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Purchase Procedure

The first step

The buyer sends the final purchase offer proposta irrevocabile d’acquisto to the seller (usually it is signed at a meeting or via fax), in which the buyer undertakes the commitment to buy a house on terms and at the price proposed by the buyer (in a word, you say how much you are ready to pay for a house and in what time frame). Anyway, you should understand that it is useless to propose 50% or even 70% of the price stated by the seller. The Italian real estate market remained steady during the crisis compared to other European countries, which makes it more attractive.

The purchase offer shall include the following information:

  • Information about the buyer and the seller;
  • Address, description and price of the property;
  • The time frame within which the buyer shall agree on the terms of the deal;
  • Transaction amount;
  • Terms of payments, date and place of the future notarial deed of property sale.

The seller has the right to reject the purchase proposal. In case of a positive answer, the seller notifies the buyer, by signing the Proposal. The Buyer’s Agent sends the offer signed by the Seller to the Buyer via fax, after which the Buyer, in accordance with the Proposal, shall pay a confirmation deposit to the seller in the terms stipulated in the Proposal. The seller is to comply with the terms of the accepted proposal. If the seller does not respond within the period appointed by the buyer, it means that the seller is completely free from any obligation towards the buyer.

Usually, the Proposal is accompanied with a down payment of 5-10% (confirming deposit): this is agreed by the parties, since the obligations are considered accepted after the agreement on the proposal.

The second step

Usually 1-2 months after the signing of the purchase Proposta irrevocabile d’acquisto, the seller and the buyer sign a preliminary contract for purchase and sale Compromesso (Contratto preliminare). This is a private document, signed by both parties, which specifies all aspects that are subsequently entered into the final notarial deed of purchase and sale. Therefore, it is recommended to specify all the details of the forthcoming deal. The preliminary contract gives the right to the buyer to purchase real estate on time and on terms under the contract. Also, while signing the preliminary contract of purchase and sale, the client pays for the services of the real estate agency (4% + VAT). The confirmatory deposit (caparra confirmatoria) is the amount of money that the buyer gives to the seller before the notarial deed for purchase and sale as a guarantee for the forthcoming deal.

If the deal is terminated due to the buyer’s fault, the seller has the right to retain the Confirming Deposit without return. If the deal is terminated due to the seller’s fault, the Confirming Bond is returned to the buyer at double rate.

The following information is usually stated in the Preliminary contract:

  • Information about both parties: the Buyer and the Seller;
  • Price of property;
  • Kind of payment (bank transaction, cheque, etc.) and payment due date;
  • Description of property (cadastral records, floor plans, etc.);
  • Date of the notarial act for purchase and sale;
  • Existence of mortgages and easements (restrictions and encumbrances);
  • Compliance with construction regulations;
  • Possible penalties in case of cancellation of the contract;
  • Arbitration;
  • Date and signature of parties according to the law;
  • A preliminary contract is registered and the registration fee is paid.

The third step

Shortly after signing the Preliminary contract — Contratto preliminare (from two to six months — the exact terms are stipulated in the very preliminary contract), the seller and the buyer sign the Notarial Contract of Purchase and Sale (Contratto Definitivo or L’atto di Compravendita — Final contract) in the presence of a notary officer who represents the Italian state, assures the transfer of ownership of property from the seller to the buyer and controls the payment of registration taxes and fees. The notary is responsible for the purity of the transaction.

During the final contract signing, the conditions specified in the Preliminary contract are repeated, with the possible amendments introduced. The notary officer controls mortgage and other restrictions on real estate. The buyer pays for the property and all necessary taxes and notary services at the time of signing the final contract of purchase and sale. Usually the accepted type of payment is a bank circular irreversible cheque. Notarial contract of purchase and sale is registered by a notary officer in the Conservatoria Registri Immobiliari and in the tax authority within 2-4 weeks after the transaction, where the contract obtains its registration number.

If you took a mortgage, a notary officer will register it as well. If there is already a mortgage on the acquired property, a bank representative issued the mortgage is usually present at the deal. On the day, right before signing the notarial act of purchase and sale, in the presence of a notary officer who is recording this act, mortgage contract gets cancelled and encumbrances are removed from the real estate object of the contract.

Faq about the procedure of signing the notarial act of purchase and sale of property

1. The procedure of making a deal of purchase and sale.

Right before the transaction it is necessary to draw in a bank an irreversible circular cheque for the balance of the amount due to be paid. The second cheque in the name of the notary officer includes the tax to be paid, the cost of registration and the fee of the notary officer. The services of an interpreter can be paid in cash or by cheque issued from a cheque book.

At the deal, the following parties shall be present: buyer end, seller end, interpreter witness knowing both Italian and the language of the client, real estate agents from both sides, notary officer.

According to the Italian law, a purchase and sale contract is valid only in writing as atto pubblico with authentication and certification of the signature of the Parties (Article 2657 CC).

The notary officer reads out the act in Italian, then a copy translated into Russian is read by the interpreter. Possible amendments are made if agreed by the parties.

The buyer makes payment by in advance prepared cheques.

The notary officer signs the act.

The Seller gives a cheque ?2 to the notary officer (payment of taxes and services of the notary officer).

From this moment, the property rights are transferred to the new owner of the real estate object of the contract.

After signing the act, the Notary officer shall transfer the contract for registration in the real estate register, which lasts from 2 weeks to 1.5 months.

2. How long does the procedure last?

As a rule, the procedure takes 2 hours. In case of possible disagreements between the parties, it can take longer.

3. What are the obligatory and the most important articles of the contract?

  • Information about the Parties, including the tax code and the place of registration;
  • Information about the interpreter and the witness;
  • Legal documents;
  • Description of the real estate object of the contract;
  • Data from the Cadastral Inventory of the Municipality in which the real estate object is located;
  • Address of the real estate object,
  • The boundaries of the land,
  • The plan of the land plot with the allocated borders is attached;
  • Concession of state property (if any), a copy is attached;
  • Cost of the property;
  • Payment method;
  • Application of the notary about the absence of mortgages and other encumbrances;
  • Guarantee against eviction;
  • Availability of energy certificate.

According to the Decree 37/2008, adopted on March 27, 2008, the seller must declare in the notarial act that the internal communications of the real estate object comply with the established safety standards at the time when the communication data was implemented or modified. This application must be included in the contract in such a way that the buyer understands ??the condition of the existing communications.

This article of the contract is obligatory, although it may be limited to certain communications, excluded, or replaced by the phrase «in their actual condition» (if the subject matter of the contract is a real estate object built before 1967).

4. Verification of credentials of the signatories from the Seller’s side.

Are there any peculiarities given that the seller is a legal entity? The notary officer is authorised to establish and certify the authenticity of title documentation and therefore the powers of signatories from the seller’s side.

5. Verification of legal documents. Who does it and when?

The notary officer performs verification before signing an act.

6. Guarantees of property rights. How are they regulated?

It is mandatory to indicate title documentation in the notarial act.

7. Land title. Where is it fixed?

Land title is fixed in the notarial act of purchase and sale.

8. Rental agreement of the land by the lake. How can you be sure that this agreement will be prolonged?

As a rule, the act includes the article that the Seller is to provide all documents to transfer the concession to the name of a new owner. Usually there are no problems with the prolongation of the concession. In the future, it is possible to apply for the redemption of the land plot in a concession from the state.

9. Property and land taxes. Who pays them, when and how?

The property tax, so-called IMU, is imposed by the local Municipality and is paid twice a year (in June and December). The tax for the period from the date of transaction to the end of the year will be paid by a new owner.

10. What is the role of the notary officer? What is he/she responsible for?

    • The notary officer is authorised and obliged to consider interests of both parties and to provide highly qualified services;
    • The notary officer verifies the transaction legality;
    • The notary officer checks legal aspects of a real estate object which is the subject matter of the contract, as well as cadastral data, the compliance of certificates submitted by the seller to the current town planning standards, and the parties’ legal capacity;
    • The notary officer checks the property for possible encumbrances, mortgages, and third parties’ rights. After signing the act, according to the law the notary officer shall carry out registration of the property, transliteration, and transfer to the name of a new owner. The notary officer shall register the taxes paid by the buyer and notify the authoritative organs about the transfer of the property to a new owner.

11. How are the articles related to the house arrangement registered in the contract?

At the parties’ request.

12. How are the Seller’s guarantees that the house is connected to sewerage, electricity etc. fixed?

By agreement of the parties, it is stated in the contract.

13. What does the Seller usually guarantee? How can these guarantees be enforced?

The warranty against eviction based on the title documentation verified by the notary officer. Compliance of communications to the current standards (for the old-time real estate there may be exceptions). Guarantee of the absence of encumbrances and mortgages (checked by the notary officer).

14. What role does the bank play in the transaction?

The bank shall prepare and draw a cheque in advance.

15. The contract registration. When will the Buyer get the property rights? Who deals with the registration of these rights?

The rights arise when the notarial act is signed and notarised. The notary officer provides registration of these rights.

16. How many copies of the contract are required? In what language should it be? Is a professional interpreter obligatory?

The contract is drawn in 2 copies. In the languages of the Buyer and the Seller. The Italian language is obligatory. If the buyer or the seller is not Italian, the contract is drawn in their language as well. An interpreter is mandatory, otherwise the contract can be declared invalid.

17. What document will confirm the «Title to real property»?

A registered copy of the notarial act of purchase and sale.

18. What documents does the Buyer have to have at the deal?

Passport, valid visa (if necessary), tax code, a copy of the marriage certificate, cheques for payment.