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Italy is one of the safest countries in which to buy a house thanks to its legal system, requiring strict procedures for property transfer. However, foreign buyers can encounter difficulties in understanding these procedures. For this reason, the team at Properties in Italy will provide you all the necessary assistance to thoroughly understand all of these procedures before taking the decision to buy a property in our country.


Buying a property in Italy is usually arranged in three stages:

  • The first stage consists of searching, visiting and selecting the property with the assistance of an agent (Mediatore or Agente immobiliare). Once the property is selected, the buyer may be asked to sign a buying proposal (Proposta d'acquisto), and leave a small deposit with the agent.
  • The second stage. If the buying proposal is accepted by the vendor, the next step is to sign and exchange the contract (contratto preliminare or compromesso). This is normally a legally binding agreement to complete the purchase by a public sales act drawn up by a notary and to pay the balance of the agreed price on a future specified date. The preliminary sales agreement (compromesso) is a private agreement between the buyer and seller, where the "promising" buyer and the "promising" seller commit themselves in transferring a property. This agreement can be drawn up by the vendor, agent or a solicitor/lawyer. Since it is a complex legal document, it should always be submitted for advice to, or drawn up by a specialized Italian lawyer.
  • The third stage consists of the completion formalities. The sale will be completed by a public notary when the final deed (rogito) or conveyance of transfer is signed. The notary issues a certified copy of the deed of sale and registers the original document with the land registry, which makes the buyer the legal owner of the property. The notary checks that the title deeds are in order, that the property is legally registered and that it has no illegal buildings. In Italy only a notary is entitled to validly transfer title to property. The notary drafts the Purchase Deed (rogito), ensures its proper execution, registration, and payment of all Italian taxes connected with the completion.

The notary usually charges about 1.0% of the declared sales price (depending on the purchase price).

Solicitors and estate agents

In view of the legal and practical difficulties involved in buying a property in Italy, it is highly advisable for foreign buyers to obtain the assistance of a specialized Italian lawyer, preferably one who can speak fluent English, to act on their behalf. He will be in charge of drawing up contracts, contacting the Notary and giving all necessary legal advice.

Purchase taxes

Registry taxes (stamp duties) for buying a property in Italy are usually between 3-10% of the declared purchase price:
3% for residents (only for their main and first residence)
10% for non-residents (or for second houses)
18% for agricultural property

In case you buy a residential property from a private person, the registry taxes will be calculated on the "cadastral value" (tax value in the Land registry which is usually much lower than the market value).
If the property is bought from a construction company ( new developments or properties restored by the company) you will pay VAT instead of registry taxes. VAT is 4% for residents, 10% for non-residents and is applied to the property value declared in the public Deed of Transfer.

First time buyer benefits

To take advantage of the first time buyer benefits (lower purchase taxes for residents, see above), you need to declare in the conveyance deed that you will establish residence (or the headquarters of your business activity), within 18 months from the date of purchase, in the municipal territory where the property is located. You should not own other residential properties in the same municipality or any other property bought with the first time home buyer benefits throughout the entire Italian territory.

Property Taxes

Non Residents owning a property in Italy have to pay the following taxes:

  • Income tax (IRPEF). Non-residents must submit a tax return stating the details of their Italian property. If they let the property, they should declare the yearly rent, otherwise they should only declare the cadastral rental (usually quite low).
  • The local community tax (ICI) which is between 0.4% - 0.7% of a property's cadastral value (official value in the Land Registry), to be paid in two yearly installments. The tax is not due on property where residents establish their residence.

Restoration or construction

In order to proceed with the restoration or the construction of a building, it is necessary to obtain the services of a licensed surveyor (Geometra), or an Architect. All major construction or restoration works require the presentation of a request for authorization to the local commune, signed by the owner of the property and a licensed technician. In the case of light restoration works (internal walls, painting, floors, window and door frames etc.) it is sufficient to present a particular request called a DIA (dichiarazione di inizio attivitą), signed by a technician.


It is currently reasonably cheap to get a loan from Italian banks which lend amounts against purchase prices of up to 80 %, depending on your monthly income.

If you need any other information about the above subjects, please feel free to contact us.

Properties in Italy di Andrea Redivo Zaglia
Via del Santo 45
I-35123 Padova - ITALY
tel: ++39 349 4520481 
fax: ++ 39 049 655408

P.IVA (VAT. Reg.): 04106270285
Numero REA: PD - 362490 - Privacy Policy