Here is a collection of frequently asked questions and useful links.
WHAT ARE THE EXPECTED COSTS?
This includes everything around your purchase – searches, viewings, translations, problem solving, coordination, advices, checking that the property is entirely lawful, assist in contract signing, assistance in acquiring contacts/administration around getting a mortgage, getting renovation quotes, help getting the necessary contracts with suppliers of electricity, water, telephone, etc after purchase. In short, everything that comes along until you are settled in your new property. If you buy a property sold by another estate agency and we handle the process, you only pay our fee. If you have found a property through another real estate agent, but want to use our services to buy it – fine, we will make an agreement with that real estate agent and represent you all the way.
The prices of the Notary vary widely, depending on the cadastral income of the property and on the need to establish whether or not a preliminary agreement. The average price is around 5.000€
Though you will need a bill of quantities prepared on the basis of analytical calculations, this is an estimate of the average cost for the renovation of a property.
Townhouse of 100 sq m floor plan
Standard renovation – no fine materials
Significant floor plan layout changes
New electrical system
High-efficiency heating -> deductible expenses
Up to 600€ per square meter to renovate
Up to 5000€ of project cost (lighting system plan, furniture project, bill of quantities, sections and prospects, permits, project management….)
We can provide a detailed quote of the costs, depending on your inquires
PROJECTS & PERMITS TO RENOVATE
The rules for the renovations are precise and the works themselves should be performed with care: before checking the practical feasibility must indeed see if they meet the requirements set by law and the technical ones, no less important.
Our ideas must be supervised by an expert who will verify the feasibility of the project.
For simplicity, we can divide the type of intervention in three categories: ordinary and extraordinary restructuring, and more complex interventions that require a proper building permit.
If you do not have to move any partition wall, then we’ll be in the first category, but if it were changes to the division of the rooms, then we are in the second. And when there are interventions that also affect the exterior of the building, we will have the third case.
This category includes all those works that relate to the decor of the property without affecting the structure of the building
For example: if you want to rearrange the bathroom or kitchen, changing sanitary, tiles and floors, you must not tell anyone. Similarly, you should not apply for permits even if you remove the tiles and replace them with hardwood floors or if you create suspended ceilings ceiling or perform work (in this case, however, you must respect the limits of height of the building regulations).
For other changes – removing or putting in walls or staircases, putting bathrooms where there were not bathrooms or replacing the roof, then you will need to submit a number of documents to the council, including photographs, details of the company undertaking the work and a project plan from a geometra (architect/surveyor). You will then have to wait for up to 20 days before the council confirm your right to proceed with the “Manutenzione extraordinaria”. Failure to comply with this can lead to a large fine, and the work being stopped indefinitely.
If you are doing any work that involves water – ie the construction of a bridge, diverting a small river or putting in a swimming pool – then your project will have to include a geologist’s report and be sent to provincial government for approval. If you are in a protected area (“Zona vincolata”) then your plans will be sent to the national “Sovraintendenza” to have the aesthetic implications approved.
For extending an old house or putting in windows or doors where there were previously done, the procedure is more complicated. A geometra must draw up plans, which are then submitted to the council’s planning board “Commissione edilizia”. Once the plans are approved, they are then sent on to the regional or provincial government for approval.
WHAT IS A NOTARY?
A notary is a public officer who is employed by the Italian government. The Notary deals with the transfer of a property from the seller to the buyer, checking if there are charges or issues on the property. Then he prepares the deed of sale.
It is always the buyer who pays the purchase taxes due and who pays the notary fees also. We usually can recommend which one to use and which one is cheapest, as notary prices do vary.
We provide a detailed list of all fees and taxes (including the notary’s quote) before you sign any contracts.
WHAT ABOUT TAXES ON PROPERTY PURCHASE?
The taxes you pay are based on the cadastral value – a nominal value which each property has – nothing to do with the market value.
House price agreed €150.000.
Property belongs to private sellers.
Cadastral value of the property €50.000.
Let’s say you intend buying the house as a non resident (.ie. you do not intend moving to Italy permanently and applying for residency).
Taxes payable are 10% on cadastral value €50.000 so €5.000 plus a few smaller fixed taxes.
Or, if you intend moving to live in the house permanently, applying for Italian residency, then as long as you don’t already own another property in Italy,
Taxes payable are 4% on cadastral value €50.000 so €2.000 plus a few smaller fixed taxes.
Please note, you could buy the house as a resident and pay the lower rate of tax if you intend moving then and obtaining residency within the next 18 months. If you then do not, you need to pay the difference in taxes plus a penalty of around 30%.
If there is substantial land with the property, then 18% is payable on the value attributed to the land, which can be quite low.
DO I NEED AN ITALIAN BANK ACCOUNT?
You don’t really need an Italian bank account for buying a property in Italy.
You could of course open an account to handle bills but bear in mind that some utilities companies refuse to arrange direct debits for non resident accounts, and some bills cannot be paid by direct debit.
You could always pay your bills online or send us the funds for settling all them.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PURCHASE A PROPERTY?
If the buyer is ready to go and the house is vacant, up to 2 months. Quite often paperwork has to be prepared, registrations or plans updated, occasionally there are planning issues sorted out, and this means it can take longer. It also depends on whether you are coming in person or arranging power of attorney – procura – as this takes a bit longer to arrange too. If the property is vacant, and all paperwork is up-to-date it is possible to buy immediately, as soon as we can make an appointment with the notary.
HOW CAN I GET A SURVEY?
The cost is usually from €500 up to €1000 but if you buy a property which has been completely restored by a company, it must guarantee the property from all defects for 10 years so a survey isn’t really necessary.
WHY BUYING A STONE RUIN?
A stone ruin can be a great investment. You are buying the footprint, land, location, views, etc and most importantly the VOLUME of the building which you can rebuild and in some cases extend. In some area of Sicily can be difficult to get planning permission for a new building but by buying a ruin, you automatically have the volume of a house, even if it means building that house. Of course, you can retain some original features if there are any left, and re-use the stone. It can be one of the best ways to invest, and means you can create the house to your own specifications.
WHAT TAXES WOULD I HAVE TO PAY ON THE RENT I COLLECT?
You can choose between a flat tax rate called “cedolare secca” of 21% or you can opt for the 95% of the annual rental income, which would be added to your other incomes and depending on total would depend in what tax bracket you would be taxed.
The current rates of IRPEF are as follows:
from 0 to 15,000 euro: 23% (first tax band)
from 15,001 to 28,000 euro: 27%
from 28,001 to 55,000 euro: 38%
from 55,001 to 75,000 euro: 41%
from 75,001 euro: 43%
WHAT IS THE POWER OF ATTORNEY – PROCURA -?
If you cannot be there in person to sign the purchase deeds at the notary, then you could arrange power of attorney.
- we send you the special power of attorney document in Italian with a translation if required.
- you make an appointment with a notary in your country and sign the Italian power of attorney document in front of him/her. He/she needs to see your identification and declare that you are who you say you are.
- you will have an apostille attached.
- the document then needs to be sent to us to give to the notary.
Alternatively, if you cannot be there to sign documents at the time but are in Italy beforehand you can sign the power of attorney documents at a notary’s office in Italy (much easier!).
Do you know that foreign or stateless descendents (up to the second degree) of Italian citizens can claim citizenship?
Foreign nationals – that is non-EU citizens – may enter Italy provided that they hold both a valid passport and, if required, an entry visa issued in their country of origin.
Information on who pays what taxes and why in the event of a property being bought in Italy
Italian will soon be necessary when spending time at Sicily. Here is a school in Palermo where you can study at all levels. If you attend outside tourist season, you will surely be alone in your class.
A fast way of finding out number of inhabitants in different locations. A nice tool when selecting suitable locations for a second home.
A nice collection of videos and books about Sicily, possible to order from the site. They also market genealogy research, and establishment of contacts with relatives in Sicily.
The train system in Italy is very good, and trains are affordable.
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