HOW BUY­ING IN ITALY CAN RUIN YOUR WEALTH

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Overseas -

DO...

Arm your­self with a trust­wor­thy es­tate agent. Try­ing to buy a home in Italy as a for­eigner with­out an in­ter­me­di­ary is sheer folly. In­ter­na­tional agents ( agenti in­ter­nazion­ali) cost more, but speak English. Very few lo­cal agents speak English, but they may know the area bet­ter.

Check www.real-es­ta­teeu­ro­pean-union.com/english/ italy.html for a guide to prop­erty val­ues, taxes and up­dates on the law af­fect­ing prop­erty pur­chases in Italy.

See a lawyer who spe­cialises in Ital­ian prop­erty be­fore you find a prop­erty. There are many pre­lim­i­nary is­sues that are best dealt with be­fore you find your­self be­ing pres­sured to sign a piece of pa­per to com­mit you to the pur­chase. A lawyer will also be able to rec­om­mend how to fi­nance the deal, find a trust­wor­thy sur­veyor ( ge­ome­tra) and pos­si­bly even help you trans­late the re­port.

Check there are no out­stand­ing mort­gages that could roll over on to you, that all the ap­pro­pri­ate prop­erty and rub­bish taxes have been paid, and that all pre­vi­ous ren­o­va­tions have been li­censed. If not, you could be fined.

Check the pre­lim­i­nary con­tract ( com­pro­messo) thor­oughly for clauses that break it. Many con­tracts drawn up by es­tate agents are an amal­gam of dif­fer­ent con­trac­tual obli­ga­tion, and in­clude a dizzy­ing ar­ray of op­tions and clauses.

Reg­is­ter the com­pro­messo in or­der to pro­tect your rights against third par­ties, es­pe­cially if there is a long gap be­tween the first con­tract and com­ple­tion.

Ob­tain a tax code ( codice fis­cale). You will need it to sign the deed of sale.

DON’T...

Ex­pect the process to be re­motely sim­i­lar to buy­ing a house in the UK, even if there are su­per­fi­cial like­nesses.

For­get to agree in ad­vance with the sur­veyor the things that you would like sur­veyed. Your in­put is crit­i­cal to the qual­ity of the re­port.

Leave with­out a re­ceipt for your de­posit.

Pay in cash. Ital­ian po­lice will list you in a file of sus­pi­cious peo­ple and pos­si­bly put you un­der sur­veil­lance, even if you de­clare the huge sums you are car­ry­ing.

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