Estate agents are neither lawyers nor independent. We are both.

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Estate agents are neither lawyers nor independent. We are both.

Don’t Leave Your Italian Property Transaction To Chance… Seek Independent Legal Advice!

Estate Agents are not lawyers

When buying or selling a property at home, most people wouldn’t dream of entering into a transaction without the assistance of a qualified and independent lawyer. Yet in Italy, many buyers and sellers, particularly foreigners, decide not to instruct a lawyer and instead rely on an estate agent to handle the transaction on their behalf. Many foreign property buyers find their way to our law practice this way. They have encountered serious problems; some have lost everything.

The reality is that undertaking a property transaction in Italy is one of the most complex and expensive transactions that you will probably ever make. In addition, there is the complication of a perhaps unfamiliar foreign language with lots of legal jargon, a completely different legal system, tax and administrative procedures. Essentially, the need for an experienced, independent lawyer is far greater for an overseas transaction than when buying property at home.

In many instances, estate agents will offer to handle all the paperwork and legal sides of things on a buyer’s behalf. With the more reputable agencies, the intentions are genuine and the conveyancing may well complete satisfactorily. However, estate agents are not trained lawyers. Many have no professional liability or indemnity insurance to cover you in case the transaction goes wrong or they miss something crucial in the paperwork.

Also bear in mind that an estate agent is not independent. In fact, they have a potential conflict of interests in representing you in the legal process. Remember that the estate agent is acting for the vendor. The agent’s primary goal is to sell the property on the seller’s behalf in order to earn their commission. If the sale doesn’t go through because somebody spots an irregularity or legal defect, the estate agent earns nothing.

As an alternative, some clients look to instruct a lawyer in their home country. However, it is unlikely that the lawyer will have local knowledge of Italy. That lawyer is unlikely to fly over to Italy to carry out searches and enquiries, or to attend completion at the Notary’s office. The lawyer’s only option is to subcontract the work to a local in Italy, who may not be a qualified lawyer.

Both the lawyer and the local agent will expect to get paid, so in essence, you end up paying twice for the same service. There will also be delays with information and documentation because it has to pass through extra people.

Using a qualified local solicitor with experience and expertise of the local market and the Italian property purchasing process gives you protection and peace of mind.

De Tullio Law Firm is regulated by the Italian Bar Association and a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), the leading worldwide professional body for practitioners in the fields of trusts, estates and related issues.

Our knowledgeable and experienced team of professionals speak English, French and German. As a result, clients avoid the language barrier or other potential misunderstandings that can arise between languages.

Our clients also benefit from De Tullio Law Firm’s Professional Indemnity Insurance for claims should something go wrong during the transaction due to the negligence of the firm. Our clients can however rest assured that the firm has not had to make a single claim during our more than 50 years of operation.

Why leave your property transaction to chance? Get in touch with De Tullio Law Firm now for a free consultation.