Life-Changing Decision: The Notary Act in Italy when buying a house

How to buy a property in Italy

Navigating the complexities of Italian real estate requires an understanding of the crucial role played by the notary. Here’s what you need to know about the notary act in Italy and why it’s a life-changing decision.


Understanding the Role of the Notary

In Italy, the notary (“notaio”) is a public official who plays a pivotal role in real estate transactions. Unlike in many other countries where a lawyer might handle the process, in Italy, the notary ensures that the transaction is legally binding, transparent, and compliant with Italian law. This impartial third party is responsible for:

  • Legal Verification: Ensuring the property’s title is clear and free of encumbrances, liens, or legal disputes.
  • Document Preparation and Authentication: Preparing and authenticating the sales contract (atto di vendita).
  • Compliance with Tax Obligations: Ensuring that all tax obligations related to the transaction are met.
  • Public Record Registration: Registering the deed with the public registry makes the sale official and public.


The Notary Act: A Critical Step

The notary act is the final step in the property purchase process. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what happens:

Preliminary Agreement (Compromesso)
Before the notary act, there’s typically a preliminary agreement (“compromesso” or “contratto preliminare”). This is a binding contract between the buyer and seller that outlines the terms of the sale, including price, payment terms, and closing date.

Due Diligence
Once the preliminary agreement is in place, the notary conducts due diligence. This includes:

  • Title Search: Verifying the legal ownership and that the property is free from debts or claims.
  • Verification of Seller’s Authority: Ensuring the seller has the legal right to sell the property.
  • Urban Planning Compliance: Confirming that the property complies with all urban planning and zoning regulations.

The Notary Act (Atto Notarile)
This is the momentous occasion when the ownership of the property is officially transferred. During this meeting:

  • Signing: Both parties, along with the notary, sign the deed of sale.
  • Reading Aloud: The notary reads the deed aloud to ensure all parties understand the terms.
  • Payment: The remaining balance of the purchase price is paid, usually through a bank transfer or a bank draft.
  • Transfer of Possession: The keys to the property are handed over to the buyer.

Registration.  After signing the notary act, the notary registers the deed with the local land registry office. This step is crucial as it publicly records the change in ownership, ensuring that the buyer’s ownership is legally recognized.


Where to buy luxury real estate in Italy?

Buying real estate in Italy is a dream for many, offering the allure of living amidst breathtaking scenery, rich history, and a vibrant culture. The notary act is a cornerstone of this dream, ensuring that the transaction is legally sound and transparent. Understanding this process and the notary’s role can transform a potentially daunting experience into a smooth and secure life-changing decision. With the right preparation and professional support, your Italian property purchase can be the start of a wonderful new chapter in your life.

Check out the IB International Real Estate portfolio showcasing luxury properties for sale in stunning locations throughout Italy. Real estate experts will answer any questions you might have and can schedule viewings.


Confronta Strutture