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Buying or Selling a Car

Italy - Buying or Selling a Car


There are no restrictions on the purchase of a car for expats in Italy; they can buy a new or used automobile of their choice directly from a showroom, through a dealer or with the help of online sources. EU nationals with close connections to this country (like a second home) can purchase a vehicle in Italy, even if they are not residents. However, all expats from non-EU countries should get their residency documents in place before deciding to purchase a car.

In most cases, people from the US and UK prefer buying their vehicles through dealers, mainly because they handle the required paperwork on behalf of their customers. Many buyers approach a popular automobile agency called the Agenzia di Pratiche Auto for buying a new car. Their processing fees are included in the on-the-road price of the automobile. A comprehensive list of outlets and their contact details can be accessed on their website, http://www.agenziapraticheauto.it

As in the US, UK and most other countries, both locals and expats need to have a set of documents in order to buy a car in Italy. These include:

Personal tax code (codice fiscale)
A residence certificate (cetificato di residenza)
An identity document like a passport for registration purposes
Proof of insurance (assicurazione), which is arranged before the actual purchase

Buying a new car in Italy is far easier than purchasing a secondhand one. All used automobiles should be thoroughly checked by a mechanic before the sale can go through.

Popular online resources for secondhand vehicles include http://www.autoscout24.it, http://www.subito.it, http://www.dassario.it and http://www.ebay.it (motori listing). Many expats check the classified pages in the local newspapers regularly to check for cars on sale.

A few additional documents are required for buying a used car in Italy; these include:

The Act of Sale (Atto di Vendita)
Ownership papers (Certificato di Proprieta)
Certificate of registration (Carta di Circolazione)
A residence certificate (cetificato di residenza)
Personal tax code (codice fiscale) for the buyer and seller

All expats are strongly advised to conduct a detailed inspection of the vehicle (along with a mechanic), before purchasing a used car. Some of the factors that should be looked at carefully include the engine, mileage, tyres, car registration certificate (carta di circolazione), servicing information (tagliandi) and road-tax expiration date (scadenza bollo).

Once a car is purchased, it is important to get the Transfer of Ownership (Passaggio di Proprieta) paperwork and formalities completed within 60 days. This procedure is also handled by the Agenzia di Pratiche Auto for both, brand new as well as used vehicles. Alternately, this can be done through the Automobile Club Public Registry Office (Pubblico Registro Automobilistico or PRA). In case the change of ownership isn’t registered within the 60-day period, the former owner continues to be responsible for any issues like accidents, non-payment of taxes and highway-code infringement. The cost of getting the vehicle registered under the new owner may be anywhere between €300.00 and €1,500.00, depending upon its type. The three elements that determine the total cost include:

Spese Motorizzazione (a fixed amount of €99.35)
Spese Pubblico Registro, which is calculated on the car’s power
Valori Bollati (fixed amount of €14.62)


Expats can also choose to sell their cars at any time in Italy. The vehicle may be sold to a dealer or a private buyer. Some of them trade their cars with a dealer for another vehicle, whereas for others it may be a standard sale. Before putting a vehicle on the market though, all owners need to ensure that all the required maintenance checks have been conducted by the garage.

Used car owners must provide the perspective buyers with an act of sale, an ownership certificate as well as a car registration certificate. The act of sale is prepared by a notary. If the car is being sold to a dealer, the notary can also draw up the Authorization of Sale (Procura a Vendere).

Potential used car buyers often ask for a test drive (giro di prova) before finalizing the deal. In such cases, owners have the right to check if the purchaser has a valid EU driving license before agreeing to the test drive. Many owners also insist on accompanying the buyer for the drive.

Italians have the tendency to bargain before making any kind of purchase and this includes cars. Therefore, be prepared for at least one or two rounds of negotiation before the deal can be closed.

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