What is a Notary?

In Italy, when you buy a house, you must have a notary. It is the notary who seals the purchase contract. A notary is a public official. Essentially, he is a lawyer who specialises in public deeds. 

A notary is a qualified lawyer who is employed by the Italian government. When you are buying Italian property, it is a notary who conducts the legal transfer of a property from vendor to buyer, and prepares the deed of sale, checks there are no charges on the property, title issues and with the assistance of a technician such as a geometra or architect, checks the property conforms to all planning issues.

To obtain their professional license, notaries must have a university degree in law and spend 18 months of training in a notarial office. Finally, they must undertake a very difficult public exam. If they pass this exam, they’ll be able to access the register of public notaries in Italy. If not, they’ll have to undertake another 18 months of training, repeating the cycle until the exam is passed.

Here in Italy, it’s the buyer who pays the notary’s fees, plus all taxes related to the purchase. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with the notary who will be doing all legal checks of the property you wish to buy — and who will eventually seal your final deed.
You can choose any notary from the register of public notaries in Italy. Better if the notary you choose is situated close to the town where your prospective house is located. It is also advantageous if the notary (or one of their assistants) speaks English.

< back | next >