It is important to be aware that the legal process when you buy a property in Italy is not the same as the UK or other countries. Once of the most positive points is that, as long as your contract is worded correctly, you will not have the trouble with gazumping that there is in the UK. Contracts are binding from the outset as long as the offer price is accepted. Dates are inserted so that you will know when payments are due and you can therefore arrange your finances. Clauses can be included to protect you, such as subject to searches, mortgages etc. However we suggest that you take professional advice on these matters before signing any documentation with regard to your Italian property purchase. Please see below for some straight forward details on how to proceed, for more detailed information please click below.
Contracts are normally in 3 stages:
1. The proposal of purchase. (la proposta d’acquisto)
This is where a binding contract is drawn up with the property detail of the Italian property for sale, the buyer and sellers details, the price, the payments, dates and completion date. The contact needs to be signed in Italian and you should expect a translation in your native language or the language of your choice. It is important for this contract to be drawn up correctly. Once the offer has been put forward from the buyer to the seller and accepted you will need to send a deposit which is between 5 and 10% of the purchase price. You will lose your deposit if you pull out of the transaction unless there is a legally valid reason for you to withdraw. The seller might also be liable to compensate the buyer if he withdraws.
2. The exchange of contracts (il compromesso)
This contract has more details included than the proposal of purchase and if the Italian property is a new build a list of finishes should be included. At this stage you should have had searches /survey carried out and an agreement for a mortgage, if requested. You can also check at this time if the completion date suits both parties. You will need to pay between 15 and 25% of the purchase price at this stage.
3. Completion (il rogito)
This will be carried in front of an Italian notary, in Italy. The notary officially has to act for both parties. You will pay the balance of the purchase price on your Italian property plus either vat or land registry tax. You will not pay both. Vat is payable on new build properties the rate depends upon whether you intend to be resident and live in Italy or are buying as a second home. The buyer pays the notary expenses on the Italian property purchase by law. You should receive or can request a completion statement. You will not receive the deeds on the day of completion as these will be sent to the appropriate office for registration and will be ready within 4 to 6 weeks at the office of the notary. However this property in Italy now belongs to you.
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