Italian Property Purchase Questions and Answers
Key questions and answers about Italian real estate – Property purchase process.
I would like to use a legal advisor for my property purchase process, the real estate agent told me that they can provide me with one. What should I do?
Any buyer should always consider whether there may be any “conflict of interest”.
The real estate agent told you that he/she can include legal services in his/her rate of commission (the rate of commission for real estate agents is generally 3% of the value of the property)? Please remember that your real estate agent will be paid only if the sale is finalised.
The various parties involved in your transaction might not have an interest in telling you the whole truth about your property because they have a financial or vested interest in making the sale. This is why you should always seek independent legal advice from a competent, experienced lawyer who speaks your language and has only your interests at heart.
Is buying a home in Italy safe?
Before buying a home in Italy, “it is imperative to come and visit the property first, and it is equally important to speak to an independent Italian legal advisor.“
Is buying a home in Italy safe?
Italy is a country of great natural beauty with unparalleled cultural wealth. Moreover, it is a founding member of the European Union and a member of the Eurozone.
Often the most exciting aspect of beginning a new life abroad is buying the perfect home – what you choose and its location can be crucial to ensuring that your life abroad is a long-term success.
The procedures and terminology for buying a home in Italy are quite different from what you are likely to be used to, so it is essential to have the assistance of an Italian real estate market expert through the process.
There is a huge variety of property available on the Italian real estate market. Property for every budget and taste. Before taking the final decision, it is imperative to come and visit the property first, and if you decide to go ahead and buy a property, it is equally important to speak to an independent Italian legal advisor.
The conveyancing process as regulated by the Italian Civil Code, anyway, is extremely safe assuming that the buyer takes care and pays attention as generally required for an investment of this importance.
What is the average amount of time from making an offer to completion?
How long to complete the property purchase process in Italy?
Assuming no particular problem arises after the legal due diligence carried out by your lawyer, the whole property purchase process in Italy can be completed quite quickly, often within a month.
Is it advisable to purchase using a real estate agent?
Many investors find it easier buying through an estate agent, but…
… if this is the case, any investor should verify if the agent is registered, as required by law, with the local Chamber of Commerce (Ruolo degli Agenti di Affari in Mediazione). Purchasing directly from the vendor is equally acceptable and will save the buyer the payment of the commission fee of the real estate agent (a standard commission is generally 3% of the value of the property). The latter solution is risk-free with the assistance of an Italian, bilingual, legal advisor.
The vendor/real estate agent is asking me to sign an agreement drafted in both the Italian and English language. I do not understand the Italian language, what should I do?
… I do not understand the Italian language, what should I do?
Any legally binding agreement relating to an Italian real estate transaction must be written in Italian, whatever the nationality of the parties involved. In case of litigation, the Italian version will prevail. Moreover, you should be aware that translations of legal documents may not be accurate or completely correspond to the original.
You should never sign any legally binding agreement without the advice of a qualified, bilingual Italian lawyer who can explain, in your language, the full scope of your commitment.
Additional information – Legal translations in Italian real estate transactions
If I sign a preliminary contract what happens if I cannot complete the property purchase process?
If I sign a preliminary real estate contract…
… what happens if I cannot complete the purchase?
As you have signed a legally binding agreement (Preliminary Real Estate Contract, or “Compromesso“), most likely you will lose your deposit. This deposit will not be returned if you (the buyer) defaults and backs out of the contract without a valid legal reason. The vendor may also be in a position to take you to court to seek additional financial compensation.
Why should I hire a lawyer when I am already using a Public Notary?
Many people ignore the main difference between an Italian lawyer and an Italian Notary Public…
In the Italian legal system, the Italian Notary Public is a public official of the Italian State who is in a position of neutrality between the buyer and the vendor; this is the reason why he is no substitute for a lawyer who, conversely will exclusively look after the interests of his client.
Should you need further information regarding this topic, check our blog post: Italian Public Notaries in Property Transactions.
I was told that I need an interpreter during the Deed of Sale, can I use one appointed by the vendor and/or the real estate agent?
I was told that I need an interpreter during the Deed of Sale…
…can I use one appointed by the vendor and/or the real estate agent?
If the buyer is not fluent in Italian when signing the Deed of Sale of a Real Estate, Italian law requires the presence of an interpreter. Our advice is not only to verify that the interpreter is duly qualified from a linguistic and legal point of view, but also that the translator is not acting in conflict of interest. This would be the case if the interpreter is appointed by the vendor and/or the real estate agent.
Your bilingual independent legal advisor has the right qualifications to assist you throughout the real estate transaction. Your legal advisor, appointed by you and acting only in your interests, will take care of interpreting and translations, as well as making sure that you have a full understanding of the documents you are requested to sign and the legal consequences implied.
I intend to renovate my property and I am already in contact with a building company. Will I need a contract?
I intend to renovate my property and I am already in contact with a building company for construction works…
… will I need a contract?
In case of renovation works, the best guarantee for a customer is to have a contract professionally drafted by a lawyer where all the obligations of the building company and prices are listed in detail. This is generally sufficient to prevent significant problems arising in the future.
Major renovation works can be extremely expensive and it’s very hard to forecast unforeseen requirements as work progresses. The early involvement of a lawyer in drafting a contract between you and your builder can help keep costs under control.
Do I need an Italian Will for my Italian Property?
It is highly advisable to draft an Italian Will assisted by your Italian lawyer in order to limit the consequences of “legal succession”.
“Legal succession” applies where the deceased has not left a Will, and in such a case the Italian law determines which relatives of the deceased have the right to succeed (primarily the spouse, the legitimate and natural children, and the descendants).
In the case of a lack of heirs, according to Italian law, the hereditary assets present in Italy would be assigned to the Italian State.
Additional information can be found below in the Italian inheritance law FAQ’s
My partner and I are not married, my partner purchased an Italian property solely in his/her name. What will happen to this property when he/she dies?
In the case where the legal owner dies without leaving an Italian Will, the property will be inherited according to the rules of the Italian legal succession (read above).
If you do not find the answer to your question here, we would be happy to hear from you. Please contact us with your question.