Buying a house in Italy: 3 important things to check out

Many foreigners dream of owning a holiday home in Italy, or even plan to transfer their primary residence to the land of pasta, pizza and wine. Whatever your case is, make sure the choice of the property is oriented not only by your needs, tastes and budget, but also by a thorough evaluation of some technical and administrative requirements.

If you want to know more about or if you need an Italian real estate attorney, contact us and we reply as soon as possible.

Here are three things we recommend that you verify in order to avoid any scams and future complications.

1 – Know where the property comes from

Check if the seller owns the house by way of a previous purchase agreement, or because it was inherited or donated.

Every real estate unit must be registered in the “Catasto“; an enormous paper and computerized archive in which all buildings constructed in Italy are registered for tax purposes. Every provincial capital has its own District Office. The main document that is needed is the so-called cadastral sheet, which is simply a small scale reproduction of the plan of the property drawn up by a qualified expert and presented to the cadastral offices. Cadastral sheets may be checked by means of a “title search” (visura), which is an official record of the data regarding the real estate (its category, class, size, value) are given.

2 – Verify if the house is compliant with urban real estate regulations

By undertaking an urbanistic search you can retrieve the documents that contain crucial information about the house, such as:

– the visura catastale (cadastral certificate)

– the domanda di condono (certificate of application for remission of duties)

– the permesso di costruire (building permit)

– the segnalazione certificata di agibilità  (habitability and lodging declaration).

We suggest that a local surveyor (geometra) report be obtained to assist the buyer in verifying all of the above listed information regarding the property.


3 – Make sure the property is free from any liens and prejudicial transcriptions or registrations

An hypothecary search will help you avoid the risk of economic losses; for instance, if the seller was unaware of a prejudicial transcription (eg. because of the existence of a debt), you could become liable for breach of duty and incur liability and/or severe penalties.

The visura ipotecaria (hypothecary certificate) is the document to check, in this case.

Let us know if we can help.

If your desire is to buy a house in Italy and you need to run cadastral, urbanistic or hypothecary searches, we suggest you appoint a qualified Italian attorney.

Our firm has a proven, long-time expertise in international civil law and real estate matters.
If you need legal assistance, 
contact us: our English and French-speaking lawyers will be happy to assist you.