is involved in the buying and selling process. They have a real estate portfolio of 13.32 billion euros. The average value of real estate for sale is 5.01 million euros.

Lionard has bases in Florence, Milan and – soon – Rome.

The company currently represents 51% of Italian properties with a value of more than 3 million euros. “The real estate market historically follows the macro-economic trend of the world’s major markets,” says Ian Heath, real estate advisor at Lionard. “For this reason, the sector has also faced and suffered from the economic crisis over the past decade. However, the luxury real estate segment, in terms of the type of clientele and internationality of the audience it addresses, is able to offer growth beyond what is happening on a local economic level”.

A growth that Lionard capitalises on with satisfactory results. “In terms of real estate portfolio, we are the first real estate operator to have over 2,500 properties offered for sale directly by owners. With regards to the company’s balance sheet, we were the first among Italian luxury sector real estate operators, to achieve a turnover of over 9 million euros with an EBITDA of over 60%”. In 2018 alone, Lionard properties valued at 106.5 million euros changed hands.

Of course, to impact such a market, the right tools are a pre-requisite. In addition to the professionals who make up the team, “the pearl of the company is undoubtedly our management system. This is the primary national resource in terms of the luxury market in Italy”, says Heath. “We cross-reference the most in demand areas and the most desired types of property with current data. This provides our target audience with a survey of more than 45,000 properties nationwide. More than 2,500 of these are officially for sale. This helps the customer to form an independent idea of all the options available”.

The right decor

Once you have purchased a luxury home, you need equally luxurious furnishings. Pasquale Natuzzi Junior Says, “high-spending clientele is undoubtedly different. It is a group of consumers for whom it is necessary to transform the purchase into a unique experience.” Pasquale is creative director and stylist at Natuzzi.

The business started life in Puglia in the ’60s. It has since become one of the few Italian companies listed on Wall Street. Natuzzi totalled 449.6 million euros of turnover in 2017 and is present in 123 markets worldwide. Pasquale Natuzzi Senior, who is still company president, founded the company.

Natuzzi enjoys recognition as the “most famous lifestyle brand in the world in the premium furniture sector”.

And, according to Pasquale Junior has built its success, “thanks to our identity, our style and our product offering”.

In addition, the luxury consumer scene appreciates, “dealing with contexts where quality of service is everything. This is  especially relevant in our sector, where cooperation with customers can continue for several months. It is important to offer an experience that goes beyond a simple visit to the store: it is a relational investment that requires time, trust and competence”.

Harnessing this market sector naturally requires special business skills, which enable, “the customer to entrust the whole process to the company”. The shop team, according to the creative director, “is engaged in customer projects that can last well over six months”.

Success depends on the ability to transmit to the customer a dedication and professionalism, taking care of every aspect of the project. An approach that is only possible, “thanks to the continuous training and development of our sales staff, evolution of our collections and investments in our points of sale. In our stores we have reliable, well-prepared professionals, with a solid background in the design sector, perfectly able to interact with our clients, an architect or an interior designer. For highly sensitive projects, we also involve other professionals (colour experts, technicians specialised in 3D modelling, 3D, designers). Experts who can provide further support at the definition phase of a project”.

Finally… De Tullio Law Firm on Fortune Italia magazine

Please, contact De Tullio Law Firm for a free preliminary consultation if you would like to discuss your property purchase or you would like further information about our services.

For over 55 years, we have been providing legal services to clients at an international and local level, gaining a strong reputation for quality, expertise, and professionalism.

You may also be interested in Buying Property in Italy

Benefit of Inventory. Accepting An Italian Inheritance

How to protect your personal assets from debts associated with an Italian inheritance

At De Tullio Law Firm, we understand that when a loved one dies there are many issues that need attention at an extremely difficult time. Having to make funeral arrangements, notifying friends and family and the grieving process.

On top of this, there are also critical legal matters that require consideration.

If your loved one left assets not only at home but also in Italy, estate administration is more complex. As cross border legal specialists in Italy, this is an area in which our legal team can help. Should you wish to discuss your situation with us, please get in touch.

Italian estate inheritance options available to heirs

Inheritance consists of assets (moveable and immovable property) and liabilities (debts).

Italian law stipulates that an heir becomes responsible for settling any debts the decedent may have left.

The acceptance of an inheritance sometimes presents a risk. If the value of assets included in the inheritance is less than liabilities, heirs are responsible for settling debts from their personal finances.

In Italy, inheritance always requires acceptance or refusal. Italian law provides three inheritance options in this regard.

Unconditional acceptance of the inheritance

An heir inherits all the assets subject to succession. The beneficiary assumes personal liability for the decedent’s liabilities, even if debts exceed the value of the assets. An heir therefore becomes liable in a personal capacity (with their own finances) for any portion of the decedent’s debts that the inheritance does not cover.

Refusal of the inheritance

This means an heir completely renounces the succession. In effect, an heir renounces all rights to the inheritance. The statutory arrangement is that the share of inheritance is then subject to a ‘right of representation’. Thus it passes to an heir’s children, and if there are no children, to any other heirs.

Acceptance under the benefit of inventory (accettazione con beneficio di inventario)

This is usually the best option if you are uncertain whether the inheritance comprises debts and other succession charges.

What is the acceptance of inheritance under benefit of inventory?

According to Article 490 of the Italian Civil Code, acceptance under the benefit of inventory is an act by which a person declares the acceptance of inheritance but wants to protect personal assets from becoming entwined with those of the deceased.

Usually, the assets of the heir and that of the deceased are merged into one, so not only does the heir inherit movable and immovable assets, but also any debts and liabilities.

Whoever accepts an inheritance must settle debts, so caution is advised. In order to protect an heir’s personal assets, the acceptance of the succession is subject to a condition, the benefit of inventory. This permits the heir to assess what the inheritance actually comprises before deciding whether or not to accept it.

There is no obligation for an heir to accept the inheritance. Drawing up an inventory of debts and assets allows the heir to make an informed decision about the inheritance: either to accept and pay debts from the assets inherited, or to refuse the inheritance because debts outweigh inherited assets.

Effects of acceptance under benefit of inventory

The first advantage is that the estate of the deceased remains distinct from the estate of the heir. In essence, this means that an heir does not have pay the decedent’s debts for a value greater than that of the inherited assets. In addition, creditors cannot recoup any debts from the heir’s personal assets.

How to accept the inheritance under the benefit of inventory

To accept an inheritance using the benefit of inventory, there are some fundamental requirements. Article 490 of the Italian Civil Code covers the procedure.

Firstly an heir has to file a declaration written in Italian, with a notary or a clerk of court in the locality where the succession procedure is taking place. Secondly, a detailed inventory of all the assets belonging to the inheritance is necessary.

Within a month of filing the above mentioned declaration, the notary or clerk must transcribe it in the relevant land registries. This transcription then permits the heir to pay the creditors and the bequests.

Finally …

If you are in the difficult situation of considering whether to refuse or accept an Italian inheritance, using the option of benefit of inventory may be the way forward for you.

You may also be interested in Inheritance Law and Taxes

Title deed in Italy. Change of Names.

Registering names on a title deed in Italy

The final step of the Italian conveyancing process is signing of the deed of sale. In effect this is a property title deed and transfers ownership of real estate into someone’s name.

This legal procedure demands the presence of a notary public, the real estate vendor(s) and buyer(s) and two witnesses.

The notary reads aloud the entire deed, which is written in Italian. All parties, including the witnesses and the notary public, then approve and sign the title deed.

If one of the parties to the transaction is not fluent in the Italian language, Italian law requires the presence of a qualified professional to translate and interpret the title deed. This could be a translator or a bilingual property lawyer. This legal requirement aims to ensure that all parties fully understand the content and ramifications of the deed. The professional acting as translator must also sign the title deed.

Once the notary has signed-off on the deed, the buyer acquires ownership of the real estate.

Subsequently, the notary is responsible for certain formalities. Because notaries work for the Italian State, registering the deed with the tax authorities is the first step. Next the notary lodges the deed in the Public Registers. This allows any third parties who may have an interest to know about the change of ownership. Lastly, the notary informs the land registry so they can update their records accordingly.

How do you change the name on an Italian property / title deed?

There are many reasons why you may need to change the name on a title deed in Italy. Divorce and death are the most common reasons.

In order to change the name on a title deed, you will require a new notarial deed.

For example, if you acquired a property with a spouse and following a divorce you need to remove one of the names from a real property title deed, you will need a new notarial deed.

Where the divorce decree is from an Italian Court, the transfer of ownership will not involve payment of any real estate transfer tax.

If on the other hand, the divorce decree is issued by a non-Italian Court, you will have to pay real estate transfer tax.

The terms of the new title deed determine applicable tax rates. It will depend whether the real property changed hands without any payment or if there was a financial transaction involved. In the latter case, you will need a new deed of sale.

How do you find out whose name is on a title deed in Italy?

In order to find out whose name appears on a title deed, you will need to conduct mortgage and cadastral searches.

Finally …

For more information and clarification or, if you need to change a name on a title deed or ascertain whose name is on a real property title deed, feel free to get in touch with us. We are here to help.

You may also like to read: Translating legal documents in Property Transactions