Guide to buying property in Italy

Realpoint's comprehensive service for buyers of Italian property makes for a safe and secure purchase. Investing in Italian real estate does not have to be an experience that leaves you stressed. The Italian legal and tax systems may be unfamiliar, and the form that the conveyancing takes different to what you are used to, but we will explain and assist you throughout the entire process.

Moving into your Italian home

Step 1 Making An Offer (Offerta)

You have decided on the property you wish to purchase. Before making an offer a surveyor (Geometra) checks the land registry documentation relating to the property. 

  • The property matches the Land Registry (Ufficio Catasto) definition
  • The property was not built without planning permission
  • Any work or extensions done, have received approval and have had the relevant taxes paid
  • The owners are as stated in the Land Registry and have full title to sell
  • If you wish a survey on the property, we advise this is the best time to have it carried out (contact us for recommendations).

On satisfactory completion of the checks, your offer is placed with the vendor.  

Step 2 The Purchase and Sales Agreement (Compromesso)

This step involves negotiating and agreeing the final price, drafting, signing and exchanging the contract. The contract sets out conditions of sale, and a deposit of around 15% of the purchase price is paid to the vendor on signing. This is a binding contract which includes the date by which completion on the property must take place. If you decide not to complete you will lose your deposit. If the vendor pulls out, the vendor is required to pay you double your deposit.

Step 3 Completion (Rogito)

Completion on the property takes place in front of a Notary (Notaio). The Notary checks that all land registry documents are in order and has the duty of drafting the deed and ensuring the proper execution and registration of the sale. The Notary also collects Italian taxes relating to the purchase on the day of completion.

The deed is translated by a state-register translator, and read out in both Italian and English.

The balance owing on the property is paid. Then the completion document is signed by the buyer, the vendor and two witnesses. The Notary signs, stamps and dates the document - and the property is yours.

The time between signing the Purchase and Sales Agreement and Completion will vary depending on both parties. It can take a matter of weeks, or several months if you require to arrange finance.

Closing costs and Taxes on Purchase

Purchase Tax

This is levied on the cadastral value (see note 1) at 9% for non-residents and 2%  for residents (see note 2). Agricultural land is taxed at 18%.  

If buying a new property from a developer or builder, the purchase tax is replaced by a 10% VAT charge on the purchase price. 

Notary Fees

These are based on a sliding scale depending on the property value and cadastral value. Minimum charge of around 1,500 Euros, approximately 2.5% of the cadastral value (+ VAT).

Translator Fees

This is a formal verbal and written translation of the completion deed, typically around €500. The translator has to supplied by law if you do not speak Italian. The fee may be included with the Notary fees.

Agency Fees

These are usually 3% of the agreed sales price of the property but for some properties this is 4%. There is a minimum charge of 3,500 Euros.
You will only be charged once as a buyer, no matter how many agents are involved

Legal Fees

Incurred if you hire the services of a solicitor (contact us for recommendations)

Bank Charges

Incurred when you make international transfers (contact us for advice on Foreign Exchange).


(1) Cadastral Value - the value of the property as stated in the Land Registry. It is usually less than the purchase value of the property, a rough estimate would be 50% to 75% of the purchase price, but it could be much less. Purchase taxes and Notary's fees are based on the cadastral value.

(2) The purchase tax can be reduced to 2%  if you can obtain residency in Italy - you will need advice from a tax consultant or similar on this matter.

(3) Both buyer and seller pay agent fees in Italy

Contact us for an initial call, or send us your requirements, so we can suggest the perfect Italian home for you.