Italy is an excellent country for property investment. The country has a fairly simple property buying process but it differs a lot from the USA and UK systems.
I have gone through the real estate buying process myself and it is actually rather easy - once you understand it.
Essential reading though before you take the property buying plunge is Buying a Home in Italy: A Survival Handbook (Survival Handbooks). My well thumbed copy served me extremely well and even though I speak Italian and have lived here for ten years I found the book to be exceptional.
You may also involve your lawyer if you would like extra peace of mind although I have never done so.
The process is in three steps:
1) Make the offer
Once you find a property you like you then make an offer signed by you and the seller. This then gives you and the seller a certain amount of time to sign the Compromesso (preliminary contract). You normally pay around 10% of the purchase price which is held by the estate agent. If you back out after this is signed you lose this money. This is also when you can have your surveyor (Geometra) check out the property to make sure all is as stated.
2) The Preliminary contract (Compromesso)
The preliminary contract (Compromesso) commits both parties to the sale. The contract confirms that both parties agree to buy and sell the property, and agree on the terms and conditions of the sale. It is often a good idea to let your lawyer look through the contract as you need to pay a 1/3 deposit which you will lose if you back out after signing the contract. If the owner backs out he will have to pay you double your deposit.
This is the final completion of sale. If you cannot be here you are entitled to give power of attorney to someone in Italy you trust or your agent. I would recommend that you attend in person though and with a translator if your Italian isn’t that good.
You will need an Italian tax number known as a codice fiscale, which your lawyer or agent can arrange. You will also need your passport.
It is vital that your mortgage is finalised too as you must make full payment and pay the notary, surveyor fees and all taxes at this point. The property is now yours.
My advice is to try and organise the mortgage and home insurance in your own country if you are buying a holiday home. Firstly it is easier to do in your own language and secondly, if your home currency isn’t euro, it eliminates the currency risk. In the UK the Abbey National and Baydonhill are pretty specialised in the Italian market.
For more information and a selection of properties visit our property investment Italy main page.