Thinking about moving to Italy? Buying property abroad can be both an exciting and daunting prospect. In this article, we’re planning to ease the fears with info about costs, taxes, pitfalls and more.
With world-famous food, perfect mountains, epic sports stadiums and baking-hot summers – Italy is an expat paradise.
Moving to Italia will mean having somewhere to live. And if buying property in Italy is what you’re after, our guide should answer some of your questions and keep any worries at bay.
Buying a house in Italy as a foreigner
Fortunately, buying restrictions shouldn’t create too many problems for foreigners looking to purchase property in Italy. Although some restrictions exist, Italy is widely regarded as a ‘no restrictions’ country.
A major boon for UK nationals is the ability to buy property in Italy without needing an Italian residency. The same applies to citizens of other countries with a similar reciprocal agreement with Italy.
Cost of buying property in Italy
Like many places in the world, the cost of property in Italy differs massively depending on where you are. For example, an apartment in the Sicilian region of Sambuca can cost as little as €16,000 euros. In the more desirable areas like Milan, Venice and Tuscany, property will cost significantly more.
Here’s how much you can expect to pay for property in different Italian cities.
As with a lot of property purchases, you’ll have to pay a deposit. Firstly, you’ll need to fork out an upfront charge of 1% of the purchase price, which is seen as a payment in good faith. Once the initial contracts have been written, this increases to around 10% to 20%.
Additional fees of buying property in Italy
The value of the property isn’t the only cost you’ll need to consider. The chances are, if you’re buying property in Italy, you’ll need an estate agent.
An estate agent can help you find the perfect property and hop any language hurdles with things like contracts. They will, however, come at a cost. Usually, this is around 1.5% to 4% of the property’s value, plus 22% VAT.
Additionally, you’ll need a notary (notaio) to handle all the legal stuff. The notary’s fee tends to be roughly 1% to 2.5%. The extra legal fees come in at around 1% to 2%, plus 22% VAT.
You might also find it useful to hire a financial advisor, a mortgage advisor and a currency specialist. These may all add to your costs but will make organising your money a lot easier.
A currency specialist will help you navigate your international payments – a crucial factor if you’re buying Italian property from abroad. They can offer guidance about the currency market and help to reduce the risk of market movements affecting your money.
Property tax in Italy
This content is for information purposes only and should not be considered tax advice. You should seek advice independently if needed.
While you won’t face many restrictions when buying property in Italy, you will face one of the two certainties in life: taxes.
Property tax in Italy is generally considered to be moderate to high. You’ll need to factor all of them in when establishing your budget.
More often than not, the amount of tax you pay is relative to the value of the property – not the purchase price. Here are the taxes you can expect to pay.
Stamp Duty can range from as low as 2% to as high as 9% of the property’s value. Regardless of the price of the property, you’ll never have to pay more than €1,000.
You’ll pay 2% Stamp Duty, if your property will be your primary residence where you spend at least six months of the year. Alternatively, if the property is your second home and not your primary residence, you’ll be looking at 9% tax.
VAT (value added tax) is paid on every purchase, including houses. If you’re buying a house from a private seller, you won’t pay any VAT.
Otherwise, the rate can vary from 4% to 22%. A 4% charge is applied to a primary home, 10% to a secondary one and 22% to a luxury home.
Land Registry Tax
The land registry tax (imposta ipotecaria) ranges from €50 for a property purchased from a private seller to €200 from a registered company in Italy.
Pitfalls of buying property in Italy
Naturally, buying property abroad as a foreigner can be tricky. You might not understand the Italian buying process, the property market or the language.
As a result, these leave you exposed to dangerous situations that need to be avoided. We’ve picked out a handful of the common pitfalls you need to miss.
Always view the property
Italy is brimming with properties rich in history. And while they may appear beautiful, many of these properties experience neglect over time.
Their online adverts make them look great, but they’re often packed with problems. Make sure you always conduct a full evaluation of the property before you make any kind of offer. Otherwise, you may find yourself with some serious issues, such as no electricity or running water.
Ensure the seller is legitimate
A common scam that foreigners face when buying property in Italy is illegitimate sellers. They may not have the right to sell or have no access to the property. If this gets you in trouble with the law, they’re guaranteed to run for the hills leaving you in a pickle.
To keep yourself safe from such scams, ensure the titles and registrations of the property match up to the person selling it. Also, never exchange any funds until you have a legal title in front of you.
Refuse online-only or mail-only sellers
If a seller refuses to meet you in person, your internal alarm bell should immediately start ringing. The chances are that sellers who want to conduct the whole buying process via mail or online are trying to scam you.
We’ve already mentioned this, but always view the property in person. Also make sure you meet the seller to exchange all keys, titles and other documents.
Send money to buy property in Italy
Now that you’re safe from the pitfalls of buying property in Italy, it’s time to think about your money. If you need to exchange your currency to euros, we can help.
At Privalgo, foreign exchange is what we do. Our market-leading rates mean you’ll get the most out of your money.
Also, our dedicated Currency Specialists learn about you and your requirements. They’ll be there to support you throughout your foreign exchange journey.
If you’re interested, you can book a chat with a Privalgo Currency Specialist for free and see what we can do for you.Book a chat with a Currency Specialist