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Real Estate Tour: buying a house in Florence


3-4 hours

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

10 people


Chinese, English, Italian

Your house in Florence and Tuscany


If you come to Tuscany once or twice a year on holiday and this is not enough for you anymore and if you have fallen in love with the colors and smells of one of the most interesting and varied regions of Italy, in this section you will find a series of information if you want to buying a house in Florence and other properties for rent or sale in the beautiful and picturesque streets of the historic center of Florence or, for those who love nature and relax, on villas and farmhouses in the wonderful Tuscan hills.

During my tours, some customers, fascinated by the beauty of this land, often ask me for information on how to buy or rent a house or a villa in Florence or in other towns of Tuscany. I have thought then to offer my assistance to those interested in such a purchase, visiting together the property that they would like to rent or buy.

This type of service can also be combined, if requested, with one of my artistic and shopping tours that you can find on this website.

To facilitate the research of my clients, I have also started a collaboration with some real estate agencies, with long experience in this sector and great knowledge of the real estate market in Florence and Tuscany, which offer for sale and rent a wide variety of houses, villas and other properties.

In the real estate proposals section you will find some houses and villas for sale or rent sponsored by these real estate agencies and, if you are interested, you can book a visit to the property assisted by me and one of the agency managers.

Considering that the purchase of a real estate in Italy by a foreign citizen is a complex process, which requires the assistance of a qualified and competent professional, I hope to do something usefull to my clients by publishing some FAQs, edited by the Avv. Stanislao Guadagno, lawyer expert in Italian real estate law, which can answer the first general questions that a foreign citizen, who wants to buy a house, a villa or other properties in Italy, might have.


Buying a house in Florence and Italy: introduction to the FAQs


Below is a simple and concise description of the process of buying a house in Italy by a foreign citizen.

The short information that are given refer to a hypothesis of buying and selling between individuals, who do not act as entrepreneurs.

They do not address, in the most absolute way, all the problems related to this type of real estate purchase, but only want to give general information to the foreign citizen who, for the first time, is about to make this type of investment in Italy.

Given the complexity and continuous updating of Italian legislation regarding the legal, technical and tax aspects of real estate sales, and that the purchase of real estate is always an important investment, it is appropriate that the potential buyer is always advised and assisted by a professional expert in the subject, right from the initial stages of the purchase procedure.


Can a foreigner citizen buy a house in Italy?
Citizens of member states of the European Union can buy a property in Italy under the same conditions in which Italian citizens are allowed.

Non-EU citizens can buy a property in Italy only if the condition of reciprocity exists, in other words only if an Italian citizen is allowed to buy a property in the State of the foreign citizen who wants to buy in Italy. (for example, citizens of U.S., Australia, China, Brazil, India, and many others can buy a house in Italy)

The verification of the condition of reciprocity is carried out by the Italian Notary who stipulates the definitive contract of sale.
Citizens of non-EU countries staying in Italy can only buy a house in Italy if they have a valid residence permit.
Required documents to purchase a home in Italy
Tax Code: it is a card with an identification code that is issued by the Revenue Agency, which is an Authority of the Italian State, also issued through the Italian consulates abroad.
Opening a current account in a bank or a post office in Italy, in order to transfer to the seller the amounts destined for payment of the price and to be used for the payment of taxes and duties on the property.

Even if other methods of payment are possible, as long as they comply with the obligations of traceability of payments (eg by international bank transfer), opening a current account in a bank or a post office in Italy will make the procedure for purchase of the house, payments of annual fees and domestic utilities (electricity, water, etc ..) much easier and faster.
Purchase process of a property in Italy
In the Italian real estate market, usually, the purchase of a property passes through the following phases:
once the property is identified, the potential buyer makes a purchase offer to the owner. The purchase proposal mainly contains the declaration of wanting to purchase the house at a certain price.
It contains an already binding commitment for the proposer who signed it, while the seller remains free to evaluate other offers as well.
If the seller accepts the purchase offer, and this acceptance is communicated to the proponent, a contract is concluded between the parties that obliges them to go to before an Italian notary for the stipulation of the final contract of sale, with which the property will be transferred to the buyer.
In the real estate practice, the parties usually agree to stipulate a preliminary contract before signing the final one, which establishes the times and methods for the stipulation of the next definitive contract.
The preliminary contract
The preliminary contract (or compromise) is a real contract, which obliges both parties to sign the final contract.
It is often used in real estate contracting, as the parties often need time to solve some of their problems before the final contract is signed. (eg releasing the property, transferring the necessary money for the purchase, obtaining a mortgage, etc)

The preliminary contract must be written down on paper and must indicate the main elements of the sale, in particular: the precise description of the house to be purchased with the data of the land registry, the price and payment methods, the date of the final contract and other specific conditions demanded by the parties.

It is not mandatory that it has to be stipulated by a notary.
For better protection of the purchaser, in some circumstances, it is advisable to ask a Notary for the transcription of the preliminary contract in the Real Estate Registries.

From the moment of the registration of the preliminary contract, the property is assigned to the future buyer, this means that the seller can not sell the property to others, nor grant mortgages on the property, nor constitute any other prejudicial right to the detriment of the future buyer.

In addition, any seller's creditors will not be able to register a mortgage on the property promised for sale, nor foreclose it.
Confirmation deposit
At the time of signing the preliminary contract, the buyer will pay the seller a sum of money, which is normally between 10% and 30% of the total price agreed for the sale, considered as a deposit.
This deposit is a down payment of the total sale price, which will be deducted from the total price itself at the time of signing the final contract before the Notary.

The Italian legislation provides that in case the future purchaser, after signing the preliminary contract, no longer wants to buy the property, the paid deposit can be retained by the seller as compensation for the damage suffered.

If it is, instead, the seller who refuses to sell, the potential buyer can request the return of double of the deposit paid.
Registration and transcription of the preliminary contract costs
The preliminary contract of sale must be registered at any office of the Revenue Agency, within 20 days of signing.
If signed with a notarial deed, the notary himself will do so within 30 days.

For the registration of the preliminary contract has to be paid:
- the registration tax of € 200.00, (two hundred) regardless the price of the sale;
-the stamp duty, in the amount of € 16.00 (sixteen) every 4 pages and in any case every 100 lines;
if the contract is formed by public deed or by certified private deed, the stamp duty is instead € 155.00 (one hundred and fifty-five).

In addition, the proportional registration tax which is equal to 0.50% of the sums envisaged as a confirmatory deposit
The tax paid for the registration of the preliminary contract will then be deducted from the total tax due for the registration of the final purchase and sale contract.

If you want to make the transcription of the preliminary contract in the Real Estate Registers the costs are:
• fixed registration fee, € 200.00 (two hundred)
• fixed registration rights, euro 35.00 (thirtyfive)
• compensation of the Notary who drafted the preliminary contract, or authenticated the signatures of the contractors.
Final purchase contract - role of the Italian Notary
The Italian notary is a public official to whom the Italian State has conferred exclusive jurisdiction to stipulate the deeds of sale and purchase of real estate.
The notary ensures that the purchase of the property takes place in compliance with Italian law.
For this reason, he certifies the personal identity of the parties, their free and conscious will and the legitimacy to stipulate the contract for the purchase and sale of real estate.

The notary, before signing the deed, verifies that no mortgages, foreclosures or other rights in favor of third parties are imposed on the real estate object of the sale.
The Notary will draw up a contract of sale in which he will attest the payment of the price to the seller and will certify the transfer of ownership to the buyer.
The final contract will be transcribed in the Real Estate Registries.
Language of the final purchase contract
The law requires that the final sale and purchase contract has to be drawn up in Italian.

If the parties declare that they do not know the Italian language, the Notary, if he knows the foreign language of the parties, can write the contract in their language.

In this case, a translation into Italian will be added to the text in foreign language.

If instead the Notary does not know the foreign language, the final contract can be stipulated with the help of an interpreter chosen by the parties.
In this case, the definitive contract will be drawn up in Italian, with the translation in a foreign language made by the interpreter.
The Notary will read the final contract and its eventual translation to the parties in order to make sure the understanding and acceptance of its content, before they sign it.
Who chooses the Notary?
Unless otherwise agreed with the seller, the choice of the notary is up to the buyer, since the latter has to pay his fee.
Notary's fee
There are no predetermined rates, the fee is left to free negotiation with the buyer.
The notary is obliged to provide, if requested, a written quote with a detailed description of his fees and the taxes and duties to be paid.

Purely indicative, the fee required for the purchase of a property that worths € 200,000.00 (two hundred thousand) is about 1% of this value.

The Notary collects, on behalf of the Italian State, the taxes related to the deeds of sale and purchase, which are the following:
Proportional register tax
• 9% on the cadastral value of the building
• 2% on the cadastral value, if the property is intended to be the main residence of the buyer

The cadastral value is almost always lower than the total price paid by the buyer and indicated in the final contract of sale.

Fixed mortgages: € 50.00 (fifty)
Fixed land registry: € 50.00 (fifty)
Real estate brokerage agency compensations
In case you buy a house using the services of a real estate agency, the commission due to the agency is around 3% of the purchase price + 22% VAT and is paid entirely by both the seller and the buyer.
Annual taxes on the property
The municipality in which the property is located applies to the owner, whether resident or non-resident, the following taxes and fees:
IMU - (you do not have to pay it on your first house unless it's a luxury one),
TASI - (tax on municipal services such as road maintenance, public lighting, etc.)
TARI - (waste, garbage).

In general, for non-luxury houses, the total amount of the above taxes and fees should be around € 2,000.00 (two thousand) per year.
Visa for real estate purchases and residence permit
The Italian legislation provides for the issuance of “national elective residence" visa or, in implementation of the Schengen legislation, long-term multi-entry tourist visas (up to 5 years).

• Shenghen long-term tourist visa, 5 years

Where the needs of stay in Italy do not exceed 90 days per semester, or there is no intention to transfer their residence in Italy, for those wishing to make a real estate investment in Italy it will be possible to obtain a Shengen visa with a duration of 5 years (five)
The requirements for obtaining this type of visa are the same as those required to obtain a normal tourist visa, plus proof of having completed the purchase of a property in Italy.

• Visa to go to Italy to make inspections for investment and buy real estate
The person must request a normal tourist visa and must meet the same requirements to obtain a tourist visa.
The application must be accompanied by a letter explaining the reasons for the visit to Italy, in which it has to be attached a letter of invitation from a registered Italian real estate agency.
The visa will be issued with a validity of six months, for stays up to 90 days.

• National elective residence Visa

The visa for elective residence allows entry into Italy, for the purposes of residence, to the foreigner who intends to settle in Italy and is able to remain autonomously, without exercising any work activity.

To this end, the foreigner must provide adequate and documented guarantees regarding the availability to elect a house as a residence and of autonomous, stable and regular economic resources, whose continuity in the future can be reasonably expected.

These resources, in any case not less than € 31,000 / year, (thirty-one thousand) must come from the ownership of substantial income (pensions, annuities), ownership of real estate, ownership of stable economic or commercial activities or other sources other than employment.

A similar visa may also be issued to the cohabiting spouse, minor and major dependent children, provided that the aforementioned financial resources are considered suitable for the latter.

In particular, if the visa is required for the spouse, the amount of monthly income must be increased by at least 20%.

The increase will be at least 5% for each child for whom a visa is required.

The duration of this Elective Residence Visa issued by the Italian Diplomatic Representations will be 1 (one) year, easily renewable in Italy at the territorially competent police headquarters on condition, of course, that the original requirements continue to be maintained over time.

Within 8 days of arrival in Italy, it will be necessary, like for all types of long-term visa, to present the application for conversion of the entry visa into a residence permit.
With this type of visa it will not be possible to carry out work in Italy.

The residence permit can not be renewed or extended when it appears that the foreigner has interrupted his stay in Italy for a continuous period of more than six months, unless said interruption was due to the necessity of fulfilling military obligations or other serious and proven reasons.

After the fifth year, it is possible to apply for the long-term residence card, valid for 5 years.

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