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The fine art of property hunting 

 

Finding your dream property in the perfect location is difficult enough at home, but trying this abroad in a foreign language is a real challenge. With our expertise and local knowledge, we can explore so many avenues beyond our selected portfolio, such as state auctions (if you are looking for a bargain), or properties that may not be advertised at all. Often just through word of mouth, we can dig out hidden gems, off the map of other estate agents. Our real strength and main focus covers properties in Lunigiana, including Cinque Terre, Alpi Apuane, Appenninno Tosco-Emilliano, Golfo dei Poeti and Garfagnana.

How it works

Firstly, and most importantly, we talk at length with you about what you’re looking for in a property and the location. This will be over the phone and by email. We will discuss your budget range and whether you’re happy to renovate and refurbish a building, or prefer a home that’s complete and ready to move in. These conversations will help refine your search criteria before you visit us in Italy. We understand that each client's search is unique and individual, our aim is to find exactly what you’re looking for. 

Then the hunting begins.

We’ll select the most suitable matches from our own portfolio, explore other agency listings and auction lists, to give you the widest possible choice. (Our reputation for seeking properties that are not widely advertised is excellent.) 

Once you have selected the properties you wish to see, we will arrange the viewings to fit in with your travel plans. We will of course accompany you at all viewings, providing all the necessary advice and valuable insights into local amenities. 

As you’d expect, we assist with the negotiations, guiding you through the intricacies of the Italian system and provide advice on all aspects of the purchase process. We will accompany you to all meetings, and if you require, our translation assistance is at your disposal.   We can also offer advice and recommendations for reputable Developers, Builders, Architects, Project Managers, Notaries and Accountants. Everything you could possibly want. It’s all part of our comprehensive service that’s designed to take away all the stresses and strains of purchasing in Italy.

The process of buying your property

Making an offer

As with any property purchase, the first stage is to make an offer. In Italy, the vendor sets a price that he is happy to accept - if the offer is at the requested price then it is deemed to be accepted. It is also a common practice to bid below the quoting price and enter a negotiation with the vendor, although in certain circumstances, the vendor will set a fixed price, which in these cases is unnegotiable – a formal purchase proposal is then made in a document called a Proposta di Acquisto, accompanied by a deposit.

Once the offer is accepted, the parties will enter into a bilateral agreement, called the Compromesso, (Pre-Contractual Agreement), a binding agreement subject to certain conditions, (such as obtaining finance), or they may also proceed directly to the completion Deed. The process differs from the UK and many other countries in that the buyer and seller are contractually bound from the outset - the purchaser is, however, protected by a 10 day 'cooling off period' in which they can withdraw from the purchase deal.

 

The Deposit    

20-30 % of the agreed purchase price is the usual deposit amount, payable with the signing of the Proposta di Acquisto or Compromesso (Purchase Proposal Contract or Pre-Contractual Agreement). this is refundable, if the purchaser pulls out within 10 days, or if the conditions are not met.

 

Completion and the Sale Deed

A deadline for completion will be outlined in the Compromesso and is concluded with the signature of the Sale Deed. The Sale Deed will specify all the relevant details of the transaction, the property in question, the identity of all parties, the price, the fees and any taxes to be paid.

Once the Sale Deed is signed, the Notary will provide an 'Attestato d'Aquisto' (Testimonial of Purchase), which will act as proof of purchase until the formal registration is completed – Once registration is completed, an authenticated copy of the Completion Deed will be sent to the purchaser along with any outstanding monies from the Notary.

 

The Notary: legal responsibilities.

The rest of the legal process is handled by the Notary, who is an impartial government official and often acts on behalf of both the purchaser and the vendor – it is the vendor who usually chooses the Notary (we have good knowledge of all the Notaries who operate in the local area and can advise you accordingly). The Notaries can also draft the Compromesso, although this is more often undertaken independently by the agent. The Notary will then complete the transaction formalities and will be present at the final signature of the deeds, as will a translator for non-Italian speakers and your agent. This process takes on average between 2 to 3 months - the Notaries fees are payable by the purchaser.

The Notary will be responsible for legal property transfer and checks prior to completion regarding the eligibility of buyer’s sellers and the property through checking plans and identification characteristics. Changes of ownership over the last 20 years will be redrafted to ensure continuity of the transcriptions. The notary is responsible for the calculation, collection and payment of taxes on the transaction on behalf of the buyer and seller.

Only when the deed has been finalised is the transaction officially public and opposable by third parties – you will receive an authenticated copy, and the Notary will keep the original Deed in their archives.

You’ll find everything you need to know about the legal side of buying a property in Italy and the taxes with these links: 

https://www.notariato.it/en/casa/purchase-proposal-0

Tax Guide: agenziaentrate.gov.it

 

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