All Rights Reserved © Italy Property For Sale By Owner 2018
A law was passed in Italy at the end of 2013, allowing Italian notaries to receive the purchase price of Italian properties and to keep these funds until the actual registration of the sale (trascrizione della vendita) had been successfully completed. The Italian notary would then release the funds to the vendor.
This law was not put into effect pending the issue of implementing regulations. On 29 August 2017, new legislation has finally brought this provision into force.
It will make a big change for all buyers of Italian properties that are now released from the onus of opening an Italian bank account just to buy their Italian property, and discharged from the risks of the old purchase procedure, with “assegni circolari” (Italian bankers`draft) involved. In a way, it brings Italian conveyancing in line with conveyancing in the rest of the European Union, England and Wales.
FIRST STAGE: This relates to the selection of the property, survey, legal and planning searches and initial negotiations. Either directly or with the assistance of a Mediatore / Agente the foreign buyer will need to select the property, obtain some basic information and documentation, and negotiate the general terms of the purchase.
Sometimes, the foreign buyer may be asked to sign a reservation agreement (Prenotazione), and pay a small deposit to the agent, as a sign of serious interest in the property.
At this stage it will also be necessary to organize a survey of the Italian property and also, separately all necessary searches with the local authorities (Comune), as far as local planning, local Land Registry (Catasto) and building regulations are concerned. This work is usually undertaken by a local, qualified Italian surveyor (Geometra), who should always produce a written, signed report.
At the same time, in acquiring your property in Italy, it is advisable to check the legal status of the property in question and of its owner(s). A special search should be effected at the local Italian land registry to check that the purported vendor has the actual power to sell the property in question, that there are no mortgages / charges nor any third parties rights, etc. This legal search is normally effected with the assistance of a local notary. It is normally complex, and it will be the task of the Italian lawyers appointed to select and instruct the local Italian notary on the particular points of concern that may have arisen, considering the Italian real estate in question.
SECOND STAGE: At this point of acquiring your Italy property for sale by owner, it is usually spent in negotiating, drafting, signing and exchanging the preliminary contract (Compromesso), on the basis of the outcome of the searches. This is normally a binding legal agreement to complete the property purchase at some future specified date, in the offices of a local Notary Public (Notaio).
In view of the fact that this is an unequivocal commitment to buy your home in Italy and to pay the price, and that a legal deposit (Caparra) is payable at the time of signature, it is vital to have acquired and carefully considered all the documentation and search reports
necessary to complete the purchase, or, at the very least, to have ascertained any legal and practical difficulties / problems, and agreed a timetable for the vendor to sort them out before completion.
If the foreign buyer is buying with a mortgage (Mutuo ipotecario), it is absolutely vital to organize a binding mortgage agreement, or to formally accept an irrevocable offer from the bank, before signing the preliminary contract to acquire the Italian real estate. In any case, it is important to remember that Italian law requires all contracts relating to land or buildings to be in writing, signed by both parties.
Under the new legislation, the Italian notary is now required to keep these funds in a nominated bank account, an escrow bank account that the notary shall keep “in trust for his client”. The Italian notary will only release these funds to the vendor on successful completion of the registration formalities (trascrizione della compravendita).
Thus, there will be no interim period between completion of the sale and payment on the one hand, and actual registration of the new title in the local Italian land registry (registri immobiliari) on the other. The transaction risks will suddenly abate.
The funds paid by the foreign buyer into this account can only be used for the named purposes, and are not the property of the Italian notary. So, if the notary dies, these funds will not be part of his Estate. If the Italian notary is sued by his private creditors, the funds held into these nominated bank accounts cannot be frozen.
Judgments against the notary cannot be enforced out of this escrow bank account.
THIRD STAGE: This step relates to the completion formalities, which normally take place in the offices of a local notary (Notaio). Italian Notaries (and not just Italian lawyers “Avvocati”) have a legal monopoly on the legal work involved in actually transferring the legal title to Italian real estate and special duty of correctly drafting the Purchase Deed (Rogito), to ensure their proper execution, registration, and payment of all Italian taxes ancillary to completion.