A Guide To Buying Property In Italy

Whether it’s the glamorous shopping of Milan, the mountain air of the Lake District, or the delectable dishes on offer throughout the country, Italy has something for everyone; all wrapped up in a temperate Mediterranean climate of cornflower skies and glowing sunshine. Whether you are seduced by the culture of Venice, the history of Rome or the scenic countryside of Tuscany, this multi-faceted siren has tempted expats from all over the world to enjoy la dolce vita and start a new life upon her versatile shores.
Sounds like a dream, right? Well, with our guide to buying a property in Italy, that dream may not be that far from reality…

Am I eligible to buy property in Italy?

British nationals are eligible to buy property in Italy even with no visa or work permit. However, by declaring yourself a resident, you can benefit from a reduction in tax when purchasing your property.

Where to buy in Italy?

The price of properties in Italy varies considerably, from very reasonable to super pricey. A lot of this variation is dependent on location. In general, the elegant north tends to be more expensive, with its close proximity to the lakes, while further south, the prices become a lot more affordable.
You can count on high prices in the big cities but Italy’s smaller cities, including Urbino or Lecce, are not only charming, they also offer a lot more bang for your buck. Additionally, property in rural areas are typically cheaper still, while the highest prices tend to be reserved for those coveted seaside spots. Leading property website www.immobiliare.it  lists numerous penthouse apartments in Milan, for example, costing in the multi-millions, while if you fancy the rural life, a three-bedroom villa plus land can be found in the sunshine of Puglia for little more than 100,000 Euros. If the coast is important to you, check out the areas a few miles back from the seafront and you’ll find the prices will drop substantially, while still offering easy access to the beach.

The legal costs

Before purchase, you will put down a deposit – typically 10-30 percent of the sale price. Be aware that should the buyer pull out, their deposit will be lost, while if the seller pulls out, double the deposit will be returned to the buyer. Expect agency fees to cost 3-8 percent and notary fees to be around 2.5-3 percent. However, these will vary, dependent on the property and sale price.
A registration tax of 3 percent, for a principal residence, is payable on purchase; although without residency this goes up to 7 percent. Other types of property may require a higher tax, although if it is a new property you will be exempt and instead pay VAT – an amount dependent on the property in question and whether or not you are a resident.
There is also a land registry tax to be aware of. For a principal residence this is set at approximately 130 Euros. For non-residents, the fee is 1 percent of the sale price.

Do I need a lawyer?

In Italy, the estate agent and government notary undertake all the necessary paperwork required to purchase a property – generally, houses are bought and sold without lawyer or solicitor involvement. However, unless you speak fluent Italian, it is advisable to find a legal representative to help you navigate the process. Choose a representative with specialist knowledge of the area in which you are making your purchase, as different regions of the country involve very different elements to consider.
As always, you’re advised to seek professional legal advice on financial issues.
If you are considering moving to Italy, Cadogan Tate will assist you every step of the way – from your first enquiry  to unpacking at your new home, we are here to help and advise you.
Information correct at time of publication.