The Legalities of Buying A House in Italy

To move the whole process along, so we can get to construction as soon as possible, we’ve started on two paths that will converge with a preliminary written purchase agreement.

Two pathsPath 1 is the design process. It got off to a quick start and we’ve developed a plan we like within about a week from the end of our trip. Path 2 is the writing of the agreement and all the background research that needs to be done as due diligence. Path 2 depends on Path 1, because one of the key purchase contingencies is a positive “opinion” from the town planning department, saying that our design is suitable and the house and a pool can be built on the property.

One important element of this approval will be the “look and feel” of the house and property. Local and regional planning codes are designed to maintain the integrity and beauty of the landscape.

This morning, the spoke via Skype with Giovanna, a lawyer who Kevin recommended. She’s based in Civitanova Marche and does real estate law. Plus, she speaks English and Italian.

My First Conversation with Giovanna

We covered the basics, like our need for the codice fiscale, the tax ID number. But, contrary to what I have been reading online, she recommended that we wait to open a bank account. She said we didn’t need it at this stage. Wire transfers would be fine. (A topic to revisit.)

Her description of the selling process mirrored my understanding.

Taxes and fees also seemed in line with my research, but she raised an important point about becoming a resident. While we could have a VAT/IVA rate on the construction costs of 4% as a resident vs. 10% as a non-resident, we would also become responsible for income tax on all our income worldwide. Hmm. Would we be saving a little on the building tax, only to pay more later in income tax? (Later, I dashed off notes to our accountant and our financial advisor, asking them if they knew an expert on Italian taxation. A long shot, but we need advice. Stay tuned.)

Before we wrapped up, I asked if she wanted me to make a deposit to secure her services. She said she would be prefer to be paid at closing, in accordance with her previous email, which estimated her total fee as €3,500 – €4,000.

After our call, but confirmed by email our desire to use her as our legal representative on the property purchase. I think we’ll need her further, for the arrangements around the construction, but first things first.

Image source: License: CC0 Public domain. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.



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