Property for Sale in Italy? Top 5 tips to buy one.



Looking for a property for sale in Italy? You want to buy an italian villa? Ok, You will almost certainly have to turn to a real estate agency to research and find the property you like best. You need some tips to buy one: just 5 top tips!

Are you sure that the agency can answer all your questions and satisfy all your requests? Often, when buying a house, people only pay attention to the real estate and economic part. Maybe, without taking too much care of the technical and architectural aspects. That’s insane!

Here’s the fact:

According to our latest research, only 20% of buyers of a new home consult a technical professional before the sale deed. The remaining 80% do not, but on average meets much more building problems over the years than others.

In doing so, they save an average of few thousand euros (architect/ engineer charges) before the purchase. But, as a result, they spend tens if not hundreds of thousands of euros following an incorrectly weighted purchase. That’s just sad!


We believe that a client, even before looking for a property for sale in Italy, also needs an architect. This person can give him technical and architectural advices and informations about the property itself.

Trust us: there are indeed many things you need to know before buying a property for sale in Italy. Buying a home or a building is a very big expense. Always try to confront an expert. Always ask the opinion to a professional who is not related to the real estate agency.

Before buying a property you must have advices from more than one subject. You can not trust only the seller or the realtor. Really? Yes! You need an external professional who is independent of the company or the private individual who will sell you the house.

And beware:

I said “Independent”: many times real estate companies offer you their surveyor or their professional. You need to hire your own professional, in order to have an independent and objective opinion on the sale. It’s a good idea to hire your own surveyor to check the property out before you buy. Expecially if you’re looking for a home that’s move-in ready.

For this reason we recommend you to choose your professional, and not to be followed by the professional proposed by the real estate agency.

If you are looking for a property, you will most likely turn to a real estate agent. And when you want to buy it you will be forced to go to a notary (for the deed of sale).

But, you know what?

Many clients do not think that they need, more than others, their professional (engineer or architect). He is the only one who does not necessarily have an interest in selling you a property and that can give you an impartial and objective opinion.

Above all, get an architect or a professional, to manage the purchuase of the house and the work to be done on it who knows the local area, the local bureaucrats and the local builders.

That’s why you have to rely on a professional, and we’ll give you 4 good reasons to do it!  Are you ready? Let’s start!



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A technical consultant (architect or engineer) can tell you how much is really worth the property that you like so much and that you would like to buy. An italian architect can evaluate and estimate the value of a property. Not only on the basis of the average real estate market. Also on the basis of future work to be carried out on the building itself, or the type of renovation to be carried out.

And guess what: the cost of the house is just one of the many economic aspects of a building. To better understand your property in Italy, you have to rely on an architectural consultant. The real estate agency searches and selects the properties for you, indicating the price. But it’s useful and extremely recommended hiring an architect also.

Note this: Italian estate agencies will rarely publish on the web decent photos of any house for sale, for fear of identifying it too clearly and therefore running the risk of losing their commission. So, it’s very important that you hire your own professional architect, who will accompany you on a visit to the property and that he makes his own evaluations.


Yes, an architect can give you a technical, architectural and economic judgment on the property you want to buy. He can give you a impartial opinion about any necessary work or costs you will have to face to live in that house.

Moreover, if you want to apply for a mortgage, a suitable professional can make a technical assessment of the property, and estimate its value. By that you can understand if the price is correct or if it is too high. So, before buying a property for sale in Italy, always remember to request a detailed technical and economic analysis to your trusted architect.

The sad thing is Italian realtor charge buyers a commission – as high as 3% – which is outrageous! The result is that buyers pay too much for the real estate agent (who is interested in selling the house) without even consulting an architect, who would have more say! And that could help you figure out if you are making the right choice. Beware, and ask a consultant! He will cost you money but it will be money well spent!


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Who tells you what works has been done on the building? And what events has it suffered over time? What is the technical-architectural history of the building you want to buy?

Answer: Only your architect or engineer. How? Through research of documentation in public archives, and accurate investigations of documents, technical and architectural projects of the past. Property for sale in Italy need to be “investigated”.

Consider that you cannot recover all the documentation inherent to the building yourself, but you will need a qualified Italian professional to do it for you.

By that he will be able to tell you what important facts have involved your property.

The architect can make preliminary considerations on the state of the house and make some preliminary surveys. Like checking the land boundaries and if anyone has a contract to work it.

You know what? There could be unauthorised developments or infringement of local building regulations in your property. Very often in Italian real estate there are differences or inconsistencies between what exists in reality and how much filed in the archives of local authorities. This could mean that some building works has been done without the authorization of the institutions. If you bought a property without being aware of these events, you could be penalized. You could be fined even if the abuses were committed by the previous owner. That’s awful! 

Your architect can make enquiries at the Town Council offices about the cost of obtaining work permission and any restrictions. And he let you know how much these things will cost you, even before you buy the property. 

There are many cases of buyers that only after buying a property in Italy, they realized that they could not restructure it as they wanted, due to municipal restrictions.

It’s all too easy to waste precious time before you realise that!

Guess what.

The property for sale you would like to buy in Italy could be abusive (without planning permission). This could mean a long delay and lots of red tapes before you could complete your purchuase. Until these type of problems are sorted out you will not be able to buy it, and the notary (notaio) will not be able to approve the sale. 

The notary (government approved conveyancing lawyer) and the real estate agency take care of collecting the material and the real estate documentation. So, Bottom Line? You should know these facts a long time before buying the house. And the architect will help you to gather the technical documentation, fundamental in the choice of a building to be inhabited.


– Land Registry documentation

– Structural documentation

– Documentation on energy efficiency

– Architectural documentation

– Documentation on possible penalties, infrigements or building problems.

How can you buy a house without knowing all these things?

You must be very careful before buying a property for sale in Italy! People often spend hundreds of thousands, even millions of Euros to buy a property. Maybe, without even knowing anything about that building and what renovations it has undergone in the past. This is absurd! Always rely on an architect who can tell you the story of a building and give you an assessment whether or not to buy it.


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Have you ever thought about your home in terms of future spending?

An architect can tell you, through detailed analysis and building expertise, how much you can spend on maintenance for a certain property. If you are looking for a property for sale in Italy, the real estate agency is not able to predict how much your house will cost you over the years.

Often, a buyer thinks only about the initial price, without considering the future costs that may exist. This is deeply wrong! Would you ever buy a car without knowing how much gas it consumes?

Also, unlike a car, there are many different maintenance costs in a house.

Because property for sale in Italy are generally old, you may want to keep a special eye out for the condition of plumbing and electric, and the presence of asbestos and lead. In fact, it’s important that electrics and plumbing are certified. And asbestos is a harmful material for health that must be removed. While all of these things can be easily hidden, they’re a bear to fix or get rid of once they become obvious. You need to know these things!

And it’s very important that you know all the costs even before buying a building. For example, if you buy a house with a swimming pool, you will need to know how much the plumbing of that pool will cost you over the years.

So, what?

Do not stop at the cost of buying and selling! Trust an experienced architect who can tell you everything at the level of maintenance costs.

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So, are looking for a property for sale in Italy? Are you sure you know if and how much you will spend in estate duty for the Italian property you want to buy?

We don’t think so…

You need to know that the property tax on real estate in Italy is called IMU. It depends on many factors: property size, value, type of house, land registry category, municipality etc ..


So it could be useful, for example, that you know the land registry category of the property. Sometimes you find beautiful properties with a category that make you pay a few land registry fee. Sometimes you can find other old and ugly properties with a high taxation. Furthermore you could understand, with your professional, what are the possibilities for not paying the tax. For example, having a property in Italy as “principal house”.

In fact there is a phase called “Accatastamento”. During this phase the professional proposes to the land registry a specific category for the building. Usually he choose the lowest possible category in order to charge less taxes to his client.

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Last but not least: Your professional will give you precious advices on restructuring the property you intend to buy, even before buying the house!

After having recovered all the material and drawings on the existing, your architect can do a feasibility study on the interventions necessary to restore luster to your property.

And if the interventions are too expensive or impossible, you will be free not to proceed with the purchase of the property for sale in Italy.

A house for restoration may seem a bargain in comparison to a new build. But before you even consider viewing anywhere, sit down with a professional and start doing your research.

You might be attracted to the low price of a property and be willing to buy it without consulting an architect first.

But, try to reason.

Bargain hunters should be aware that there are extra costs involved for anyone who chooses to take up on these types of offer. As well as purchasing costs, many of these houses requires significant restoration. Moreover, you have timing conditions on buying the property. Like, for examble, to start restoration within a year and complete it in three. Are you sure you know all the conditions and restrictions before buying?


You would never want to buy a house without knowing if you will spend a euro or a million on restructuring!

Wait, it’s impossible to have a definitive project and an exact estimate of the costs. But you can get an idea of ​​how you can renovate the house you would like to buy. 

As a foreign citizen there is not a cat in hell’s chance that you can deal with buying and restoring an Italian property on your own. Check this out if you need further informations on your restructuring:

For example, a tuscan farmhouse on a hillside may make a perfect renovation project, but will it be cost-effective?

So, always look out for those hidden costs such as converting its use from a previous farming property to an urban residence. 

Believe us.

Always ask for the opinion of an architect before the sale deed. And if possible, ask for a preliminary project and estimate of the costs.
You can better evaluate the purchase and have clearer ideas on how to renovate the house.

So, take advantage! 

In conclusion, always trust an architect or engineer who can save you money!  Remember: Taxes on real estate in Italy can be very expensive! Furthermore, a professional can give you the advice and practical devices to plan future interventions. In other words, he can help you to find the property that suits you the most in relation to the taxation.

Our advice is to know as much as possible about the property for sale you intend to buy in Italy. There is not just the price and the location…there is much more. And it’s about your money! Make accurate research and look for a professional before choosing to buy a property. Prevention is better than cure. You will spend a little bit more before, but you will save later.

And above all you will know what you are buying. And so, do not forget to rely on an expert!

Do you want an advice on your purchuase?

What do you want to know? Ask us anything.

Write us:    or      Contact us

We will be happy to follow you step by step.

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