Checklist for the buyer of a house in Italy

Jos Deuling,  Monday, 11 April 2016

Doors old houses 

Verbal agreement. A verbal agreement has no value in Italian law.

Illegally built homes. Also in Italy, houses are built without planning permission. Check with the municipality if the property is built legally, but you can leave this to the agent or lawyer.

Inspection of the property. Do not agree with definitions of 'as seen' (visto piaciuto e) and 'factual and legal state of the property "(nello stato di Fatto e diritto in cui si attualmente Trova) without first seeing and inspecting the property. If you don't know where to look, take an expert along. For example, an 'Architetto' (architect), 'ingegnere' (engineer) or geometra (contractor / architect).

Extensions and outbuildings. Verify that all appurtenances such as basements, attics, garages and outbuildings are specified. Add a construction drawing signed by both parties as an annex to the sales contract.

Utilities. Check with an expert the connections for water, gas, electricity and oil and check the boilers and pumps. Ask the seller for the yearly maintenance forms and warranty certificates.

Contents. Make a list of all household goods that the seller leaves behind. Add these to the sales contract. Check prior to the sale if the seller delivers the property clean and free of debris. Some sellers even go so far as to take everything: fittings, door handles, switches, radiators, boilers, etc. Put these things on a list. Together with the seller you should do the final walk through just before the signing of the purchase agreement.

Mortgage. Even though the previous mortgage on the house is completely paid off, that doesn’t mean that the mortgage is also removed in the register (Conservatories dei Registri Immobiliari). You need to figure out how much it will cost remove the previous mortgage from the register.

An Inherited property. Beware if you buy an inherited property. Often there are several family members who are shared owner. Occasionally it happens that one of the family members refuses to sales contract. Often to increase the price. This problem can be solved. The notary should take care that all owners sign the preliminary sales contract (compromesso). Under Italian law, children or other relatives can claim their share of the inheritance until 20 years after the death of their relative. So you have to find all possible heirs and make sure that they sign a waiver (rinunzia). In a Certificato di provenienza (certificate of origin), such as a will or a gift, are the legal owners of property listed. But do not be surprised if there are still people who show up to claim the property.

Make sure the property is vacant. Make sure there are no tenants or squatters in the house. It takes 6-10 years to remove a tenant or squatter from the property. This is how the legal system in Italy works.

A rented property. A rented property can be up to 30% cheaper to buy than a non-rented property. You can purchase such a house as an investment. You are the legal owner if you own the house but don’t live in it (Nuda proprietà). It is recommended that prior to the sale you talk to the tenant to find out what his plans are. If you want to terminate the lease, then you must do it six months in advance. If the tenant does not want to leave, it will cost you between 6 and 10 years to get him out. The seller of a rented property must transfer the lease, the deposit and the prepaid rent (contratto di locazione il, il deposits cauzionale and i canonical anticipati).

Restrictions. Specify any restrictions (vincoli) and easements (servitù), the right of way (diritti passo di) and other expenses (oneri) on the property. Make the seller responsible for all costs necessary to eliminate any specified and unspecified restrictions.

Building permits. A sales contract is only valid if all illegal conversions of the property are approved by the municipality. The approval by the Municipality of an illegal conversion is called a condone edilzio. A building permit itself is called a concessione Edilizia. You can request from the municipality (comune) a list of all approved building permits for the property.

Threats from the municipal zoning. Go with the Geometra (contractor / architect) to the Department of Planning of the municipality and ask to inspect the municipal zoning.

Watch out for plans on :

  1. new residential areas (zone edificabili)
  2. industrial developments (zone industrie)
  3. quarries, clay pits (grot)
  4. roads (strade)
  5. roundabouts (rotatorie)
  6. viaducts (sopraelevate)
  7. railways (ferrovie)
  8. landfills (discariche)
  9. composting (impianti di compostaggio)
  10. golf courses (campi da golf)

You can get copies of all plans through the Department of Planning. They can also specify whether your property is listed in the plans. The control of the plans is not automatic, especially among lawyers and notaries. You better get a Geometra to figure this out.  

Toscan countryside near Lucca
All types of Italian property for sale by private sellers and estate agents. Find your perfect houses, farmhouses or apartment in all regions of Italy including Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria and Marche 

Water source on village square A selection of interesting blogs about living in Italy, Italian culture, travel in Italy and the Italian language. I check this page regularly for broken links and blogs that are not maintained. 
More articles