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Buying Property in Italy

Any non-residents including British nationals can buy an apartment, house or land in Italy. To buy a property in Italy you won’t need many documents, it will be sufficient to have your valid passport and a local VAT number (codice fiscale).

The process of the purchase is conducted under the supervision of a notary, who is responsible for the authenticity of the deal and collects the taxes at the time of exchanging contracts.

The process of buying property in Italy is identical both for residents and non-residents. Upon completion of the deal, a buyer acquires full rights and obligations of a property owner. The only difference for a non-resident buyer is that according to the law, all notary procedures must be accompanied by a licensed translator.

Home buying process and documents

Step I. Proposta d'acquisto or Preliminare d'acquisto

This is a written agreement between a buyer and a vendor which contains the details of the purchase. The document is compiled with the assistance of the Agency and is to be signed by both parties.
Under the terms of this document the property should be withdrawn from the market and a buyer is to pay a deposit, which is usually 10% of a purchase price.
This agreement terminates within one or two weeks from the date of signing by both parties. During this period the buyer has to fulfil their commitments and pay a deposit.
This agreement can be signed remotely using a secure courier service.
Proposta d'acquisto is a subject to registration.

Step II. Compromesso o preliminare di vendita notarile

The signing of this Preliminary agreement with a Notary is an optional step. It is necessary to provide the security of a deal when any significant payments are made before changes to the property ownership and for instalment payments.

III. Il rogito

The last step is the production of the Deed of Purchase.
The sale is to be completed on a pre-agreed date by a notary who conducts the deeds in the presence of a witness. The Deed of Purchase is an actual sale contract, unlike a preliminary agreement mentioned in p.II.

Within 20 days after the completion, the notary registers the Deed of Purchase with the Land Registry; the copies of the document can be received by the parties after that time.

NB! The original of the Deed of Purchase is kept by a notary; the parties receive the certified copies.

Property registration expenses

According to the law, all notary fees and purchase expenses are carried out by the buyer.

For residential property from the secondary market the taxes are calculated on the basis of the cadastral value of the property. For newly-built properties, the tax will be calculated based on their market price.  To learn more, click here.

The notary fee is usually 1 to 4% of the purchase price, the less is the value, the higher the percent charged.
All payments (fees, taxes and remaining balance on accounts), if they have not been completed in advance via a bank transfer, are made at the time of signing of the documents, in the presence of a notary by irrevocable bank checks drawn by the bank. The buyer receives the keys and becomes the full right owner of the property.

Buying a property in Italy and residence permit

An Italian residence permit cannot be obtained automatically based on property ownership alone; a candidate must have other credentials apart from this. The simplest way to obtain a residence permit is studying in Italy, running a business (setting up a company) or proving a sufficiently high income and availability of funds on the account for applying for Italian "selected residence location".

Codice fiscale. How to get it

For your VAT registration in Italy you can contact your local tax office Agenzia delle Entrate.

You can also apply to the social department of the Consulate of Italy at the place of registration.