PropertiesBuying property in Italy as an American: a Complete Guide

15 May 20230

Buying property in Italy as an American: a Complete Guide

Buying a property in Italy as an American can seem like a daunting task, but with proper guidance and understanding of the process, it can be a smooth and enjoyable experience.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about buying property in Italy, from understanding the legal requirements to finding the perfect place for your new home.

Legal requirements for Americans buying property in Italy

Before diving into the property search, it is essential to understand the legal requirements for americans buying property in Italy. Some key points to consider are:

  • Visa requirements: Americans who intend to stay in Italy for more than 90 days need a visa. If you are purchasing property for long-term stays, you will probably need to apply for an elective residence visa (ERV).
  • Codice Fiscale: To purchase property in Italy, you must obtain an Italian tax code (Codice Fiscale). This can be done at a local tax office (Agenzia delle Entrate) or through the Italian consulate in the United States.
  • Legal Assistance: It is advisable to hire an Italian lawyer to help you untangle the complex process of buying property and ensure that all legal requirements are met.

The process of buying real estate in Italy

The process of buying a property in Italy can be broken down into the following stages:

  • Property search and research: Start by researching various regions, cities and countries to identify the solution that best suits your preferences and budget. Online real estate ads, local newspapers and real estate agents can be valuable resources at this stage.
  • Property viewing: Once you have identified potential properties, you need to arrange visits with the seller or his or her agent. It is a good idea to visit multiple properties to compare and make an informed decision.
  • Make an offer: Once you have found the perfect property, make an offer through your real estate agent. It is common to negotiate the price with the seller.
  • Preliminary contract: Once the price is agreed upon, the seller’s agent or attorney drafts a preliminary contract (compromise) that outlines the terms of the sale. Both parties sign the contract and the buyer pays a deposit, usually 10-30% of the agreed price.
  • Appointment of notary: The buyer and seller appoint a notary public to draw up the final deed (deed) and verify that all necessary checks and documents are in order.
  • Final deed of sale: The final deed of sale is signed by both parties in the presence of the notary, who records the transaction. The buyer pays the balance and any associated fees and taxes.

Costs and taxes associated with buying a property in Italy (as an american)

When planning your budget for buying property in Italy as an american, keep the following costs and taxes in mind:

  • Real estate agent’s commission: Typically 2-3% of the price of the property, paid by the buyer and seller.
  • Notary fees: Usually 1-2% of the property price, paid by the buyer.
  • Registration tax: 2-9% of the property price for residential properties, paid by the buyer.
  • VAT: Applicable to newly built properties at a rate of 4-22%, depending on the type of property and the buyer’s status.
  • Legal fees: Varies depending on the complexity of the transaction and the lawyer’s fees, but generally hovers around 1-2% of the property price.

Buying a property in Italy (as an american):

choosing the right location

Italy is a diverse country, offering a range of locations to suit different tastes and budgets. Some popular options include:

  • Tuscany: Known for its rolling hills, vineyards and historic towns, Tuscany is a popular choice for those seeking an Italian country experience;
  • Lombardy: Home to bustling Milan and picturesque Lake Como, Lombardy offers a mix of urban excitement and serene lake life.
  • Sicily: Rich in history, culture and breathtaking scenery, Sicily offers a unique island experience, complete with delicious cuisine and ancient ruins;
  • Puglia: With its beautiful beaches, charming towns, and affordable prices, Puglia is an attractive option for those seeking a coastal retreat.

Tips for buying property in Italy by an American

To ensure a successful property purchase in Italy consider the following tips:

  • Visit the property several times: It is important to visit the property at different times of day and in various weather conditions to get a real feel for the area.
  • Research the local market: Familiarize yourself with prices and trends in the local real estate market to ensure that you are making a good investment.
  • Learn the language: Although many Italians speak English, learning a little Italian can help you better understand the property buying process and communicate with locals.
  • Engage with the community: Talk to neighbors and local business owners to gather information about the area and gauge the level of support for new residents.


Buying property in Italy as an American can be a rewarding experience that opens the door to a new lifestyle. By understanding the legal requirements, familiarizing yourself with the buying process and choosing the right location, you will be well on your way to enjoying the dolce vita in your new Italian home.

Be patient: The process of buying property in Italy as an american can be slow and bureaucratic, so be prepared for potential delays!


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