Italy is fast becoming the destination of choice for many people planning to buy aboard. This is largely due to its pleasant climate and easy lifestyle, coupled with lower air fares which allow for frequent visits between the two countries. Italy enjoys a unique global reputation for culture and style which cascades down through the ages. However any overseas property purchase should be carefully considered. There maybe obstacles for a purchaser who is attempting to navigate the Italian legal and tax systems whilst grappling with a foreign language.
Guidance through the procedures and responsibilities of buying a property abroad is offered by a variety of advisors; however, you should be aware that many of them have a vested interest in ensuring that the sale goes ahead at all costs as their commission is dependent upon a completion.
Only an independent lawyer will have the client’s best interests at heart throughout the transaction.
Get legal advice before you start, that way you will have an idea
of what to expect as the process of buying abroad is very different to that in the UK. Also by engaging your lawyer before you have begun to look for your property you will have someone to call on at the viewing stage to guide you and protect you from the unscrupulous. You will also have the added benefit of being able to act as soon as you see a property you like and no valuable time will be lost.
Cautious But Not Rude
Be guarded but not overly suspicious – not everyone is out to
cheat you and it is easy to offend.
Don’t believe all you hear, there are plenty of people prepared
to dramatise any previous problems and there always will be
It’s Not Like The UK
Your knowledge of the UK property market will not necessarily help you in a foreign country.
Building techniques often are entirely different. You must accept that local methods will not be the same.
Know What You Want
Think about your property “wish list” before speaking to an agent.
Recognise that you may have to be flexible.
Arrange your desired features in an order of importance and
decide which ones you can live without if necessary.
Don’t get carried away and end up over stretching financially.
Draft a proper budget. Your lawyer can help you assess the amount of taxes and fees you will have to pay.
Keep aside a small sum of money for any unexpected costs.
Keep Your Money Safe
That the bank loan guarantee is in place, if you are buying a
new build property.
Your deposit should be sheltered in your lawyer’s client account until it can be safely moved to the builder.
Choose a lawyer who is truly bilingual – it is far better to have a
lawyer who doesn’t just speak the language but also understands the culture and can see through suspect practices
to the hidden meanings and potential risks.
Get to know the place and the people – seek out as much local
knowledge as you can.
If you can speak the language make an effort to speak to the
The Italian Laws of Succession differ widely from the UK – if you don’t take advice, you could be leaving your next of kin in an awkward predicament. It is important to realise that there are many differences between the Italian and English ways of administering the estates of deceased persons which reflect the deep underlying differences between English and continental legal systems. Make sure you make a new will to reflect these differences.
Giambrone Law is an award-winning Italian law firm with offices in Milan, Rome, Palermo and overseas offices in New York, San Paolo and Casablanca.