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What you need to know as a foreign buyer

Requirements for foreigners buying a property in Italy

To buy a house in Italy, a non-Italian citizen must meet certain requirements:

  • Residence permit in Italy: if the buyer intends to live in in Italy, they must have a residence permit as must all their family members.
  • Foreigners not residing in Italy: if the buyer does not reside legally in Italy, the country of origin must adhere to an international treaty that allows the purchase of property in Italy, with a principle of reciprocity (therefore it must also be possible for an Italian to purchase a home in the country of the person in question). You can check the existence of this treaty on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is also possible that the purchaser has dual nationality therefore even if the country of origin does not comply the country of dual nationality may.
  • Foreigners who are EU citizens or part of an EEA country or stateless persons resident for more than three years: in this case, there are no limits to the purchase of property in Italy.
  • Tax number: for both foreigners residing in Italy and non-residents, it is a requirement to obtain an Italian fiscal code in order to complete the purchase.
  • Passport or Identity Card: necessary to travel to Italy to view the property, although you can technically buy a house remotely even with just a virtual viewing and visit later to secure the sale.
  • Bank account: it is not necessary for the initial transaction of the sale as the amounts can be sent to the notary’s account who will guarantee the funds until the transaction is completed but a bank account is necessary to pay the utilities and general running of the property.
  • Opening a bank account – You will need your passport or id, an Italian Fiscal Code and proof of address. You will also be asked for your national insurance number in your place of residence which will be placed into the system. It is easier for a citizen from the European Union to open an account if non-resident but a little harder for a non-European especially if they open an account prior to purchasing a property. The bank will need to understand why is it you need an account to justify money-laundering procedures. Therefore if you are buying a property and have signed a contract the bank will need a copy of the contract.
  • Procedures to buy a property in Italy
    Foreigners purchasing a home in Italy must also comply with the three stages of buying a property in Italy.
    In particular:

    • Purchase proposal: an irrevocable offer containing the main terms of the transaction, such as details of the parties, details of the building subject to transaction, and the agreed sum.
    • Preliminary sales contract: a written agreement that is drawn up once the proposal has been accepted, in which the payment of the deposit is provided for in addition to the other conditions for the purchase.
    • A copy of the sales deed and a registered transcription of the deed: transcription in the notarial registers of the notarial document confirming the transfer of ownership.

Foreigners buying a house in Italy: what are the potential pitfalls?

A foreigner buying a house in Italy may have some difficulties or certain issues to overcome linked to their situation. Here are some of them:

It is advisable to always use a trusted licensed professional estate agent who will control all the legitimacy of the property prior to signing any paperwork and who can also guarantee the sale.

  • Knowledge of the language: if the foreigner buying a house in Italy does not know the Italian language, the notary must be made aware of this fact. The acts relating to the purchase and sale must be carried out in the presence of an interpreter and the notarial deed in Italian must be followed by an official translation into the purchaser’s language. Or a proxy can be given to a trusted person who understands Italian and has knowledge of the property market and laws such as an estate agent or lawyer or trusted friend who will guarantee the transaction.
  • The purchaser is not in Italy: if the purchaser is not physically present in Italy at the time of the purchase, the sale can still be concluded by proxy, i.e. by means of a document delegating to a third person the power to perform the legal act in the absentee’s place. Depending on the country the document will need to be translated and apostilled.

Buying a property in Italy, taxes and tax benefits for foreigners

Even if the buyer of the property is a foreigner, they must pay the taxes and duties connected with buying a property in Italy, in particular registration, mortgage and cadastral taxes, these are normally part of the notary’s cost which are included in his estimate for the transaction.

Even foreigners, however, can access the concessions for the purchase of a home if they meet the requirements of Italian law, i.e. those defining the main house as a non-luxury registered house and located in the municipality where the buyer has residence or will have it within 18 months. The purchaser must also not be the owner of other houses, even if only a share or bare ownership. In particular:

  • First home purchase from a private individual, from a non-construction company or from a construction company more than 5 years after completion of works. If you intend to take up residency in Italy the stamp duty is 2% of the cadastral value of the property and fixed mortgage and cadastral taxes of €50 each if you are a non-resident then the stamp duty will rise to 9% of the land registry value of the property;
  • Purchase from a builder, before 5 years from completion of works: If you intend to take up residence in Italy then it is 4% VAT on the agreed purchase price, plus mortgage and cadastral taxes of € 200 each on the other hand if you do not intend to take up residency then the amount rises to 10% VAT on the agreed purchase price.

If, on the other hand, the property is a luxury home and does not qualify as a ‘first home’, registration ( meaning you do not intend to take up residency in Italy), cadastral and mortgage taxes must be paid at a fixed rate if the transaction is subject to VAT or at a proportional rate of 9% if exempt from VAT.

For Italian citizens and their families who are residents abroad and who do not have a residence in Italy, providing they are registered with A.I.R.E. ( Anagrafe degli Italiani Residenti al Estero )  are entitled to first-time purchasers taxes, if they wish to purchase a property in Italy. A copy of the A.I.R.E certificate will be necessary to complete the purchase.


After completing the sale, there will be a series of procedures concerning the purchase that will need to be dealt with.

It might interest you to know that our agency takes care of all these in our “after-sales services”: this way our clients can feel totally at ease and know they are in good hands.

Transfer of Registration for all utilities

The transfer or the new activation of utilities is the first thing that will need to be done.

With a copy of the utility bills we will communicate to the electrical/gas and if needed water companies all the data and information necessary for the transfer to the new owner, at the same time we will also take care of the closing bills for the previous owner.

Registering the change of ownership and local taxes

Registration with the council for the local taxes including waste. In Italy there’s a tax to be paid on second homes: it’s  called IMU, it’s a yearly tax and it’s payable in two instalments or in a single solution. The refuse or waste tax is called TARI and this is payable in one or two instalments too.

Opening a bank account

This is particularly useful for foreign citizens, in order to be able to request the payment of utilities by direct debit to their Italian account. We help all our clients in this process by making an appointment in the bank, accompanying them to the bank, translating and assistance with the completion of the forms and the choice of the type of account they wish to open.

Condo manager communication

Who buys a real estate unit inside a condominium must immediately communicate his/her data to the condo manager. Our task is to send all the details and documents of the new owners, introduce them to the manager so that they can proceed with the registration and make contact for all subsequent communications.

Internet Connection

Useless to say, nowadays an internet connection is vital for everyone.

What we do here is to assist our clients with the choice of the most suitable offer among those on the market and accompany them to the specific supplier for signing the contract.

We can also be the contact people for communications with the technician who’ll have to carry out the installation of the dish satellite, when necessary.

Transfer of Residence

We assist our clients in all the steps, in case they want to apply for residence at the registry office of the municipality where they bought the house. We help them with communications and the preparation of all necessary documents.


We advise all our clients to have insurance coverage on their new home. We normally use Zurich as an insurance company, we can help with obtaining quotes and choose the best coverage solution for your home.

Client Reviews

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Mark Johnston
Mark Johnston
17 October 2023
Highly recommended, we bought our property in 2016 and we still use Madeleine for all her contacts and help for new work. If we bought again I wouldn't go anywhere else.
peter long
peter long
12 August 2023
From start to finish dealing with Madeleine was fantastic. We didn't buy our property from Madeleine but she used all her years of experience in the Italian market to help us secure our dream home and provided great consultancy services. Great advice and always available to answer the smallest questions Madeleine made us fell like family.
Karen Aloe
Karen Aloe
30 March 2023
I have known Madeleine for some years, purchased my property through her, extremely knowledgeable & professional. Her attention to detail is second to none! She goes beyond the call of duty to make sure you have a 1st class experience & will see you through your journey / the buying process from start to finish taking care of everything along the way… you can 💯 put your trust in her that she will do the best job for you in your search for your Dream home… & beyond 🤩
Daniella Therese Krol Lundtang
Daniella Therese Krol Lundtang
25 March 2023
We had been looking for an apartment in Italy for some years, when we met Madeleine. We quickly found the perfect location and apartment in Predore, by Lake Iseo. All the way through the process, from first showing of the apartment, to signing of the contract at the notary's, Madeleine has been of great help! She was always available for questions and concerns, which she still is. Since we took over the apartment, Madeleine has been such an amazing help in relation to translation when agreeing with contractors, planning of renovation of kitchen, visits to IKEA etc. Madeleine never says no to help you, which is really comforting when buying an apartment in a foreign country. Madeleine gets our warmest recommendations, if you want to buy an apartment, or a house in Italy.
Michaela S.
Michaela S.
20 March 2023
Madeleine Morgan weiß genau, was sie tut und hat sehr viel Erfahrung. Sie ist äußerst professionell und vertrauenswürdig, ehrlich und transparent. Auf Fragen und Anliegen hat sie immer schnell und zuverlässig reagiert. Selbst wenn Schwierigkeiten bzw. Missverständnisse auftraten, blieb Madeleine immer ruhig und gelassen. Sie hat äußerst geduldig Sachverhalte - bei Bedarf auch immer wieder - erklärt. Madeleine tut weit mehr, als sie müsste, denn auch nach Abschluss des eigentlichen Kaufvertrages organisiert sie zusammen mit ihrer Kollegin Cristina alles, was noch erledigt werden muss, wie z.B. den Abschluss einer Versicherung oder die Anmeldung von Strom, Gas und Wasser, was übrigens in Italien zu einem äußerst komplizierten und langwierigen Prozedere werden kann...
Dean Johnston
Dean Johnston
13 March 2023
A Pleasure to deal with Lake Iseo Properties very professional.