Tips and advice for purchasing in Italy
1) Use a lawyer who is not working for the estate agent or developer; make sure to use a lawyer who is independent and has no conflict of interest with the agent or developer from whom you are buying.
2) Remember that a notary is not your lawyer as his role is only to identify the parties of the transaction, draw up the final contract (rogito) and to collect the stamp duty on behalf of the Italian Inland Revenue.
3) Never enter into a legally binding agreement such as “proposta di acquisto” (purchase proposal) without having received independent legal advice. This is crucial when buying an off-plan property and during inspection trips.
4) Always insist on obtaining a guarantee (bond) when buying from a developer as the guarantee is compulsory in Italy but many developers will try to put pressure on you into agreeing to waive this requirement.
5) Remember to budget for additional costs on top of the purchase price and legal fees such as stamp duty (these will vary dependent on whether you are a private individual or a company and if the land is agricultural – check with your Italian Lawyer), surveyor and notary fees.
6) Consider the possibility of avoiding the costs of flying to Italy for attending upon completion, which is compulsory for both vendor and buyer, by granting a power of attorney to your lawyer or someone you can trust, but never to an estate agent as he will be in a situation of conflict of interest.
7) Never under-declare the purchase price, which it is still a punishable offence in Italy.
8) It is important to confirm with your lawyer that there are no mortgages, liens or charges on the property.
9) Always ask for a copy of the originating contract well in advance as this is the one which will show who is the legal owner of the property you intend to purchase.
This information has been kindly provided by Avv. Giovanni Lombardo – E-Mail: [email protected] and quote SLC/LIT