Buying a home for sale in Italy? Then you need to prepare properly! The process of purchasing a property in Italy
can get complicated at times, especially when it comes to the law. Just like in many other countries, when you buy property in Italy, you will face a few legal issues along the way. There's paying taxes and fees, for instance, which is fairly common. As well as checking the land registry, which you might encounter too. These and more may prove to hinder your path to owning a home in Italy. Fortunately, it's better that you know about them now so that you'll know what to do if ever you get into a sticky situation!
Can Foreigners Buy Property in Italy?
The answer is yes, they can. Just like in many other European countries, such as France
, you can buy property in Italy even if you're not a resident or citizen. EU citizens outside of Italy even have the same rights as the country's citizens. They can easily purchase any property in Italy without having to show documents relating to their residency, citizenship, and the like. But for those from outside of the EU, there are a few documents you will need to get and show. One of them is codice fiscale
Getting A Codice Fiscale
If you're a foreigner looking to buy real estate in Italy, you will need to get codice fiscale
. Only then can you legally purchase any property in the country. But what is it, exactly? Your codice fiscale
is basically your social security number in Italy. Arranged by the Agenzia delle Entrate
, it will help you deal with all the taxes, fees, and other legal matters on buying property in the country. Don't worry! The process of getting one is fairly easy and quick, especially if you do it online. As long as you have your valid ID documents ready, you're good to go!
The Taxes and Frees You Have to Pay
Speaking of taxes
, you might be surprised at how many taxes and fees you need to pay when you buy property in Italy. Advocate Abroad
listed them all down, as well as other charges you may face along the way. But for the most part, what you really need to know about are the VAT, registration tax (Imposta di registro
), municipal tax (Imposta Municipale Unica
), land registry tax (Imposta ipotecaria
), and cadastral tax (Imposta cadastale
). Not to mention capital gains tax ( Plusvalenza
) for when you want to profit off the property. As well as property management fees for when you already hold ownership of the place.
Checking The Land Registry
Before deciding on a property, it's important to check its status within the land registry first. It has all the info you'll need before you can legally buy the place. They include documents on the current owner (if it's the seller or not), the status of its mortgage, and any other issues concerning the property. Though this step is mostly done by the notary, it pays to stay on top of things as well. Whether you go to the city hall yourself and you let your solicitor do it, always keep up to date with the relevant information.
Why You Should Get A Notary
Hiring a notary is a must when you want to buy real estate in Italy. Firstly, they'll help you finalize the deed of sale and register your new property under your own name. Secondly, if you're a foreign buyer who knows very little of the country's laws regarding buying a property in Italy, a notary or solicitor will give you all the legal advice you need. Thirdly, they'll also serve as your legal representative when dealing with the seller, which is pretty important if you're not in Italy yourself.
Signing The Contratto Preliminare
Once you've decided on a property in Italy, it's better to sign the contratto preliminare
right away! This document will legally bind you, as the buyer, and the seller in the transaction. Once both parties have signed it, it ensures that you will get the property the moment you finalize the sale. This also blocks the seller from stepping out of the agreement and selling the property to someone else. As for you, signing the contratto preliminare
comes with paying the deposit, which is more or less around 10% of the property value. If you ever decide to cancel our purchase afterward, you won't get the deposit back!
Dealing with Mortgage in Italy
When you buy a new property in Italy, it isn't just your mortgage that you have to deal with. You'll also have to make sure that the previous mortgage was already removed prior to the sale. And while this is more on the part of the seller, it's also your responsibility to check on the status. There are cases in which the previous mortgage has already been paid in full yet it's still attached to the property. This, in turn, may make the seller think that their mortgage was already removed. And if you get the property with the previous mortgage still intact, this may lead to extra charges!
As much as you'd hope it would be, buying property in Italy is no walk in the park. There are a few legal issues you might face along the way and it's better that you know about them now so you can prepare beforehand!