Buying a property in Italy might seem an intricate process especially if you do not live in Italy and you do not speak the language. This article will draw from our previous articles in which we analyzed the process of selling and buying a property in Italy and it will address specifically some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the purchasing process. If your question is not listed below please do not hesitate to contact us.
Q.1 You would like to check which properties are on sale in a specific area or you wish to buy a specific type of property. Is there a registry or an online database you can check to see which properties are on sale?
In Italy there are real estate agencies and other commercial companies which list available properties around the country. However, their websites may not always be updated and if you need more detailed information and you do not speak Italian house hunting may become rather challenging. We at Italian Real Estate Lawyers can help you find the property which best suits your needs. We work with a network of professionals based all over Italy and we can offer a wide range of properties that are available in all regions in Italy. We carry out extensive research, we take into account our clients’ preferences and requirements such as location, number of rooms and budget in order to ensure that we find the property that best suits our clients’ needs. We also make sure that the purchasing process is transparent and safe from a legal perspective.
Q.2 You would like to buy a plot of land to build your own property. Is this allowed in Italy?
The Italian Government determines the designation of every plot of land in the country. Some areas are intended for agricultural purposes only and therefore building is not allowed. In other words, some areas might be subject to restrictions. For example, you may not be able to build a multi-storey house in a rural area and some areas might even be part of regional natural parks, and therefore the limitations might even be stricter. In other words, prior to purchasing a plot of land, it is always advisable to enquire about building permits and restrictions.
Q.3 You would like to buy a property in Italy but you do not speak Italian. How difficult will it be to purchase a property?
Although speaking Italian is not a legal requirement to purchase a property, if you are interested in buying a property in Italy, having basic knowledge of the language might facilitate the process. In fact, it is possible to make a formal offer or sign a preliminary contract in English, but by law, the Final Contract of Sale must be in Italian. If you do not speak Italian, you will need an interpreter or an Italian professional consultant. If you cannot travel to Italy to sign important legal documents or the Final Contract of Sale, you can allow another person to sign on your behalf by signing a Power of Attorney. We at Italian Real Estate Lawyers can help you throughout the purchasing process and we can also sign the Final Contract of Sale on your behalf.
Q.4 Why is the Notary’s role important in real estate transactions in Italy?
The notary plays an important role in the process of purchasing a property in Italy. Although you might be able to find a property and negotiate the purchasing price with the seller without relying on a real estate agent, you will need to appear before a notary in order to sign the Final Contract of Sale. A notary is a qualified lawyer and government-appointed officer whose role is to witness both the seller and the buyer’s signatures thereby validating the change of ownership rights. The notary is impartial and acts on behalf of both parties but he is likely to be appointed by the vendor.
Q.5 You have found the house of your dreams but you do not have a bank account in Italy. Is it necessary to have one in order to purchase a property in Italy?
You do not need to have an Italian bank account in order to purchase a property in Italy. The funds can be transferred from your foreign bank account directly into the seller’s bank account. However, since this can be risky, many notaries decide to open a bank account for the foreign buyer to transfer his or her funds; the funds will be then sent to the seller when both parties sign the Final Contract of Sale.
Q.6 Can you negotiate the purchasing price and apply for a mortgage?
Sellers usually tend to sell a property for a price which is higher than what they expect to receive. Therefore, you can negotiate the purchasing price. As far as mortgages are concerned, if you are not an Italian citizen it is very unlikely that a bank in Italy will offer you a mortgage, rather, it is worth enquiring as to whether your bank in your home country can offer you a loan.
Q.7 Finally, can you live in Italy without any time restrictions simply by virtue of owning a house?
If you buy a property in Italy and you are not an Italian citizen or a citizen of the EU you cannot live in Italy without any time limitations. In other words, you can enter the country on a 90-days tourist visa, which will allow you to stay in Italy for three months only (this also applies to citizens from the UK). Nevertheless, owning a property can facilitate applying for a visa, especially the elective residence visa.
If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation. We will be happy to help you!