How to Buy A House In Italy As A Foreigner

by | Mar 14, 2022 | Expat Life, Italy

Buying a house in Italy can be a stressful experience, especially if you are a foreigner who doesn’t speak Italian. Knowing your rights and responsibilities will help take the stress out of the process, and provide peace of mind for sellers and buyers.

I recently had the chance to interview Italian real estate agent Stefania Zocche, from La Corte dei Miracoli real estate agency in my adopted hometown of Vicenza in the beautiful Veneto region of Italy. If you’re wondering what it takes to buy an Italian house as an expat, this article is for you.

Stefania Zocche, the owner of La Corte dei Miracoli real estate agency has been helping expats for about 20 years.

Cheryl: So how do we expats find you? What’s the best way to get in touch with you?

Stefania: The best way is always the internet. You can always contact me through the website, lacortedeimiracoli.eu, but my clients normally get to me by word of mouth –  my oldest, best way to get clients.

Important Reminder:

“Word of mouth is always the best way, especially in Italy!”

Cheryl: What are some of the first things that you ask a new client?

Stefania: The first thing I ask is the purpose:

  • Why do they want to buy a house?
  • Do they want to stay here?
  • Do they want to live here?
  • Do they want to use it for holidays?
  • Is it to rent out or for investment?
stefania-zocche

That’s the main question. Some of the follow-up questions are:

  • What do you want to do with that house?
  • Where do you want to have it?
  • What are the main features you want in the house?
  • Which region?
  • Budget – depending on the budget we can offer different things

Cheryl: Is it easy for expats to find the type of property they’re looking for, in this area?

Stefania: Not really (laughs). If they have an idea like they look for an old, fascinating, and historical building with a big terrace – that’s not possible because the government will never agree to have a terrace on an old building for instance. 

So I need to talk to them and make them understand what they can really find in it. Normally they expect something, and then they find something else, but they are happy anyway.

Cheryl: Are there any types of property that you would advise people against buying?

Ex. Don’t buy a property that’s ground floor because of safety concerns, or possible flooding, or don’t buy a property with tenants already inside.) – common people stories

Stefania: There are lots of stories and if you listen to everybody, you are scared of everything.

The reality is that it is true that there was a flood in 2010-11 and I experienced that flooding and I got to know that every hundred years Vicenza has a flood.

– Floods happen only once every 100 years

Cheryl: What do non-residents need to buy a place here?

Stefania: You need to have a codice fiscale: fiscal code or social security number. 

Agencia delle Entrate is the place where you can get your codice fiscale.

They can get a fiscal code and it lasts forever. So it means that if they go away for 50 years and then come back, they can still use the same one–it’s always valid.

Cheryl: If the expat doesn’t speak Italian, do they need to have a translator on the day of the house purchase? How does that work?

Stefania: Ask for help from a friend who can speak Italian and your mother tongue.

What we suggest is to have an Italian friend or an American friend, or whatever nationality they have and can speak that language. So Italian and the language they need to get translation for. In that way, they save money in the translation of the complete act.

The notary gives the Power of Attorney to your interpreter friend. Sometimes Stefania steps in as the Power of Attorney is there is no one else.

stefania-zocche

Get in touch with Stefania Zocche from La Corte dei Miracoli:

Cheryl: How long does it take, normally, from the time of choosing the house to the time of purchase?

Stefania: Currently, it takes 3 months to get property documents from the town hall (comune)

If you don’t need a loan you can get to the [house] deed very quickly – only if the paperwork is ready. But the problem we have now is that to get the paperwork of the house out of the registration office in town, there are not enough people to work, so waiting time is about three months before getting those papers out.

Until you can see those documents, you are not sure of what you are buying.

Be careful: Sometimes what’s on the documents doesn’t match the actual property.

Cheryl: Are you able to verify the paperwork as a realtor or do you recommend that the buyer get a third party to check?

Stefania: We have our technicians who can verify these things.

So we have our workers who can do these things and they are specific technicians. Otherwise if the buyers have got their own technicians, they can use their own.

Cheryl: It’s not possible for expats to get a loan in Italy. Is that true?

Stefania: Italian banks will not give loans or mortgages to foreigners unless they are resident here.

Yeah, it’s true. Unfortunately, none of the Italian banks would make loans or even mortgages to foreign buyers unless they are registered here. Either they work here or they live here. Otherwise, they’re not going to get a loan.

Cheryl: What about Americans that are working on the base?

Stefania: US soldiers working in the military base can get a mortgage from an Italian bank.

They can because they work here. If the paper states that they work here, they are allowed to buy some properties.

Cheryl: What are some of the challenges that expats face when they want to buy a place here?

Stefania: Find good people that you trust, to work in your house.

The people that are going to work on your house should be trusted because it’s really a challenge. Also, if you need renovations, if they’re doing the right renovations in the right timing with the right price, so the right steps.

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    Cheryl: Does your agency also recommend workers?

    Stefania: We have our network of trusted workers that we can recommend.

    If they ask, yes. After more than 20 years, and we work with the Americans found. We have our little crew. So we have the plumber, we have an electrician, painter and other workers.

    Cheryl: Do you have any other advice for the audience about buying a piece of property in Italy as an expat?

    Stefania: Vicenza is a beautiful little jewel of a place to buy a house in.

    Foreigners made me open my eyes, on my own city. It’s a small town, but not that small, and it’s surrounded by hills. It’s one hour away from the mountains, one hour away from the beach. You have art everywhere and it’s not dangerous. It’s all walking distance.

    Cheryl: These are all reasons why I settled in Italy and I often got this question from Italians.

    First: why Italy, and second: why Vicenza? I always said, this place is beautiful. Also you have all the airports around you and the trains take you everywhere.

    In conclusion, you can buy a house in Italy as a foreigner, but you have to know the process.

    I hope this blog will help a lot of people that are looking for this exact kind of advice when buying a piece of property in Italy. 

    If you’re looking for apartments for sale in Vicenza, you may want to visit her website  lacortedeimiracoli.eu.

    Cheryl: These are all reasons why I settled in Italy and I often got this question from Italians.

    First: why Italy, and second: why Vicenza? I always said, this place is beautiful. Also you have all the airports around you and the trains take you everywhere.

    Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more informative videos on Italy.

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