The initial offer can be made verbally yourself or through an Agent. You can expect to negotiate on price.
If you are engaging an Agent (which we recommend), they will be able to advise you on a fair value for the house.
2. Check for pre-emption rights
Before you can begin formalizing the sale, you or your agent will need to review the house documentation to ensure there are no pre-emption rights. This would include:
an existing mortgage,
a current resident,
multiple owners (common for properties that have been passed down through families),
cadastral (public register) details of the house (such as official address…).
This process is typically managed by an Agency. If you intend to buy from a private owner, we suggest you engage an agent to manage the process as they are insured in the event of any issues.
3. Check for structural status
Either you or your Agent can engage a Geometra or Architect to advise on any structural or other issues with the house. They can also provide initial suggestions on what you can and can’t do with the property.
This does not necessarily need to be in writing, it is for your own knowledge before moving on to the purchase.
4. Preliminary Contract
Similar to a Letter of Agreement or other type documents, this is a written indication of confirmation to purchase.
Once it is signed by all parties, it becomes binding.
5. Pay deposit
The deposit will be due at the time the preliminary contract is signed. If you are not purchasing a 1 euro house, the deposit amount is determined between you and the seller.
a. If a buyer cancels after the deposit has been paid, they forfeit the deposit. If the seller cancels, the seller returns the deposit AND pays the buyer an equivalent amount of the deposit.
b. The deposit can be in the form of an international wire transfer or bank check. Note that the contract can be forfeit if the deposit is not received within the specified time. Typically for international purchases, the Agent will arrange sufficient time to process an international wire transfer.
6. Pay agent fee
If you are not purchasing a 1 euro house property and you engage a realtor directly, it is a safe estimate to assume that you would pay either 3% of the purchase price or €2,500 whichever is higher + IVA (Value Added Tax).
a. Example: Assume you purchase a property for €5,000. 3% of that price would only be €150.00. So you would instead need to pay the realtor €2,500 + 22% Value Added Tax = €3,025.
7. Notary prepares the final contract
In Italy, the Notary is the person who legalizes the transfer of a property deed from one owner to another. They will manage this process as well as pay all the various taxes associated with the purchase. The buyer would pay a lump sum to the Notary, typically by wire transfer or bank check. From that sum, the Notary will allocate the specified amounts for the various taxes and fees on your behalf.
Only the buyer can choose the Notary. You can select one you prefer or ask the Agency to recommend one.
8. Sign final contract & pay remaining balance
The Notary will provide the final contract for all parties to sign. At this point you would also pay the remaining balance of the purchase price, less the deposit already submitted.
This step must be done in person unless you have arranged a Power of Attorney.
9. Transfer & registration
The notary will transfer the deed and register the property for new ownership.
How long does does the purchase process take?
The timeline to complete this full process depends primarily on the needs of buyer and the preliminary paperwork being in order. For the 1 euro houses and houses being sold through an Agency, the paperwork is typically ready before the house is listed. This may not be the case for a property being sold privately by the owner.
If everything is in order, the full process could be completed in as little as 3-4 weeks.