The purchase of a property in sunny Italy can be the fulfilment of a dream for many people. However, arriving at the final deed of sale is not always clear and straightforward. The process involves a variety of unique Italian formalities and documents that can seem complicated and confusing. It is therefore advisable, if not essential, for the foreign buyer to consult with an Italian lawyer as well as with other professionals who are familiar with the intricacies involved in purchasing a property in Italy.

Every purchase is preceded by a wide range of pre-completion formalities.

After you have found your dream house, you will need a tax code (Codice Fiscale), which is  your Italian fiscal identity. Then the parties involved and their advisers will organise the documentation necessary for the preliminary contract, a legally binding promise to sign the public deed of sale. This is accompanied by the payment of a deposit, which is non-refundable except in specific circumstances. 

Before the completion of the purchase, the lawyer will also organise searches on the property regarding possible mortgages, rights of way, pre-emption rights or other encumbrances. In addition, your lawyer will be responsible for the collection of the title deeds to the property, the relevant planning and building licences/certificates, the assessment of any possible tax reductions, and the provision of all language translations necessary for compliance with Italian law. Assistance with taking out Italian residency and the opening of a bank account is also part of the service.

The transfer of property is a complex process, governed mainly by Italian law rather than by the terms of the contract. To protect their investment, foreign purchasers must also be aware of Italian inheritance implications and the patrimonial regulation of the family. The purchase process requires knowledgeable attention to detail and professional competence in order to make the acquisition of property simple and risk-free.