What are the Costs of Buying a Home in Italy?

Isabella Zammit,  Friday, 15 November 2013


This article is part of a series of 8 articles about buying property in Italy. The other articles in the series cover the following topics:

Like in practically every country around the world, there are more costs involved in buying property than the purchasing price itself. These costs need to be taken into account whilst you’re making up your budget. They can easily make a seemingly affordable home out of your price range.

Whilst there are a number of taxes involved with the purchasing process, we’re not going to discuss the taxes involved. We’re going to focus on the additional costs of buying a home in Italy. Some of these aren’t legally binding and some are.

Public Notary

The public notary is the person who acts on behalf of the state. They work with both the buyer and the seller to ensure the transfer of ownership passes off without any problems. The fees for a notary are fixed by law. They charge according to the value of the property. The usual range you can expect to pay is between one and two per cent of the property value.

You do need to employ a notary at some point. Whilst they don’t have to be present for signing most agreements, the deed of sale needs the confirmation of a notary. Either way, we would always recommend employing a public notary to help you with the process. They can perform all the necessary property checks without charging additional fees.

The law works to your advantage, so there’s no reason not to employ a public notary.

Legal Fees

Your avvocato (lawyer) will help guide you through the process. It isn’t compulsory to have a lawyer. It’s the seller and their legal team which draws up the preliminary contract. You can opt out of legal fees for this reason.

You’re always protected by your public notary. You have to employ one at some point, so if anything goes wrong before you get to the final stage, they’ll point out any problems.

In some countries, sellers won’t deal directly with buyers. They’ll ask to talk to a legal representative. Since notaries are compulsory, this doesn’t apply in Italy.

Most legal fees are charged at one or two per cent of the declared property price. All legal fees will incur a charge of VAT. At the moment, the standard Italian rate for VAT is 22%. This is subject to change, though.

Fees for the Agent

Italian real estate agents charge a fee to both the buyer and the seller. Both parties collectively cover the costs of a real estate agent. The type of property doesn’t change the amount you. The amount you pay will vary from three to eight per cent. In some rare cases, the buyer or seller may volunteer to pay extra or the whole fee.

You’ll pay for these costs at the signing of the preliminary contract.


All of the above costs are paid to the notary upon signing the final contract. After these fees have been paid, including any taxes you owe, the property officially becomes yours. It becomes the responsibility of the notary to deliver the money to the relevant parties.

Other Fees

The following fees are much smaller and will vary depending on the provider you use. In most cases, you’ll need to pay for these services to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership.

UK Lawyers – Many people prefer the peace of mind of employing a legal representative in the UK. It’s not necessary, but it’s useful to have someone who can provide specialist advice and who can read through any legal documents supplied by a notary in Italy.

Mortgage Arrangement Fees – If you’re buying your house through an agent, they might offer to help you get a mortgage. Buyers who elect to follow this path can expect to pay a percentage of the mortgage amount in the form of an arrangement fee.

Geomettra (Surveyor) – You always need a surveyor to inspect the property. This is standard practice and it ensures there’s nothing wrong with the property. It’s even more important to call in a surveyor when inspecting rural and older properties.

Bank Charges – Your bank might charge you in making an overseas transaction like this. You’ll need to contact your bank for additional details. In their charge, this could include fees for administration and currency conversions.

Translation – Whilst you can expect your documents to be automatically translated if they come from your agent, documents from surveyors might come in Italian. You’ll need to find a translator who can translate the work accurately and at an affordable price.

Many of these fees are avoidable if you’re against paying this extra money. You don’t have to pay them if you don’t want to. We would advise against avoiding these fees exclusively for the purposes of saving money.

Paying for these services will give you peace of mind and the confidence needed to successfully complete the purchasing process.  

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. 

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