Calculate how much you’re willing to spend on your new Italian property. A good rough guide to follow is that your budget should not exceed 35%-40% of your net monthly income.
Go and see the property: When you visit a potential property, be sure to do a thorough check of everything. Talk to the neighbours and inspect the building. Take notes and measurements. Take photos so you can look back later and compare with other properties. Consider the space distribution and the layout of the rooms, which direction the property faces, how much natural light it has, how well ventilated the bathroom and kitchen are, the state of the fixed installations, the wiring and its energy efficiency, the background noise and the local services available nearby… in short, use any visit to see a house as an opportunity and don’t be shy to go through every detail!
Make an offer: Be sure that the property you’re going to make an offer on has all the deeds and paperwork in order, that there is a building certificate and there are no outstanding debts, costs or charges on it. This is something a real estate agent can help you with. Consider carefully all the features of the property before making a realistic and fair offer.
Sign the deposit agreement: This requires you to pay 10% of the sale price as a deposit, which the estate agent, if you use one, will send through to the seller. With this down payment, you reserve the property for a time and sign the deposit agreement to this effect. If the seller later decides not to sell to you, they will have to return the deposit to you; conversely, if you as the buyer decide not to go through with the transaction, you will lose this deposit.
Sign the Compromesso. Meaning ‘compromise’ in Italian, this preliminary contract requires you to pay a further portion of the sale price, normally between 10% and 30%, and you sign to confirm that you commit yourself to buying the property.
Sign the final title deed (Rogito): The signing of this document represents the last contract before the property is finally yours and you have paid all the money for it. The deed must be signed before a notary to make it legally binding.
Pay the transaction costs and taxes. The main expense to be paid when buying a home in Italy is the VAT, which stands at between 10% and 20% for a new construction, 4% if you have built it yourself and 20% for most second-hand homes. There is also the property registry tax, which is 10% for urban properties and 17% for rural ones, plus the notary costs and anything owed to the estate agent and mortgage costs.
Change the name on the energy, water and gas bills. Let the energy companies and other services providers know that you are the new owner and will be paying the bills from now on, and give them your bank details to facilitate this.
Keep all the documents and put them away safely so you don’t lose anything! You’ll be needing them again one day.