Top 10 Tips for Buying a House in Abruzzo

Are you in the process of talking to Abruzzo estate agents about buying a property in Abruzzo, Italy’s favourite green and pleasant land? Don’t be led up the garden path just because you are in bella Abruzzo – apply the same logic to buying a house in Abruzzo that you would do back at home.

Firstly check which earthquake zone you are buying your house.  The Civil Protection Agency has a very good map illustrating the various earthquake zones across Italy here.

If the estate agent you are dealing with is Italian do make sure they themselves individually are qualified & licensed and not just operating under the company licence.

Estate agents in Italy hold the 10% you will have to put down as a holding deposit on the house – and for that reason you want them to have the required indemnity insurance required by the State to safely hold this in their account.

There are some horror stories out there and the disingenuous reputation of ex-pat ‘Agents/Consultants’. If the person you are dealing with is a Brit, ensure they’re members of FOPDAC – (Federation of Overseas Property Developers and Consultants). Do remember it may be beautiful but it can always wait an extra day – never sign anything that hasn’t been translated by an independent translator whose daytime job is… translating! The worse thing that can happen is to fall foul at the final hurdle because of sloppy or biased translation.

Top Tips!:

  • So that you don’t waste your time on pipe dream, always enquire about the ‘key in hand’ price NOT the advertised price!
  • Expect to pay an additional 15% minimum extra on top of the price that you have offered and which has been accepted by the buyer. A breakdown of this  is:- 3- 6% commission (provvigione) to the estate agency of the total asking price. In Italy both the seller and buyer pay commission.  If you are a non-resident you will then need to pay tax of 11% of the declared value, if you gain residency this goes down to 4%. If you are buying land in Abruzzo the tax is 18%.  If the house in Abruzzo you are buying is new you will alternatively pay IVA (Value Added Tax) – 9% for non-luxury property and 19% for luxury property.  On top of this is Bolli (Stamp Duty) which is set at 1% for both registered & unregistered and new and old alike.
  • Your translator’s fees will come in at around 350 euros for the Compresso & Rogito stages.
  • Your fees to the Public Notary’s (Public Solicitor) will be anything between 2-5% of the declared price.
  • Remember! Make sure that your agent is individually registered with their local Chamber of Commerce, “Ruolo degli Agenti di Affari in Mediazione” who have issued them an Agent ID –  if they don’t have this they are a pirate & selling illegally, so  don’t touch them with a barge pole!
  • Preferably liaise with Abruzzo estate agents that are registered with both the FiAiP (Federation of Professional Estate Agents) & C.C.I.A.A.(Italian Association of Estate Agents), although of course there are always some companies who buy memberships to convey a certain respectability that their business is lacking.
  • Never pay an agent to be shown around houses. You wouldn’t pay at home so why pay to see houses in Abruzzo.
  • Remember to go with your gut instinct with regards to trust. Estate agents in Italy hold the deposits for both buyers and seller to ensure that the seller literally doesn’t disappear with your money – make sure your estate agent is registered you don’t want to find they are the ones that have disappeared with your monies.
  • Ask for contact details for previous customers for testimonials. The most important thing you can ask is what ‘after support’ they have given their customers.
Roddy Newlands
Author: Roddy Newlands

Roddy Newlands is an Associate Member of Life In Abruzzo, as well as antique book dealer and web and graphic designer. Abruzzo allows him to get his mountain-air fix, & satisfy his passion for pasta & panettone.

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