Italy
Resources
City Guides
Ferrara, Italy
JoinSign In

Buying Property in Italy

By Avvocato Carlo Bottino

Last updated on: Jun 27, 2019

University of Birmingham Online MBA

Summary: Avvocato Carlo Bottino offers an overview of the Italian property buying process and related legal considerations. Expats interested in buying property in Italy should understand the steps - and hire an Italian lawyer!

Expat Advice - Buying Property in Italy

The Italian and English legal systems are very different. Conveyancing, or title transfer, is strictly governed by Italian Law and may be performed only by a public notary (Notaio), who is a public officer and qualified professional. In Italy, you may only complete the purchase of a property in front of a Notaio.

Compromesso (Contratto preliminare) or The Preliminary Contract

Once you find a property in Italy that you are interested in, you setup a preliminary contract (compromesso). The compromesso is a significant commitment and involves paying the seller a deposit as an act of good will and undertaking. The purpose of the compromesso is to clarify all the conditions of the sale, including the purchase price and term of payment.

The compromesso is drawn with the agreement of both parties. It is a golden rule to get the advice of an Italian lawyer before signing the compromesso. It is critical that the buyer not to sign the compomesso unless he/she is in agreement with everything written in the contract. The buyer is in a position to impose conditions or restrictions on the vendor at this stage.

Consequences of the Signed Compromesso

The signing of the compromesso must take place in the presence of the notaio and involves both the seller and the buyer or their power of attorneys. At the time of signing, the buyer pays a deposit of between 10 and 30% of the sale price. If the buyer decides not to go through with the purchase after signing compromesso, he will lose the deposit paid and may be sued by the seller. If, however, the deal does not proceed because of the seller, the buyer has the right to demand compensation of up to twice the amount of the deposit paid. In this case, the buyer may also claim damages and have the sale compulsorily completed by a Court order (art. 2932 Italian civil code). If you need to claim damages (I hope not), please contact us.

Caparra Penitenziale or Withdrawable Down Payment

If either the buyer or the seller has any doubt regarding the final completion of the sale, it is possible to state in the compromesso that the deposit is a caparra penitenziale (withdrawable down payment). This will prevent any further legal proceedings or claims for damage. However, if the buyer breaking the contract, he or she will still have to lose the deposit to the seller. If the seller withdraws, he or she will still have to pay double the deposit amount to the buyer.

If both the buyer and seller want a quick sale and have no differences concernings conditions, price or anything else, it is possible to have the actual transfer of the property written into the compromesso.

Atto or Completion of the Sale

The atto is the act of completing the sale. The Notaio certifies both parties' identities, witnesses the transfer of title from the seller to the buyer and collects the taxes due on the transaction. With all parties present the notaio will identify them, one by one, and then read through the rogito (completion document), in detail, ensuring that everyone understands what is being bought and sold. With everyone in agreement, the notaio will ask each party to sign before he signs and adds his official stamp to the document. In either one of the parties is absent, the notaio will certify the signature of the procura speciale (power of attorney). At the moment of the completion, the buyer has to pay the remaining balance of the purchase price, plus taxes and notaio fees.

Title Registration

There are two different Official Land Registries in Italy: the Catasto and The Conservatoria dei Registri Immobiliari. Once the transaction has been completed, the notaio will register the transfer of the title by the seller to the buyer into the Conservatoria Registry; this is very important, should another person registers another atto earlier than you, the other will beat your title and become the new owner.

The Golden Rule

Check the seller's title before you start with the title transfer in the Conservatoria Registri Immobiliari entering the seller's name (Italian Lawyers and Notai can do this for you with their dedicated internet access). This is the only way to check the good title and if there are any charges on the property (e.g. mortgages, Court Order, Court Proceedings in course relating to the property etc…). In the Catasto, you will only find the exact id number of the land without finding the name the owner.

Make sure the Conservatoria does not contain any adverse entries at 3 stages:

  1. Before putting your offer and signing the compromesso
  2. After signing of the the compromesso
  3. Immediately after the atto

It is important to avoid the other pitfalls in buying property in Italy (neighbor farmer's pre-emption right, planning permission denial, regional environmental legislation, geological and sismic reports).

About the Author

AS Avvocato Carlo BottinoAvvocato Carlo Bottino, Bottino Law Firm, took his Degree in Law at University of Genoa in 1992, admitted at Bar in 1997, after his first 8 years work experience in his origin town opened his practice in Milan in 2001. He completed his law studies with an English Law Course in College of Law, London covering different matters such as civil litigation, property and probate – law, conveyancing, principles of Common Law, professional Conduct and accounting.

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Italy from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Join our Italy Expat Forum

Visit our Italy Forum and talk with other expats who can offer you insight and tips about living in , Italy.

More about Italy

12-Best-Places-to-Live-in-Italy

12 Best Places to Live in Italy

Italy is beloved by expats, global nomads and retirees. We've compiled a list of the 12 best places to live in Italy based upon expats' recommendations. They include Liguria, Puglia, Rome, Le Marche, Abruzzo, Sicily and more.

Italy is beloved by expats, global nomads and retirees. We've compiled a list of the 12 best places to live in Italy based upon expats' recommendations. They include Liguria, Puglia, Rome, Le Marche...

Healthcare-in-Italy

Healthcare in Italy

An overview of the healthcare system in Italy - public and private hospitals, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), getting your Tessera Sanitaria (healthcare card), vaccinations for Italy, prescription medication availability and more.

An overview of the healthcare system in Italy - public and private hospitals, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), getting your Tessera Sanitaria (healthcare card), vaccinations for Italy, prescription...

5-Expat-Moms-Talk-about-Having-a-Baby-in-Italy

5 Expat Moms Talk about Having a Baby in Italy

5 expat moms offer candid insight into what it's like giving birth in Italy - from bringing towels and toilet paper with you to the hospital to being refused pain medication. And, like most advice in Italy, word of mouth is the best way to find a good OB/GYN.

5 expat moms offer candid insight into what it's like giving birth in Italy - from bringing towels and toilet paper with you to the hospital to being refused pain medication. And, like most advice in...

Tips-for-Expats-in-Italy

Expat Banking: Tips for Expats in Italy

All expats in Italy face managing their finances while living there, and that always starts with finding a bank. Here are some tips from expats already living in Italy based on their actual experiences with banks there.

All expats in Italy face managing their finances while living there, and that always starts with finding a bank. Here are some tips from expats already living in Italy based on their actual experienc...

Top-6-Cities-in-Italy-for-Expat-Jobs

Top 6 Cities in Italy for Expat Jobs

Finding an expat job in Italy can be challenging. Here are 6 cities in Italy where expats have been able to find a job and live their expat dream.

Finding an expat job in Italy can be challenging. Here are 6 cities in Italy where expats have been able to find a job and live their expat dream. ...

10-Best-Places-to-Live-in-Liguria,-Italy

10 Best Places to Live in Liguria, Italy

Liguria, Italy, also known as the Italian Riviera, is a stunning coastal region spanning from Tuscany to the French border. In Liguria you will find mild temperatures and a relaxed lifestyle. If you're thinking about moving here, our list of the 10 best places to live in Liguria is based upon expat advice and recommendations.

Liguria, Italy, also known as the Italian Riviera, is a stunning coastal region spanning from Tuscany to the French border. In Liguria you will find mild temperatures and a relaxed lifestyle. If you'r...

7-Best-Places-to-Live-in-Piedmont,-Italy

7 Best Places to Live in Piedmont, Italy

Piedmont (in Italian: Piemonte) is an expansive region in Northern Italy that borders Switzerland and France. This is a region of great variety - you will find everything from small hilltop towns to cosmopolitan cities set against the snow-capped Alps. If you're thinking about moving to Piedmont, check out our list of the 7 best places to live in Piedmont, which is based upon advice and recommendations from expats already there.

Piedmont (in Italian: Piemonte) is an expansive region in Northern Italy that borders Switzerland and France. This is a region of great variety - you will find everything from small hilltop towns to c...

Rome

Rome

If you're moving to Rome, our Guide to Living in Rome provides answers to the questions most often asked by newcomers. Is living in Rome expensive? Which are the best International Schools in Rome? What if my apartment is a little smaller than the size required for obtaining a Residency Card? Where do expats live in Rome? The list goes on.

If you're moving to Rome, our Guide to Living in Rome provides answers to the questions most often asked by newcomers. Is living in Rome expensive? Which are the best International Schools in Rome? ...

Puglia,-Italy

Puglia, Italy

Why is Puglia described as the new Tuscany? People are drawn to Puglia's low cost of living, amazing climate, beautiful beaches hidden away in coves, and, most importantly, the wonderful Pugliese people. If Puglia is on your shortlist, this overview of life in Puglia, Italy is an essential read.

Why is Puglia described as the new Tuscany? People are drawn to Puglia's low cost of living, amazing climate, beautiful beaches hidden away in coves, and, most importantly, the wonderful Pugliese peo...

10-Best-Places-to-Live-in-Puglia

10 Best Places to Live in Puglia

Puglia or Apulia is sometimes referred to as the new Tuscany. With its low cost of living, friendly Pugliese people, beautiful beaches and villages of whitewashed homes, Puglia is a hidden gem among expats. If you're thinking about moving to Puglia, our list of the 10 best places to live in Puglia is based upon expat advice and recommendations.

Puglia or Apulia is sometimes referred to as the new Tuscany. With its low cost of living, friendly Pugliese people, beautiful beaches and villages of whitewashed homes, Puglia is a hidden gem among...

Cigna International Health Insurance

Write a Comment about this Article

Sign In to post a comment.
addacomment

Comments about this Article

lralegs
Feb 4, 2018 11:06

What is the best way to get the money from USA to Italy to buy property ?

guest
Jul 5, 2018 07:20

Hello Signoro Bottino. Wondering what you recommend for my mother . She has a home in Isernia Italy. Wants to sell it. . I think she first wants to get an honest appraisal by a realtor like we do here in America. Do you know of any local Good realtors that are experienced in this area? So far she-has had some verbal offers that are too-low and she is very insulted about that. Seems like people want it for nothing. Thank you for your advice...

guest
Jun 27, 2019 18:30

Buongiorno Carlo, How do we find out what the registration code is (CIR ?) in order to list our house on a website as a vacation rental in Lombardia please? Who do we need to consult for this? A lawyer? A commercialista? Other? Grazie mille, Andrea

First Published: Jan 24, 2017

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Italy from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Expat-Italy12 Best Places to Live in Italy

Italy is beloved by expats, global nomads and retirees. We've compiled a list of the 12 best places to live in Italy based upon expats' recommendations. They include Liguria, Puglia, Rome, Le Marche, Abruzzo, Sicily and more.

Italy is beloved by expats, global nomads and retirees. We've compiled a list of the 12 best places to live in Italy based upon expats' recommendations. They include Liguria, Puglia, Rome, Le Marche...

Living-in-ItalyRome

If you're moving to Rome, our Guide to Living in Rome provides answers to the questions most often asked by newcomers. Is living in Rome expensive? Which are the best International Schools in Rome? What if my apartment is a little smaller than the size required for obtaining a Residency Card? Where do expats live in Rome? The list goes on.

If you're moving to Rome, our Guide to Living in Rome provides answers to the questions most often asked by newcomers. Is living in Rome expensive? Which are the best International Schools in Rome? ...

Retirement-In-MinturnoAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Minturno, Italy

An expat who retired in Minturno, Italy talks about health insurance, cost of living in Italy, residence permits and much more.

An expat who retired in Minturno, Italy talks about health insurance, cost of living in Italy, residence permits and much more....

Moving-To-Passignano-sul-TrasimenoAn Expat Talks about Moving to Passignano sul Trasimeno, Italy

Imagine traveling in Italy, seeing a poster for an concert on a lake, attending the concert and finding a beautiful town, like Passignano sul Trasimeno. Dreams do come true!

Imagine traveling in Italy, seeing a poster for an concert on a lake, attending the concert and finding a beautiful town, like Passignano sul Trasimeno. Dreams do come true! ...

Italy Guide
Other Links
Our Story Our Team Contact Us Submit an Article Advertising Travel Warnings

Copyright 1997-2020 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal