Initial offer to purchase or sell a property in Italy – things you need to know

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One of the first steps an estate agent will usually carry out when helping you buy or sell a property in Italy is to have the seller and buyer sign a document (proposta d’acquisto) with some, or all, of the following information: your details, the agreed price, deposit amounts, etc.

As innocent as it may seem, this document is a clear statement of intent to purchase/sell from a legal perspective and, once signed, the clauses and responsibilities that it dictates are binding. For this reason, it is imperative that you do not underestimate the contents of the document and the legal consequences of signing it; as once the seller also signs the proposta for acceptance, the process may be too far along to reverse your decisions.

Therefore, it is critical that the proposta be written correctly.

Should this not be the case, or should the proposta not contain specific clauses regarding the parties involved, both the seller and buyer could be liable to severe consequences and financial losses if the deal were to turn sour.

Once you are happy with the proposta and its contents, it is important that it be signed after all the preliminary due diligence on the property has been carried out: e.g. ensuring that the property complies with current building regulations, and the urbanistic law, thereby reducing the risk of any financial losses. Furthermore, potentially adding insult to injury, should you find yourself bound to buying a property which is not in compliance with the latest regulations, undertaking works to renovate the property accordingly is a financial burden which would fall upon you.

As such, if you are the buyer, you should check that the proposta contains clauses which state that the seller, prior to the agreed completion date, must ensure that the property is sellable, that it complies with the latest building regulations and is free of persons, objects, or burdens.

Prior to signing any document related to a sale, we recommend speaking to an Italian qualified property lawyer who will be able to assist you with the process, to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Should you wish to buy or sell a property in Italy, please feel free to get in touch; we would be delighted to offer our expertise from the initial proposal all the way up to the day you collect the keys!