Buying properties in Italy: avoid pitfalls
Buying properties in Italy is a major decision. You must proceed with caution, always do your research and seek independent legal advice.
Continued slow economic growth in Italy helps to keep property prices low and therefore is attractive for those looking to invest. Interest rates show no sign of substantially increasing in 2016 either in The UK or in the Eurozone. 2016 is therefore looking to be another year with many Brits purchasing Italian property.
Buying properties in Italy can go from dream to disaster…
Every year, clients contact us, whose Italian property purchase started out as an impulse decision. However, at some point during the purchase, the dream turned in to a nightmare. All sorts of additional costs appeared. That could easily have been avoided if they had sought legal advice prior to purchase.
At the very least, mistakes made during the purchase process can cause legal headaches, uncertainty and stress – the last thing anybody buying a home wants.
Recently, some clients contacted us to resolve a case where they had purchased a property without a Certificate of Habitability. The new owners didn’t realise that this certification was essential until they tried to get water and electricity supplied to the property. Utility companies refused to hook up the property because the owners didn’t have the relevant paperwork.
The ramifications can be serious. Take for example, a client who didn’t have a survey and now finds his roof collapsing, or the owners of a property that lacks planning permission for some of the outbuildings on their recently acquired land.
Authorities such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) do not regulate property purchases in Italy. You are not protected if things go wrong, even if you use an FCA-registered financial adviser or mortgage broker in the UK to make the deal on your behalf.
Don’t succumb to pressure to sign anything. You may find yourself liable to pay fees or a deposit before you’ve had a chance to think carefully. Make sure you check all the paperwork. That the titles are correct and that you have all the necessary permissions, licences, certificates and planning consents. Furthermore, you must make sure you account for all the tax you’ll be liable to pay, both in the UK and in Italy.
Before you sign any kind of paperwork relating to an Italian property purchase, always seek independent legal advice. Ensure your lawyer is fluent in both English, and Italian and that they have a good understanding of Italian property law.
For more comprehensive information about the Italian property purchasing process, you might like to read our guide. If you would like to discuss your situation or, if we can be of assistance, please get in touch.
You may also be interested in Buying A Property in Italy. Insider Tips from Our Clients