Saturday, January 31, 2009

Buyers Guide - The Legal Steps When Buying a Property in Italy


Once you have found a property you wish to buy, it is essential for you to sign a preliminary reservation agreement with the seller, and pay a reservation deposit of between 3.000 € and 5.000 €. This contract (is like the “option” contract in the U.K. and Ireland) is proof that the property is off the market, and you are in a position to buy it.

Searching process

Once the property is reserved in your name with a preliminary sales contract, you will usually have between 15 and 30 days to gather information on the property regarding land register and legal issues. This is necessary in order to verify whether the title deeds for the property are satisfactory, and whether the person selling the property is authorised to transfer their ownership.

Your chosen lawyer should also carry out an exhaustive check in order to guarantee that the property is also free from any pending charges, mortgages or debts. If there are any pending charges on the property, your lawyer should take the appropriate measures to ensure it is completely settled before the legal ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer.

If you are buying a plot of land, a survey of the land can be carried out, in order to obtain its exact measurements and to identify its borders. This study will include details on whether the land has been classed as buildable, on its access points and on its surface. Likewise, it will provide information on the different building possibilities and on the buildable area, including a detailed plan that will form part of your final title deed.

If you are dealing with properties in a building phase, your lawyer will ensure that the developer meets all appropriate legal requirements: building licence (with a detailed check made in the architectural department of the adequate municipality) and land survey (making sure that the work is taking place on regulated land).

Should checks unveil any legal obstacles which affect the buying process, your lawyer will advise you in writing not to continue with the process, and will ensure that the initial deposit you paid is returned in full by the selling party.
In any case, and as part of our process, a lawyer will run checks on the reputation and solvency of the builders/developers, obtaining references that the property will be built and handed over in the terms and conditions stated.


Once the checks on the property have been made, and after guaranteeing that the legal situation of the property allows the sale to take place, you can sign the so-called Compromesso.
The Compromesso is an important document containing information on the buyer and the seller, the description of the property, the price of the sale, the method of payment, the date the contract is formalised, the date you take possession of the property, etc.

Once both parties have signed the Compromesso and the deposit has been paid, the contract becomes a legally binding document. The amount payable as deposit at this stage and the structure of payments until completion varies, depending on the developer.

The deposit paid in this stage is called “caparra confirmatoria”, if the developer did not conclude the transaction, he would have to pay double the amount of caparra confirmatoria to the client. If the client did not conclude the deal the developer would keep the caparra confirmatoria.


The property sale process is finalised before a Notary, with the buyer and seller signing the Deed of Sale. The Notary is a public official. His or her duty consists in identifying the buyer and the seller, and ensuring that all legal requirements have been met, and that the amount due to be paid has been settled.

If you are unavailable during finalising of the deeds, a lawyer can take care of it by means of a power of attorney, which means we can carry out all necessary procedures in your name. .

Taking possession and handing over of keys

Immediately after the deeds have been signed, the buyer is handed the property keys, and can take possession of the property.

Final title deeds and property registration

The property registration procedure entails the payment of all the taxes applicable to the property and the obtaining of the final register stamp for the Title Deeds, which guarantees the transfer of the property. This procedure is an important step, and takes place just after you have taken possession of your property.

Collecting documents

Once the Property Register has returned the Title Deeds, a lawyer will arrange the best time for you to collect it from our offices, together with the rest of the documents you must keep.

No comments:

Post a Comment