Buying a house in Italy

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Hi there. Can anyone tell me the big pitfalls to look out for when buying a house in Italy. And where is the best place to look for a mortgage, given that my income has been independent earnings, or short-term contracts for the past couple of years since being here in Italy. Thanks.

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Michelecap 1223952318





HI Jenny!


The purchase of a home involves extremely complex operations that are full of pitfalls and that cannot be undertaken without the advice of an expert. I would suggest not to embrace such an adventursome business without the help of a legal expert (either a lawyer with a specific knoledge of the Italian real estate market - or finally a civil law notary).


The most complete list of things that yuo need to know regarding the purchase of a house can be found in the website of the Italian Notary Order.

http://www.notariato.it/portal/site/notariatoEng/menuitem.2986b81bf76e37133d118210b1918a0c/?vgnextoid=bc88abe8fe371110VgnVCM1000001b19a8c0RCRD


Just to give you a very breaf idea, and summarizing some of the advices given in the notary website these are just some of the pitfalls, however improbable it may seem, are present right from the first moment the decision is made to buy or sell. For example,


- are you aware of the considerable legal consequences (mostly irrevocable) deriving from a SIMPLE SIGNATURE ON A SIMPLE PURCHASE OR SALE PROPOSAL?


- do you have any idea of the constraints and obligations that may arise from the SIGNING OF A PRELIMINARY AGREEMENT, even if it is only privately produced?


- Both parties MUST PRESENT PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION , including the fiscal code: the latter is necessary for the tax reporting the notary is obliged to perform;


- THE MARITAL STATUS which is very important for the effects the property arrangements between spouses have on the validity and consequences of the transaction.


- the parties need not be personally present at settlement, but may confer a POWER OF ATTORNEY for the sale or purchase of property (this is very useful for foreigners who are abroad or who are unable to be present on the day of the transaction).


THE VENDOR HAS THE RIGHT to receive the full amount of the agreed price from the purchaser at the time the sale contract is settled. The vendor has the option to allow the purchaser a deferral of payment, with or without interest. - OBLIGATIONS AND DUTIES –the vendor is obliged to consign to the purchaser the property sold in the state in which it is with vacant possession, free of persons and things, at the time the contract of sale is notarised, i.e. at the same time as the balance of the price is paid.


- The vendor has the option, however, of allowing the future purchaser to occupy the property even before the actual change of ownership


- Finally, THE VENDOR IS OBLIGED: TO ADVISE OF THE PROPERTY'S OWNERSHIP HISTORY DEMONSTRATING ITS LEGITIMATE CURRENT OWNERSHIP AND THE DETAILS OF DEVELOPMENT PERMISSION (LICENCE, CONCESSION, BUILDING PERMIT, DECLARATION OF COMMENCEMENT OF WORKS …) OF ANY BUILDING SOLD;


TO FURNISH ALL THE ADMINISTRATIVE DOCUMENTATION WHERE THERE HAS BEEN A BUILDING AMNESTY;


TO PRESENT THE CERTIFICATE OF LAND USE ISSUED BY THE RELEVANT MUNICIPALITY IN THE CASE OF THE SALE OF UNBUILT LAND;


TO PRESENT THE CERTIFICATE OF FITNESS FOR HABITATION AS WELL AS THE DOCUMENTATION RELATING TO EQUIPMENT SYSTEMS.



The vendor also guarantees the purchaser AGAINST EVICTION AND DEFECTS.



PURCHASER Rights - First of all, the purchaser has the right to have the vendor consign the property at the time of the conveyance, upon payment of the purchase price, in its known state, with any agreed accessories, free of persons and things.


The purchaser has the right: To Receive From The Vendor All The Documentation Relating To The Property (for example, as to any building amnesty as well as receipts for payment of the common property expenses or any mortgage over the property); To Be Guaranteed By The Vendor Against Eviction And Defects; To Obtain From The Vendor All Useful Information Relating To The Property.



Pitfalls


- The Personal Identity Of The Parties (in other words that the vendor and hence the owner of that property is truly that vendor and owner); The Notary Should Guarantee the Vendor's Full Ownership And Title And The Disposability Of The Property, As Well As That It Is Completely Free Of Mortgages, Foreclosures Or Any Other Form Of Restriction Or Limitation;




Purchase/Sale by spouses


-MARITAL STATUS OF THE PARTIES Following marriage, unless an explicit declaration to the contrary is made at the time of the ceremony, spouses find themselves in a shared property arrangement, this being the automatic legal regime in force in our system since 20/9/1975.



Disposability


- If a married person wishes to sell a property, it is necessary to check whether or not the consent of the other spouse is needed (see "Special cases");


- If a minor or a person not of sound mind is the owner of an asset, a judge's authorization is needed for the sale


- If an inherited asset is the common property of several heirs, before selling his share an heir must first “offer” it to the other co-owners and only if they decline to purchase it may it be sold to an outsider;



freedom from encumbrances


- If the property is classified with “heritage” status or if it is subject to particular artistic-scenic restrictions there must be, in certain circumstances, the authorization of the relevant authority for the sale and it is subject to pre-emption by the Monuments and Fine Arts Office;



- It may be that the asset is subject to certain formal claims (usually one or more mortgages) which mean it is not entirely “free”; the notary is able to check on the existence of such circumstances and advise as to suitable solutions;



For all these, and many other reasons that you can read in the link I sent you, I suggest you to contact a professional (either a lawyer or a civil notary) and let him take care and cure the entire process.


PLease feel free to contact me, privately, in case you need extra information legal support.


Sincerely,


Avv. Michele Capecchi, Attorney at law, LL.M.



MicheleC.

Jenny-764402 1224079308

Waow. Thanks for this very complete reply Michele. Leaves me a lot to think about. Do you deal with house sales or do I have to go to a notary? What kind of prices should I expect to pay for legal fees?


Jenny-764402 1224623890

I have exchanged emails with Michele and just wanted to post on the forum about how good he has been in replying and taking the time to explain everything to me, answer my questions. I haven't yet taken any contract with him or his office but Michele has been more than helpful. I would recommend him to you all - should you need a lawyer in Tuscany!


Luchetti and Partners 1228046022

In addition to the list that has been provided, I would also state that the legislation here in Italy constantly changes and so it is always wise to seek up-to-date advice from a lawyer who is experienced in the relevant field. For example, it is no good going to a lawyer who specialises in Canon law for example.


We handle a lot of cases and we find that the majority of overseas clients don't realise that Italy is inundated with may confusing rules, regulations and laws. Moreover, the rules that are laid down by the legislation are not always adequate to cover every situation and although estate agents, banks, public offices and notaries (the leading actors in most real estate transactions) are subject to the rules that are provided for by their respective governing bodies, these do not always offer the fullest protection.


There is also a misconception that notaries will do everything. This is not so and you will find that there is a fair amount of inconsistency among this profession.





www.luchettipartners.com

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