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Selling Property

Italy - Selling Property

The process for selling a piece of property in Italy is quite similar to the US & UK, even if the market is a bit slow. The country’s real estate industry boomed in the 1980s because of the increased demand in second homes among the expats. However, Italy was bad affected by recession in the 1990s and the property market still hasn’t recovered completely. Nevertheless, Italy is a country of home-owners and most of the local population would rather buy a house than rent one. Many expats also invest in real estate once they decide to settle down in this peninsula.

Owners can either choose to sell their properties on their own or may engage the services of a real estate agent for this purpose. Both the options have their own pros and cons.

Most of the locals (and a few expats) prefer making a sale privately, in order to avoid paying the commission fee. Selling property without the involvement of an estate agent can help save a significant amount of money. Unfortunately, in such instances finding a buyer may take a longer period of time. Most private sellers still end up paying at least a few hundred Euros for advertising on websites and in the local newspapers. Those who decide to sell their properties on their own need to undertake activities that would normally be conducted by an agent. These generally include setting the asking price after surveying the market, generating interest by advertising, holding viewings and handling the negotiation.

Since selling a house in Italy can be quite complicated, it is best for expats to hire a professional who can guide them through the entire procedure and the paperwork. The standard fee for an estate agent is 2% or 3% of the entire sale value. Very often, there are two or more brokers involved in a single deal and the fee is split among them. At times, sole agents agree to work for a lower commission fee, especially if the property is valued at a high amount. In Italy, agents do not expect to be paid till the sale is complete.

The agent’s fee is the main expense that a seller needs to consider, since it is a fairly high amount. Other selling costs that are usually incurred by property owners are preparation costs and conveyancing.

The preparation cost is the amount spent in improving the cosmetic look of the property, so that it can fetch a higher price. This may vary, depending on the state of the property and the restoration work it requires. To increase the value of the property and speed up its sale, all owners should ensure that the house looks good, the walls have been painted recently, the furniture (if any) has been well arranged, the floors are polished, the rooms are well lit, the exterior is well-maintained and any broken fixtures have been repaired. The asking price for the house drops drastically if it isn’t in good condition. Most buyers are not willing to pay a lot for a property that they will need to restore. Preparation costs are generally much higher for old and unused properties.

Conveyancing is a mandatory expense that is borne by the seller when the legal title of the property is transferred from one person to another. In Italy, this process is usually conducted by a solicitor or a licensed conveyor for a fee. Depending upon the price range of the property, owners can pay anywhere between €250.00 and €500.00 for conveyancing.

An expat can decide to sell his house at any point in time. However, the sale will only be exempt from the Italian Capital Gains Tax if the seller has owned the property for a minimum of 5 years.

All owners need to have their paperwork in place even before they decide to put their properties on the market. Apart from the title deed (Purchase Deed or a registered Italian Inheritance Tax Return), sellers should be equipped with documents like:

The Technical Report of Sale (Relazion Tecnica di Compravendita), which serves as a guarantee of salability, as it is prepared by an architect or a surveyor.
An Energy Performance Certificate (Attestato di Certificazione Energetica), a document that certifies the energy performance of a property and categorizes it into a class (A – G) as per the units required for heating the place. This document is prepared by a qualified technician.
Certificate of Habitability (Certificato di agibilita), prepared by the local commune, to confirm that the property complies with Italian laws as well as the health and safety regulations.

All residents, including expats, are required to pay a tax to the Italian Government, from sale of property in Italy. For more information, log on to http://www.detulliolawfirm.com/property-selling-guide and http://www.notariato.it/en/services-for-the-public/the-citizen/your-home/buy-house.html.

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