Introduction- Real estate agents
Many people come to Umbria for a holiday, and start to think "I'd like to live here!" then the dreaming begins! Things Italian suddenly come up in bright neon lights; food, clothes, wine and even red cars! Once you have seen a property you like and have decided to come and have a look you can stay at one of the many great places we have selected for you in the Holiday List.
Buying a property in Italy is quite different to many other countries. We hope this explanation of the process will help you to understand it a little better.
When you start looking for a house you will probably go to a real estate agency. In Italy the profession of real estate agent can be exercised only by qualified agents who have a diploma. Unfortunately there are many mediators on the market place who have no qualification at all and lack the necessary knowledge of the laws and regulations, thus creating many problems for their clients. Only qualified agents have the right to an intermediation fee. Always ask the person you’re dealing with to show his or her badge (patentino di agente di affari in mediazione).
Dorrie is a qualified agent by the Italian law for sales and rentals of properties and companies, and a member of the Italian Association of Real Estate Agents FIAIP.
Budgeting for the Purchase
First of all remember that you normally need to budget for an additional 10% of the purchase price to cover tax, notaio (notary) fees, translator and agents fees, and more if you hire an expert (geometra, accountant, lawyer).
The Real Estate Agent, Fees
In Italy both the buyer and the seller pay a fee to the estate agents at a rate of usually 3% of the purchase price. Le Case di Dorrie charges the regular rate of 3% with a minimum of 3000 Euro (5% with a minimum of 5000 Euro for business sales), plus VAT (22%). For more details see our services.
The Notary's Fees
This is usually about 1.5-2 % of the declared purchase price of the property although there is usually a minimum fee charged and the charges vary between different notaries. The choice of notary is yours, but as you probably don’t know any then we can recommend one for you that we have worked with before.
It is quite understandable that you want to have as much information about the property as possible: the cadastral certificates, maps, borders, etc. We can take care of this. Quite often however the owners are rather reticent in giving so many details (for instance the old deeds with the price in it) as long as they have not received a serious offer.
The buying processOnce you have found a property you wish to buy then this is the procedure that is followed:
Making an Offer (Proposta d'acquisto)
Le Case di Dorrie will make you complete an offer form, called a proposta d'acquisto, which states the amount you are offering, any conditions, the deadline by which you will pay the deposit, the latest date for the final contract and how long the owner has to accept the offer (usually 7 or 14 days). You will need to sign the form and put down a small deposit, usually between 1000 and 10000 Euro. On larger properties or in certain circumstances you may have to put down more. This deposit will be kept by the seller’s agent until the offer is accepted and will be refunded if the offer is not accepted for any reason or an agreed price is not reached. It also counts towards the next stage and is not an additional cost. Conditions can be included in the offer, such as the inclusion of furniture, etc. and, if these conditions are not met but the price is, then the deposit is refunded. If all is accepted then the owner signs too and this is a legal contract.
Obtaining a Fiscal Code (Codice Fiscale)
To buy a property in Italy you have to have a fiscal code. You can apply for the Fiscal Code through the Italian Consulate in your Country (If you are a non EU citizen this is compulsory). Only then can you open a bank account here. However, that doesn't mean that you have to return to Italy to open the account as it can be prepared before you leave and activated when your code is available. Although it is essential to have a fiscal code and bank account for the final contract you don't need either to sign the proposta d’acquisto.
Opening a Bank Account (Un Conto Corrente in Banca)
It is handy to open a bank account here from which to pay the deposit and balance. We accompany you to Unicredit Banca, which has branches all over Umbria. The whole application procedure usually lasts 2 hours.
The preliminary contract (Preliminare or Compromesso)
The next step is the signing of the ‘il compromesso or contratto preliminare’, the preliminary purchase contract, usually written by the notary, and paying the deposit (usually 10-20%) of the purchase price. After the compromesso the notary will go to the Registries to check if there are mortgages or other claims on the property. It is best that you come over yourself to sign the compromesso, but if this is impossible we can organise the signing by post.
Registration of contracts
Since Jan 1st 2007, both the proposta d'acquisto and the preliminary contract have to be registered at the Tax Office, within 20 days after signing, and a part of the stamp duty is paid in advance, by the purchaser. Our agency will help you with this, so if you send us the money we will take care of it.
At the signing of the preliminary contract Le Case di Dorrie’s intermediation fees have to be paid too. You will receive an invoice with the amount and bank account number. This does not mean that we stop assisting you after we’ve been paid: our service will continue until the final completion, without extra charges!
Obviously, if you pull out you will lose your deposit. But if the seller pulls out after the compromesso is signed he has to pay double your deposit. In the case of a deposit called caparra confirmatoria the owner can be forced to sell by the (Italian) judge.
The Final Contract (L'atto or il rogito)
When everything is ready you can go to completion. Unless you speak perfectly Italian you will need a translator and bilingual wittness. La Case di Dorrie can provide these for you. The completion usually takes about 2 hours, or longer if many changes will have to be made and also translated. The notary first reads the Italian draft at full speed, and takes note of corrections or additions. Then the final text will be translated and printed out for signing. You have to sign not with your signature but writing your full names as in your passport. At that point the final payment has to be done, with bankers' drafts, assegni circolari, which we have previously collected at the bank. After completion you immediately pay the stamp duties and notary's fee, and the translators, and then it's time to celebrate with a nice glass of Pro Secco!
Completion in Italy is like a movie: many people sit together in the room, the vendors often take the whole family and technicians with them, secretaries running in and out,