When buying a property in Italy, it’s essential to think about the long-term consequences. Do your due diligence and follow all legal protocols to avoid potential problems.
We thank our clients who agreed to share their experience of buying, renovating, and selling property in Italy. Their responses provide valuable insights for anyone considering an Italian property investment.
What attracted you to buy property in Italy?
“We didn’t initially intend to buy a property in Italy…
We were invited to stay with friends who had a house in a small Italian village. We saw a house in the same village that had been empty for about 16 years and just decided to buy it! We contacted the owners and one of them showed us around the property. We wanted to use the property as a shared holiday home for the four of us, who are friends. Although the house needed a lot of work, we thought it could be a fun project. “
- We would advise that before making any decisions about purchasing a property, it is important to thoroughly research the local real estate market and understand the costs and legal requirements involved in buying and owning property in Italy.
- Online advice can sometimes be misleading or even incorrect. It would be wise to consult with an experienced real estate agent and a lawyer, as well as a contractor who can provide an estimate for any necessary repairs or renovations.
- Additionally, if you are planning to buy property as a shared venture, it would be a good idea to discuss and establish a plan for managing and maintaining the property among friends.
- It’s also important to consider the long-term plan for the property, such as what to do with it when no one is using it.
- Ultimately, it’s important to weigh all the factors and determine if the project is financially and logistically feasible before proceeding with the purchase.
Can you tell us how you bought your property in Italy?
“The purchasing process was hit and miss…
We were put in touch with people by the friends we had stayed with. However we quickly found that translation was a big issue. The estate agent proceeded to put us in touch with a notary who insisted we understand everything. Our entire property purchase team consisted of the Estate agent, property a consultant the notary and translators. We did not engage a lawyer.”
- Prioritise finding a real estate agent or a property consultant who is fluent in the same language as you to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings. Be aware that real estate agents facilitate the search for an Italian property. However, Italian real estate agents have no legal obligation to undertake searches of a technical or legal nature (due diligence).
- Engage a lawyer who speaks your language and can guide you through the whole legal process, ensure your rights are protected and review all the necessary documentation.
- International clients are often confused about the role of an Italian Notary. There is a mistaken belief that a public notary (notaio) performs the same function as a lawyer, solicitor or attorney (avvocato). This is not the case. Italian notaries act on behalf of the Italian State whereas a lawyer, is someone you engage to act exclusively on your behalf in a legal matter.
- Have a clear plan of how to communicate with your team in Italy in order to ensure everyone is on the same page and to avoid any confusion.
- Make sure to ask for clarification and confirmation of any important information or details that you don’t understand.
- Take your time with the process and don’t rush into any decisions. Make sure you fully understand all the terms and conditions before proceeding.
Did you buy the property alone or with others?
“The purchasing process was quite complex..
We are 2 couples and we came to a friendly agreement to have all names in the deed of sale. All owned a quarter each. All decisions had to be unanimously decided by all four. We found the overall purchasing process different to the UK. Quite complex and it took roughly 9 or 10 months to complete.”
- Prioritise communication and organisation among the co-buyers. Having a clear plan and decision-making process in place will help ensure that the process runs smoothly.
- Research and understand the legal requirements and procedures involved in buying property in Italy. The laws and regulations of Italy vary significantly from other countries. It’s important to be aware of them before signing any paperwork. You can read more about this here.
- Consult with a local lawyer who has experience in property transactions in Italy. This will ensure that all legal requirements are met and that parties’ rights are protected.
- Be prepared for the process to take longer than you might expect. It’s important to be patient and allow enough time to complete all the necessary steps.
- Make sure to keep accurate records of all transactions, agreements, and communications throughout the process to avoid any potential misunderstandings or disputes among the group.
- Keep in mind that buying a property as a group can be challenging, especially if all decisions have to be made unanimously. It’s important to have open and honest communication, and to be willing to compromise when necessary.
- Prepare for unexpected costs and have a contingency plan in place.
Did you undertake any renovations once you owned the property in Italy?
“The house was in need of complete renovation…
The property had no certificate of habitability. Someone in the village recommended a geometra who organised the renovation with local builders. The geometra didn’t speak English but his daughter was a solicitor who translated everything for us. At the time we believed all the planning permissions and paperwork had been taken care of. However when we came to sell the property we found out that was not the case…”
Buying and renovating a property in Italy is a common scenario. It is also a common scenario for these projects to end in heartache. Unfortunately, we often don’t meet these buyers until after they have purchased a property. They have usually spent way more than expected and then need help to fix problems. Overall, it’s important to be well-informed, organised, and to work with professionals who have experience of renovations in Italy. This will ensure that the renovation process goes smoothly and that you are later able to sell the property without any issues.
- Be sure to obtain certificates of habitability and energy efficiency when buying an Italian property. If the property does not have either certificate, make sure you understand the long term implications of this.
- Prioritise obtaining all necessary planning permits, licenses, and approvals before starting any renovation work. It’s important to be aware of all the legal requirements and regulations and to make sure that the work is in compliance with them.
- Work with reputable and licensed contractors and tradespeople, who are familiar with regulations and have experience with the type of work you need.
- Engage a lawyer to draw up a detailed contract with the contractor. A lawyer can also help you understand and communicate with the geometra and other professionals involved in the renovation process, if you don’t speak Italian.
- Keep accurate records of all agreements, invoices, and receipts.
- When buying a property in need of complete renovation, it’s important to have a realistic budget. Additionally you should plan a contingency for unexpected costs.
- Prepare for unexpected issues to arise during the renovation process and have a plan in place for how to address them.
What made you decide to sell your property in Italy?
“We decided to sell the property…
We had planned to spend more time but personal circumstances at home didn’t allow it. For numerous reasons. The covid pandemic didn’t help. When we were there, there was always lots of work to do in the garden and the house. It was fun going but it never felt like a holiday. Getting older, we did not want to risk creating problems for our children in the future should something happen to us. After owning the property for 15 years we decided it was time to sell it.”
- If you’re buying or already own a property in Italy, it’s important to plan ahead for its future ownership. Estate planning is an ongoing process that should be reviewed and updated as your family and circumstances change. Failing to take the right steps can lead to family disputes and complications after your death. Consider consulting a lawyer for guidance on how to best manage your Italian property.
- When considering selling, a lawyer can ensure that all necessary legal paperwork and permits are in order before listing the property, which will speed up the sales process and increase opportunities to reach prospective buyers.
Can you tell us about the sales process of your property in Italy?
“The property sales process was straightforward.
When it came to the sale of the property, on a friend’s recommendation, we engaged De Tullio Law Firm. We gave De Tullio Law Firm power of attorney. The team were able to do everything for us. The overall process took about a year because when preparing the listing, De Tullio Law Firm discovered missing permits, certificates, etc… We then needed to acquire retroactive planning permission, which took a few months. Once all the documentation was complete and correct, the house sold very quickly”.
- Selling your Italian property can be a complex and time-consuming process. To ensure a smooth and successful sale, prepare and organise all the necessary legal documents and paperwork before listing it.
- Paperwork includes the title deeds, land registry entries, building permits, certificate of habitability, energy performance certificate (APE) and a certificate of urban destination (CDU). Having these documents readily available will speed up the sales process and increase the property’s appeal to potential buyers.
- To make this process easier, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a lawyer who is familiar with the Italian property market and regulations. Your lawyer can provide a pre-sales service to ensure that all the paperwork is in order before listing the property for sale. This can also include handling the marketing of the property and representing you if you are unable to travel or make multiple trips to Italy.
“The overall experience of buying and owning a property in Italy was a life changer. Overcoming legal challenges and completing renovations led to amazing times at the house. We had great neighbours, friends, and support from the village. Our property partners were fantastic, discussing everything and sharing 15 memorable years with us.If anyone is considering doing a similar project, I would say just follow your heart. As long as you take the sound advice by De Tullio Law firm, you will be well guided throughout the process. “
De Tullio Law Firm is your go-to for expert guidance and support when buying, owning, or selling Italian property. We have over 55 years of experience in Italian and cross-border property, family, and inheritance matters. Our team provides comprehensive and personalised service to ensure your property transaction runs smoothly.
Trust us to handle the legal complexities and help you navigate the often-challenging Italian property market. Contact us today to schedule a free preliminary consultation.
You may also be interested in our Guide to Building And Renovating Property in Italy.
You might also like our info videos about Italian property, succession and family law.