The process of buying a property can seem daunting enough in your home country. But fear not, it’s not so difficult and the process in Italy is very similar to those of other countries.

Due to reading this article, you’re one step closer to the Italian home of your dreams and hopefully will come away from it with less fear and more enthusiasm.

If you haven’t considered the idea of purchasing property in Italy, we hope to get you thinking after discovering how simple it can really be.

Going through Real Estate Agents in Italy is a safe process. Due to a law passed requiring strict selections of exams to be registered at the Chamber of Commerce.

Every agent must be registered and therefore must take and pass the exams. This guide applies to off-plan and resale properties.


The Real Estate Agent will assist in presenting a formal offer to the seller of the property. It is written up in Italian and English along with a down payment/deposit of 10%–20% of the purchase price.

Therefore, this payment legally binds the sale if the offer is accepted by the seller. This is the caparra confirmatoria.

If either the buyer or seller would like to negate the sale, one of the parties involved can claim damages to the property and return the down payment.

If the seller backs out, the buyer may be eligible for a refund with additional fees paid by the seller.


This is the phase which consists of all the details that will be outlined during the sale. At this step, all questions about the sale are answered.

All information is written in a preliminary contract if the seller accepts the offer.

interior of italian real estate
Interior of italian home photo *

The final purchase price and conditions of sale are in this contract. Also, it will include a detailed description of the property along with any allotted permissions or planning and cadastral details.

The contract is signed when the caparra confirmatoria is paid. Also, paid to the Real Estate Agent is the commission fee, or provvigione.


The deed of sale must be signed and transferred in the presence of a Notary, or Notaio. The only individual during this process with the legal authority to transfer properties in Italy from one person or entity to another.

The buyer is responsible for hiring and paying the Notary. However, this person should be  completely unbiased, independent, official of the public, responsible for ensuring the legality of all documentation during the sale.

This is obviously the most important step so we recommend finding an English speaking Notary. This makes it more comfortable and easy to understand everything during the process.

You may also ask detailed questions and ensure clear, transparent answers, without miscommunications.

We also recommend using a bank account to do the transfers and handling everything with a digital paper trail.


Within 3 months of the deed of sale completion, a copy of the paperwork should be available. This is 3 months after the Notary process completion and official purchase date.


Additional costs and taxes are paid. €150 is paid to the Notary from 3 small taxes. The government also values the property in order to impose certain taxes. This is the valore catastale.

If the buyer moves to Italy and applies for residence within 18 months of the sale, the registration tax or stamp duty, known in Italian as imposta di registro, is 2%–4% of the valore catastale.

Also, the tax goes up to 9% if the purchase is for a holiday home or investment property. This is without the buyers attempt at residence in Italy.

Additionally, 20% of earnings is payable as capital gain if it’s bought and sold within 5 years of the purchase.

Whatever the difference, if positive, in which the buyer sells the property for, 20% of that must be paid.

interior italian real estate photo by
Interior of italian home photo *

If this property is an investment with the intention to rent it for additional income, this income is subject to tax by the Italian government.

Each year, the property owner must report the income amount made through this property with appropriate deductions (repairs, expenses, and local taxes paid). Authorities tax this income.

And it’s also reported in the buyer’s country of residence with a double taxation agreement. This will ensure the buyer only needs to pay the taxes on this income once.

Local taxes also factor in property ownership. The IMU or TASI property tax, or imposta municipale sugli immobili, is a 0.7%–1% local council tax.

Local government decides the percentage payable per year. This is in two payments, December and June.


Agente immobiliare = Real Estate Agent
Offerta = the purchase offer
Valore Catastale = Government-determined property value, normally around 30%–50% of the commercial price of the property
Catasto = Local Land Registry Office
Caparra Confirmatoria = Down Payment
Compromesso = Preliminary Contract
Provvigione = Real Estate Agent Commission Fee
Rogito / Atto Notarile = Final Deed of Sale
Notaio = Notary
Imposta di Registro = Stamp Duty / Registration Tax
Imposta Muncipale sugli Immobili(IMU or TASI) = Property Tax


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