Buying a Property in Italy

Buying a Property v ItalyOnce you have found the right property, you can either directly sign a ‘purchase contract’ or you can sign a ‘reservation contract’ (compromesso). With the reservation contract, you will be asked to deposit a reservation fee of from 10 to 30% of the purchase price. If you (as the buyer) back out of the purchase, the seller will retain the reservation fee; if, on the other hand, the seller decides to back out of the transaction, they are obligated to pay to the buyer an amount, which is double the amount of the reservation fee.

Among the services that Rellox provides to its clients is the obtaining of an Italian tax ID number and a mailing address. While working together with Rellox, an Italian notary prepares most of the paperwork that is needed for the transaction. The notary also guarantees a clean transfer of title and checks up on the identity of the property owner, any existing liens or encumbrances, etc. All contracts are drawn up in Italian and Rellox can handle any translations (and court-appointed interpreters, if needed) when signing a purchase contract in Italy.

The buyer is responsible for paying the taxes associated with the purchase (transfer of title). The taxes amount to about 11% of the recorded value of the property (based on records maintained by the local building department). This recorded value is usually lower than the market (sales) price.

When buying a newly built property, instead of paying the property transfer tax, the buyer is responsible for paying VAT (the standard rate is 10%). Notary fees usually run a total of about 2% of the property purchase price. The title of ownership is transferred to the buyer at the time of the signing of the purchase contract when the purchase price should have also been paid, along with any accompanying taxes and fees. If the purchase price is up to EUR 150,000, the real estate commission is 5 % + VAT (minimum commission is set at EUR 5,000, with the client paying for translations of contractual documentation), if the purchase price is between EUR 150,001 and 350,000, the real estate commission is 4 % + VAT, and if the purchase price is over EUR 350 000, the real estate commission is 3 % + VAT.

In Italy, property owners are required to pay an annual property tax (ICI). The amount of the tax is based on a tax schedule and it is usually fairly low – depending on the type of property, the tax is usually in the range of several hundred euros per year. Service and utility fees (water, electricity, gas, garbage collection) are also relatively low – once again depending on the property and usually in the range of several hundred euros per year.

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