Deciding to buy property in Italy is an important decision, whether it’s a new, old, or somewhere-in-between property. Enchanted by surrounding beautiful landscapes and historical buildings, many people overlook a crucial step — a thorough property inspection. In this article, we delve into the importance of conducting a technical survey before finalizing any real estate transaction in Italy.

The Preliminary Contract and a Suspensive Clause
When initiating the property purchase journey in Italy, the first contractual step is the proposta d’acquisto or purchase proposal contract. Italian Real Estate Lawyers (IREL) advocates for the inclusion of a suspensive clause at this stage, making the proposal contingent upon a positive technical inspection conducted by a professional selected by the buyer. This precautionary measure not only safeguards the buyer’s interests but also promotes transparency and a fair transaction process, allowing any potential issues revealed during the technical inspection to be addressed before finalizing the property purchase.

Understanding the Technical Survey
A technical survey involves a thorough examination of a property conducted by a qualified professional, such as an architect, engineer, or surveyor (geometra). This assessment covers both the property’s construction conformity and its maintenance status. It aims to unveil not only potential construction flaws but also issues related to ongoing upkeep, such as the presence of mold, the functionality of utility systems like electricity and gas, or the condition of common areas in condominiums. While discernible flaws may catch the eye during a personal visit or through photos, the importance of a comprehensive inspection cannot be overstated. Local professionals bring a nuanced understanding of unique regional conditions, structural codes, and customs, providing a thorough evaluation that goes beyond surface observations. Opting for a technical survey becomes especially wise for older properties susceptible to age-related defects.

The Risks of Construction Non-compliance
It’s crucial to recognize potential risks associated with neglecting a property’s construction compliance. Construction non-compliance essentially refers to a deviation of the physical state of the home from its official floor plans, which, according to Italian law, must be deposited in two offices – the Tax Revenue Agency’s Real Estate Registry (catasto) and the local municipality offices (ufficio tecnico del comune). Common non-conformities may include additions of spaces like a second bathroom, an added balcony, or a loft space, that were constructed without proper permits and were never included in the floor plans. While some non-conformities can be resolved by approving and depositing new floor plans in the relevant offices, others may require the removal of illegal constructions before the home purchase. A detailed inspection can uncover issues related to cadastral, urbanistic, and building matters that may pose challenges before and after a property transaction.

Legal Aspects and Property Evaluation
In Italy, when a property owner sells their home, they are legally required to declare its conformity, according to urbanistic and cadastral standards, to the buyer. However, often times these declarations turn out not to be true. In fact, the burden of verification typically falls on the buyer in real estate transactions, as notaries and real estate agents are not obligated to directly assess the compliance of a property. Their role is limited to certifying the information provided by the seller, thereby placing the responsibility for accuracy on the declarant. For this reason, opting for a technical survey is highly recommended, as it serves as a vital confirmation tool for the buyer, mitigating the risk of complications stemming from undisclosed issues.

Conclusion
Rather than thinking of a technical survey as an unnecessary cost, it’s essential to recognize its importance, especially when dealing with older properties. Skipping a survey might leave buyers unaware of potential issues, from maintenance aspects of the home to construction non-conformities, bringing about unexpected expenses and hassles. Getting a detailed technical survey isn’t just about peace of mind – it’s a smart move to uncover any hidden problems, making sure your property purchase is well-informed and secure.

For assistance with your property transaction in Italy, and for help getting in touch with local technicians and surveyors, please reach out to us at info@italianrealestatelawyers.com!

 

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