What is the property purchase process in Italy?

The property ownership transfer is based on Italian law and usually consists of signature of 2-3 contracts, in this order:

  • A purchase proposal (reservation contract) is not a necessary step, but it ensures the chosen property is taken off the market for a small deposit.
  • A preliminary contract („compromesso“ or „preliminare di compravendita“), which sets out all the important points of the future sale and purchase (the parties, the property situation and description, any burdens or encumbrances, purchase price and payment conditions, the date of the property ownership transfer, etc.). This contract could, but does not need to, be signed in front of a public notary.
  • Final deed („rogito“), signed in front of a public notary, which constitutes the final act of property ownership transfer. The deed is signed, the balance of the purchase price and all purchase taxes and fees are settled, the buyer receives the keys to the property and the notary declares the sale and purchase concluded.

A deposit of 15-30% is usually paid by the buyer to the seller upon signature of the preliminary contract. If the buyer pulls out after this, he loses the deposit. If the seller does, he must pay back twice the amount of the deposit. The whole process takes usually 2 weeks to 3 months. Both parties may be represented by another person at any step of the process.


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