Right, let’s cut to the chase: you have images of town hall officials on the make; craftsman who spend longer at lunch than they do building; and endless and frustrating delays. It’s the Italian way, right?
Not at all.
Remember, we’ve been through the process and take it from us: it’s much like it is in Britain, Holland or Germany, and certainly no longer.
And consider this: we’re handling it all for you anyway, keeping you informed every step of the way. And once building commences, we provide regular client contact reports and photographs and videos from the site.
You see, we never forget that this is your dream. And dreams should be fun.
So let’s park those concerns about Italian bureaucracy and focus on what really happens. Here’s our step-by-step guide to buying your dream Le Marche home.
The purchase offer
Once you’ve shaken on your purchase price with the vendor we need to make this official by putting it in writing. Unique Marche will handle all this for you, including recommendations for trusted English-speaking lawyers.
The Compromesso (preliminary contract)
This is like the ‘heads of terms’ that govern a commercial agreement, with the key facts of the sale being listed, such as what it is that you’re buying (as noted by the Italian Land Registry, the Catasta), completion date (il rogito) and the names of the parties to the transaction, including the notary that will oversee the transaction.
You will be expected to pay between 20% and 30% of the purchase price as your deposit and we can advise you on competitive foreign exchange providers, should you wish.
Completion (Il Rogito)
This is more formal than in some European countries, but it’s useful formality rather than wilful bureaucracy, in our opinion.
You complete when formal title to the property transfers to you via a public document signed in Front of a Notary (Il Notaio).
The notary is a public official who oversees the transaction, ensuring that the vendor is up to date with all relevant taxes and has dispensed with all mortgages or other burdens on the property (or will do so at the execution of the transaction). In other words, he checks that you can purchase the title unfettered.
The Notaio is neutral as far as the transaction goes, acting as the government’s witness to proceedings. We regularly work with Giovanna Salvucci, an English-speaking lawyer who could act for you and can ensure that you receive a copy of all relevant documentation translated in to English prior to the signing. She can arrange a translator for you on the day of signing, too, as the notary will want to be certain that you have fully understood the process as it unfolds.
The notary takes all parties through the transaction and the document is then duly signed and stamped. The transaction is then complete and you must pay the outstanding balance on the property, plus the relevant taxes and notary’s fees. The notary then registers your title to the property within 21 days and you’ll receive a copy of the document. If you have a mortgage on the property, then he’ll also register the mortgage deed.
Summary of costs
How much you pay depends on the level of stamp duty and purchase taxes your property incurs – which, as in most countries, depends on the price. Overall, your bundle of costs is based on the property taxes, notary’s fees and any agency fees that may apply. We advise that you budget between 10% – 12% of the purchase price.
Italian law requires both the buyer and the seller to pay the agent’s fees – usually no more than 3% plus tax each. You’ll pay this on exchange (the Compromesso), but you’re free to agree to split it, half on exchange and half on completion.
Other useful information
Completion of personal documents
There’s a bit of paperwork to be completed to live in Italy, to be fair – not everything to do with Italian bureaucracy is as straightforward as it is when buying a home there. That said, we can steer you towards the relevant documentation and put you in touch with advisors, should you need them, with regards to completing things.
The key is the Permesso di Soggiorno, your permit to stay in Italy, which you must complete at the regional police headquarters, called the Questura. For residents of the EU this is a formality; for those from outside, all you need to demonstrate is means of living, which property you own and so forth, although there is no automatic right to stay. We’d suggest you speak with your nearest Italian consulate for advice in this regards.
Some communes may require you to take up residency if you’re planning on spending more than 183 days a year in your new home – especially if you are seeking to work. This is a formality for EU citizens.
You’ll need your Codice Fiscale – broadly similar to your national insurance number, but with a tax code thrown in – and we’ll help you obtain that as part of our service. If you’re thinking of becoming resident in Italy then we’d suggest you talk to a good tax advisor about the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. We can put you in touch with some excellent advisors, of course.
And – heaven forfend – should you meet your mortal coil whilst in Italy you’ll definitely – definitely – want to have drawn up an Italian will, since the laws of property inheritance and succession over here are distinctly different from most other countries. Giovanna can put you in touch with a colleague who can arrange all this.
Getting going on site
You may be buying a site from us or a building in various states of repair. Whatever it is that you’ve set your heart on, the process that will take you from purchase to move-in is broadly the same. Here it is, diagrammatically: