Real Estate

Real Estate

How We Can Help You

We practice both residential and commercial real estate law. This page is about residential real estate. For the commercial practice please click here.

Are you buying real estate in Italy?

Do you already have property in Italy and are currently dealing with property managements issues or your neighbours?

Are you selling your property and you would like to be legally protected?

You are renovating your property and you came into problems with the contractors?

Do you need to discuss with your bank regarding your mortgage?

Are you having problems with your lease agreement? Is your tenant behaving illegally?

We are able to assist in all real estate related matters in Italy allowing you to receive bespoke legal advice and step-by-step assistance in this area. We work with both individuals and companies and are qualified to defend and represent you in front of all Italian courts.

Buying a Property in Italy

Buying a property in Italy is the life dream of many foreigners, who want to enjoy the beauties of the “Bel Paese”.  The demand from foreign clients, especially Americans, has been increasing in recent years, which means that the Italian real estate market still manages to be very attractive. 

However, the path is not clear cut and may have some pitfalls. After all, purchasing a property is always a major commitment, and even more when it is in a foreign country.

In order to complete the negotiation smoothly and and to enhance the chances of concluding the sale, here is some key information you should know about the overall process of buying a house in Italy as a foreigner.

Let’s start from a simple question: can foreigners buy real estate in Italy? The answer is YES, but under certain conditions. In particular, a foreign citizen is allowed to purchase a property in Italy in the following cases:

  • EU citizen: always allowed, without any limits;
  • Non-EU citizen: only if an international treaty allows it or whether there is reciprocity (i.e. whether an Italian citizen is allowed to buy a house in the foreigner’s country of origin – check here to know more. If this is not the case, a non-EU citizen is allowed to buy a property in Italy only if they hold a resident permit.

Deciding which property to buy is not just a matter of identifying the type and the place where it is located; in addition to a purely aesthetic choice, it is also very important to check all the technical and legal aspects related to the property itself, such as the compliance with urbanisation standards, the conformity of the energetic systems, the absence of legal constraints whatsoever, etc.

What Do I Need to Check Before Buying a Property in Italy?

To avoid unpleasant surprises, we strongly recommend that you undertake a few checks before signing a binding contract to purchase real estate in Italy:

  • the act of origin of the property hence how the property was acquired by the seller in the first place. For example, if the property was gifted to the seller or they received it as an inheritance, it is necessary to undertake further investigations;
  • if the property was not built regularly, check that the owner has submitted an application for a building amnesty (i.e. condono edilizio) and that he has been granted a permit by the competent Town Hall further to that;
  • visure” or mortgage inspections: you can request these from the real estate register, by using the seller’s personal details, to verify the absence of mortgages, foreclosures, judicial actions or other legal constraints. It is essential that the seller is the only owner of the property;
  • if the seller is a company, always check its “state of health”: indeed, it might turn to be not very solid over time from a financial point of view and therefore endanger everything through bankruptcy;
  • the conformity of the property as for all the relevant authorisations (i.e. the urban planning standards, energetic systems, etc.).

In the case of buying an apartment within a complex, it is advisable to carry out further investigations:

  • property management regulations: it is important these are checked because they can contain bans and limits on the use of private parts;
  • latest assembly resolutions: it is possible that there are prejudicial assembly resolutions like judicial litigation;
  • contact the property manager: it is essential to check if the seller is in good standing with the payment of condominium expenses because the buyer who takes over the property becomes jointly and severally liable with the seller.

If you wish to know more about real estate management, click here.

Procedure to Be Followed When Purchasing Real Estate in Italy

FIRST STEP: The Formal Offer of Purchase

After visiting different properties and deciding which of those you wish to buy, you must make a formal offer of purchase (i.e. proposta di acquisto). This offer is what initiates the phase of negotiation. There are many aspects to check and many risks that should be mitigated during the negotiation phase, and the assistance of a lawyer is certainly advisable.

The formal offer of purchase is the way the buyer declares that they want to buy a given property at a given price. Usually, it is a pre-printed form provided by the real estate agency. A deposit, the amount of which is set in proportion to the value of the property, is also to be paid by the buyer upon the signature. 

The seller is free to evaluate other proposals as long as the purchase offer is effective. The recommended duration for it is one or two weeks, during which the seller can accept and reject it. In case of acceptance, then the agreement is binding. It means that the seller undertakes not to sell the property to anybody else but you for a certain period of time, during which you do not lose the opportunity to buy that property. However, if you change your mind, you lose the amount you paid as a deposit.

The formal offer of purchase must not be confused with the preliminary agreement of purchase, which is an optional step the parties may decide to take during the process of buying a property in Italy and that is briefly explained below.

SECOND STEP: The Preliminary Agreement of Purchase

This second step is not necessary but it is often taken. You exchange the preliminary agreement of purchase (i.e. contratto preliminare di compravendita, also known as “compromesso”). This is a legally binding contract which is basically aimed at obliging the contracting parties to undertake a reciprocal commitment to buy and sell. It must be in writing and it must report, amongst other things, the agreed sale price, the payment schedule, with all deadlines, the date of purchase completion and any useful information regarding the property itself. 

A deposit (i.e. caparra confirmatoria) ranging between 10% and 30% of the sale price of the property must be paid by the buyer upon signing the preliminary agreement of purchase; in the event of the unfulfillment of the contract by either of the parties, the deposit stands as a warranty. In particular, in the case of failing the sale on the agreed terms, the buyer will automatically lose the whole of the deposit paid. On the opposite, if the seller is to blame, they will be legally obliged to pay to the buyer twice over the sum originally received as a deposit. 

Should a real estate agent has been appointed, the buyer is required to pay a mediation fee, which varies from 2% to 3% of the purchase price, plus VAT and ancillary fees. It should be noted that the percentage is to be considered as a minimum and that several agencies may ask for a higher one. The mediation fee is to be paid upon the signature of the preliminary agreement of purchase. 

IMPORTANT: if you are going to buy the property with the assistance of a mortgage or if the property itself is subject to a mortgage, it is essential to deal with all the banking and legal arrangements before you sign the contract hence you commit yourself to make the purchase. Click here to find further information on this.

THIRD STEP: The Deed of Purchase and Completion Formalities

The deed of purchase (i.e. rogito di compravendita) is the final act. Upon signing it, the property is finally transferred from the seller to the buyer. Very specific obligations arise from it, and precisely: 

  • for the buyer, to pay the agreed sale price;
  • for the seller, to deliver the property and to ensure that it does not suffer from evictions, defects and faults.

The deed of purchase must report, among other things:

  • the personal information of the seller and the buyer (i.e. name, surname, date and place of birth, residence address, tax ID);
  • the information regarding the building (i.e. cadastral details, year of construction, town planning compliance, habitability, economic value);
  • the information regarding the presence of any pledges or mortgages the property may be subject to;
  • the agreed sale price and the method of payment, as well as all the relevant deadlines; 
  • the expenses the buyer has already incurred in (e.g. the deposit).

The deed of purchase must be signed by both the contracting parties in presence of a Notary Public, who ensures, as an impartial and third party, that the transaction complies with the law. A certified copy is then issued and registered with the Local Land Registry (i.e. Catasto Urbano). 

The registration is a form of publicity and has multiple functions. First of all, it makes the transfer of ownership of a given property known to everyone hence opposable to third parties: the so-called “registration priority” (i.e. priorità di trascrizione) allows to solve conflicts between several potential buyers of the same property sold by the same seller.  Second of all, it provides “the public” with an overview of the events concerning the real estate. The registration is, therefore, an extremely important task which the Notary Public must carry out promptly and for which they may be held accountable. 

If you are looking for a real estate lawyer, from us you can receive professional assistance throughout the entire process of buying a property in Italy, so do not hesitate to contact us.

If you are searching for real estate in Italy for sale, have a look at the links below:


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Selling Your Property in Italy

House for Sale in Italy

The process for selling a property in Italy is identical to the one intended to the purchasing of it (have a look at the dedicated section for your reference by clicking here): it begins with an offer, it goes on with the preliminary agreement for sale (also known as “compromesso”) and it terminates with the deed of purchase.

However, the issues the seller has to deal with are, of course, different and mirror-like to the ones the buyer has to face. Continue reading below to know more about how to sell property in Italy.

Tips for Selling Real Estate in Italy

First of all, the property must be put on the market for sale. How do I put my property in Italy for sale? In this respect, there are two alternative paths the seller may take:

1 – Through negotiating directly with any interested party;

2 – By entrusting the process to a real estate agency.

One thing not to be underestimated is that it is possible to make a distinction on the activity carried out by the real estate agency. Indeed, the jurisprudence has elaborated the figure of the atypical mediation of the agency’s activity which is characterised by a mandate to sell the property under certain conditions given by the seller to the agency. In this case, the commission is paid only by the seller and not also by the buyer. We can provide you with legal assistance in both cases.

How Do I Decide the Sale Price of the Property?

The way to decide the selling price depends on whether you have chosen private negotiations or a real estate agency.

If you have decided to contact a real estate agency, they will provide you with an estimate of the property following an inspection.

On the contrary, if you have chosen to sell the property through private negotiation, you can make an estimate by checking the average price per square meter in the local area, or by seeking the advice of an expert.

What Documents Do I Need to Prepare?

Whatever is the mode you wish to proceed, once you have found a potential buyer it is advisable to collect the main documents related to the property which are indispensable during the negotiation process and when deciding the selling price. Those are:

– the act of origin of the property, as mentioned above;

– planimetry and cadastral survey;

– energy certification: this document is mandatory, and it is usually necessary for a professional to obtain it;

– if the property belongs to a complex (i.e. condominio) the relating documents: it is essential that these documents show the thousandths (“millesimi”) and the annual expenses;

– a lease of the property, if applicable.

Do not hesitate to contact us to assist with your preparations when preparing for selling your property.

Mortgages in Italy

Are you looking for a property in Italy for sale you are wondering if, as a non-resident, you may be granted a mortgage? Well, the answer is yes: foreigners are entitled to get Italian mortgages.

Getting a mortgage is the best way to finance the purchase or the renovation of a real estate; besides, you may benefit from facilitations provided that you meet some requirements. Click here to know more about the “first home” tax reliefs.

That being said, you should consider some fundamental aspect when applying for mortgages in Italy. Particularly, due to the fact that most banks have made their policies stricter, it is important that you provide documents that prove your financial status and, in particular, your ability to repair the loan.

Those are, for instance:

– proof of income, such as payslips and a letter from your employer; if you are self-employed, you should provide your annual audited financials and your tax returns;

– bank statements (including credit cards) relating to all the accounts you hold;

– statements of any assets you may have;

– statements of any outstanding loans you may still be paying back.

It is important that the documents you provide the bank with are the most up to date in order to avoid any delays.

The process intended to obtain mortgages in Italy for non-residents may vary from a lender to another, but generally, it takes 2-3 months to be completed.

We can assist you throughout the entire procedure, advising you on the best option for you and preparing the documentation needed before you apply. Contact us to receive assistance.

Lease Agreements in Italy

There are different types of rental property contracts provided for by Italian law: 

– Transitory contract (i.e. contratto di locazione ad uso transitorio) for stays up to 18 months;

– 3+2 contract (i.e. contratto di locazione a canone concordato) which lasts for 3 years and may then be renewed for 2 years more;

– 4+4 contract (i.e. contratto di locazione a canone libero), which last for 4 years and may then be renewed for 4 years more. 

Have a look at this brief guide to know more in depth about renting in Italy. 

Should you wish to rent a property in Italy, we can take care of drafting or reviewing the rental agreement. We are also able to advise you on the rights of both landlord and tenant and, more generally, to handle on your behalf the rental property legal issues you may have to deal with. Contact us to discuss your case.

Construction Contracts in Italy

Italian real estate lawyer

Before starting any construction project on a real estate in Italy, you must:

– obtain an accurate estimate of the workings and the materials needed as well as the related costs;

– check the current laws and regulations. Be aware that you may need to get various permits before going any further;

– chose an entrusted builder who can handle the workings.

Whether you wish to build a new property in Italy or to renovate an old one, it is important that you know what your rights and responsibilities. These are established by a legally binding contract, namely construction contract, setting forth all the terms and conditions (e.g. scope, time, payment schedule, legal rights and liabilities) under which the workings are to be carried out.

Sometimes works are not completed to the specifications or are delayed; other times construction defects may come out while renovating a property. In both cases, you may need to consult an experienced construction lawyer to help you manage such issues. Contact us for any legal advice or assistance in this respect.

Property Management in Italy

Condominio” means “co-ownership”. Indeed, the “condominio” is a community of owners whose properties (mostly apartments) are part of a single building; as such, they share common spaces (i.e. gardens, parking areas, walkways, staircases, roof, corridors, supporting walls), which all owners are responsible for, having to contribute to their maintenance.

The “condominio” is managed by a property manager (i.e. “amministratore di condominio”), whose main duty is to regulate the use of common parts and perform the services needed in the common interest of all owners in the real estate.

If your property belongs to an apartments block, we can provide you with legal assistance with regard to the property management legal issues you may encounter.

Contact us to discuss your case with us today.