Despite the great variety of choice that Italy’s real estate market has to offer, if you have a very specific idea of what your future dream house should look like, there might be very few options you might like. However, if you do not like the idea of compromising then you may want to consider buying a plot of land and building your house from scratch. Although there are several requirements to consider before you decide to buy a plot of land and start building your house, you should not be afraid of Italian bureaucracy because if you do seek the help of the right professionals, you will ultimately build the house of your dreams. If you are wondering where and when to begin this journey, keep reading this article as we will guide you through the process of identifying and purchasing a plot of land for your future dream house.


An essential aspect to be aware of before you start planning on purchasing a plot of land is that in Italy, each plot of land is assigned to a specific purpose, therefore, you need to look out for a plot of land for building purposes. The two key documents that can help you identify the type of land you are buying are the Piano Regolatore Generale (“general town development plan”), which lists the general purpose of each plot, and the piano particolareggiato, a complimentary document which regulates any form of public and private works. In order to build on the plot of land you have chosen, it should be defined as terreno edificabile (construction plot). Sometimes a plot might be listed as a construction plot but after analyzing the documentation you might realize that it is an agricultural plot or a plot intended for industrial construction. Therefore, the type of plot should always be verified in the development plans, which are available in the municipality where the plot of land is located. Checking the legal status of a plot is also crucial to verify that that it is not intended for public works or other purposes.


It is worth pointing out that as far as taxes are concerned, if you are purchasing a plot of land you will need to pay a registration tax (payable only once), which is 9% of the value of the plot. If you are building your first house you will be entitled to a tax reduction and will need to pay 4% VAT on construction fees. More information about tax breaks for homebuyers can be found here.


While it is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that you ask an expert in the construction industry to make sure that your chosen plot comes with no hidden problems. In this case you may ask a geometra to help you; although you may not be familiar with this specific role as there is no direct equivalent of this profession abroad, a geometra’s responsibilities combine those of an architect and surveyor. The geometra’ vast knowledge and skills will allow you to understand whether there are any issues with the plot of land you would like to buy; the geometra will also provide you with advice regarding future construction works and the paperwork needed to buy the plot of land. The geometra will also be able to tell you if the area where you would like to build is at seismic or hydrogeological risk, and if there is access to water and electricity.


In Italy a house plan is designed by an architect, an engineer or a geometra and it needs to be approved in order to obtain a building permit. There are also other factors you must take into account prior to submitting the project to apply for a building permit, namely the minimum distances to be maintained between one property and another, the coverage ratio (i.e., the percentage of the lot that can be covered), the height that the building can reach and the distance the building must be from the road.  The application for a building permit must be submitted at the Sportello Unico dell’Edilizia of the municipality in which the property to be built is located. Once the building permit has been obtained, you will be able to start the construction phase.

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