How to buy an house in Puglia~
Buy a property is simple
Buy a property is simple
A step by step guide: How to Buy a Property in Italy
The process to buy a property in Italy is comprised of three stages:
1. Proposta irrevocabile d’acquisto (Reservation Offer)
2. Contratto preliminare di vendita (Preliminary Contract)
3. Atto di vendita (Deed of Sale)
1. Proposta Irrevocabile d’Acquisto (Reservation Offer)
When buying a property in Italy, at first you will be requested to sign a document called “Proposta Irrevocabile d’Acquisto” (Reservation Offer). This is a regular practice when buying through a real estate agency.
By signing the reservation offer, the seller agrees to remove the property from the real estate market for a certain period of time, (usually 15 days) and gives you, for this period the exclusive rights to acquire the property. During this time, your real estate agent will be able to conduct the required searches, including, but not limited to, assuring that the property is without any debts, mortgages, claims and that there isn't any unpleasant and by any chance costly surprise during the final act of the purchase. At this step you will be asked to pay a small deposit as a guarantee, which is normally held by the estate agent or solicitor until your purchase offer is formally signed/accepted by the seller. If the purchase is finalized, the deposit will be considered as a partial payment on the final purchase price. If not, the deposit will be returned to you. Only if signed by both parties, the reservation offer becomes a legally binding document between the parties.
At this stage, after the buyer and seller agree and go ahead with the conveyance, they will formalize their agreement by drafting a Preliminary Contract (Contratto Preliminare).
2. Contratto Preliminare di Vendita (Preliminary Contract)
This legal act is particularly important as it defines the detailed terms and conditions of the sale. If the Preliminary Contract is drafted by the seller's solicitor, you must have your own solicitor examine it and obtain detailed information before you sign it. The payment of a deposit (caparra confirmatoria), is an essential element of the preliminary contract and it usually corresponds to a minimum of 10% of the purchase price. It is not refundable if the buyer backs out of the preliminary contract without a valid legal reason. On the other hand if the seller pulls out of the sale, he will have to refund the deposit in full and also the buyer will have the right to pursue a claim through the Italian courts. The conveyance is finalized in front of the Public Notary who has the authority, according to the Italian law, to validate the contracts and transfer the ownership of a property. The Public Notary is resposnible for the payment of the registry fees, land registry, and that the property searches.
3. Atto di Vendita (Deed of Sale)
Signing the sale contract is the last step of buying a property in Italy. It must be fully compliant with the all the details and essential elements contained in the preliminary contract. It is usually prepared by the Public Notary. The deed of sale must be drawn up in Italian and in case one of the parties does not understand the Italian language, it will be translated in to the relevant language by a sworn translator. The signing of the contract of sale usually takes place at the Public Notary’s office, where the Public Notary reads and explains all the main points of the contract in front of the seller and the buyer, or their legal representatives. Both parties have the opportunity to read and check the contract of sale and make sure that it is correct. Once the deed is signed by both parties, the sale will be concluded with the payment of the remainimng amount of the purchase price to the seller and the keys handed over to the buyer.
Usually within a month after the signing, the new ownership is registered at the Land Registry Office. Once registered, a copy of the title deeds will be given to the new owners.
We thank De Tullio Law Firm for the legal support.
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