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Italy - Property Search

More than half of all the real estate deals in Italy take place directly between the buyer and the seller. Older Italians tend to sell their properties to those whom they are acquainted with in order to avoid paying the middleman’s fees. The younger locals and expats are known to strike a deal after checking listings of properties available in the newspapers or on online websites.

While this process may work for the people who live here and are familiar with the market (not to forget the language) foreigners may miss out on some great deals. Expats looking for property in this country are therefore strongly advised to engage a real estate agent locally.

Estate Agents

Like most other European nations, Italy has legal obligations and a code of practice in place for middlemen. In order to become a realtor, an individual needs to complete a special real estate course conducted by the Italian Chamber Of Commerce (Camera Di Commercio). All agents working in this country need to have professional indemnity insurance, since they hold deposits on behalf of the behalf of the buyer and the seller. They should also be officially registered with the Chamber of Commerce, as well as other licensing organizations, such as:

The Italian Association of Estate Agents (AICI)
Via Nerino 5, 20123 Milan
Tel: +39 02 7201 0974
URL: http://www.aici-italia.it

Federation Of Mediators And Agents (FIMAA)
Via Tritone 201, 00187 Rome
Tel: +39 06 6994 2303
URL: http://www.fimaa.it

The Federation Of Professional Estate Agents (FIAIP)
Piazzale Flaminio 9, 00195 Rome
Tel: +39 06 321 9798
URL: http://www.fiaip.it

It is absolutely essential to avoid an unlicensed agent or any agency if it isn’t listed with at least one of the bodies mentioned above.

Sellers in Italy do not work exclusively with a particular estate agent; instead, they have the tendency to get their property listed with as many agencies as possible. It is the buyer’s obligation to make sure that the final purchase is completed through the first agent who introduced him/ her to that property.

In Italy, an agent plays the role of an independent professional, who matches up willing buyers and sellers. Unlike the US and the UK, in this country a common agent can represent both parties in a property deal. In such instances, the agent is remunerated by both the sides. The use of a buyer’s agent is not uncommon in Italy. Technically, working with a buyer’s agent isn’t very different from working with a regular realtor.

The main job of an estate agent is to find a property that meets the buyer’s requirements and budget. Agencies are under no obligation to conduct due diligence on the property that they are trying to promote. The law only requires them to inform all the involved parties about problems that exist or if any may crop up in the future. In most instances though, agents assist buyers in other tasks like opening of a bank account, obtaining a fiscal code, applying for a mortgage and getting all the other required documents.

The fee charged for a property deal may vary from one agent to the other. On average, both the buyer and the seller are charged a 3% commission of the final price once the preliminary contract is signed. It is the buyer’s responsibility to make sure that the fee is refundable in case the sale doesn’t go through. However, since the agent isn’t obligated to establish the credibility of the buyer or the seller, payment of the commission is mandatory when the contract is signed, even if the deal does not go through.

At times, agencies may levy a fixed commission for their involvement; for example, they may charge €2,000 on properties priced around €50,000 and €300,000 for properties costing €12,000,000. A higher fee percentage is levied on cheaper properties. The fee may also be negotiable for properties that are very expensive. Therefore, it is important to clarify the commission fee charged by an agent, before engaging one.

Online Websites

Almost everyone has access to the internet these days. This makes it easier for expats from any part of the world to go through the various properties that have been listed on the Italian real estate market, even before they set foot in the country. While there are numerous websites that can be referred to, some of the more common ones include http://www.realtor.com/international/Italy, http://www.property-italy.immobiliare.it and http://www.keyitaly.com

Newspapers and Newsletters

Many Italians place ads in the local papers about the property they want to sell. Expats living in the country can get information about the available properties just by scanning the newspapers every morning.

Very often, churches, clubs and expat organizations also publish their own newsletters with information on all properties that are on the market.

There are no organizations specifically for foreign property buyers in Italy.

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