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  • Buying Property in Italy
    Part 3 of 4: Contratto preliminare di vendita (Preliminary contract)

    by Giandomenico De Tullio

    Normally at this stage, buyer and vendor having agreed to go ahead with the conveyance, they will formalize their agreement with the "contratto preliminare di vendita" (preliminary contract). Some estate agents and especially private sales choose or recommend leaving out this particular essential part of the purchase process. This legal document is essential because it sets detailed terms and conditions of the sale. This is why it is highly advisable to engage the services of a solicitor, as one of the services they offer is to draft this contract where possible and, when not, at least to examine it very carefully before you sign it.

    One of the essential legal elements of the preliminary contract is the payment of a deposit (caparra confirmatorio), normally equivalent to a minimum of 10% of the purchase price. This deposit will not be returned if you back out of the contract without a valid legal reason. On the other hand, if the Vendor changes their mind about the sale he/she will under Italian law have to refund your deposit in full. You also have the right, if you wish, to claim an amount equal to the deposit through the Italian courts.

    In the preliminary contract the parties also set the date to finalize the conveyance in front of the public notary.

    The Notary is a public official who has the authority according to Italian law to validate contracts transferring the ownership of a property. He is also charged with paying all registry fees and cadastral taxes and carrying out the relevant searches on the property. But having engaged a solicitor beforehand you will be confident that no unpleasant surprises will be revealed at this late stage of the purchase process.

    The notary is supposed to be an absolutely neutral and impartial party in the transaction. This is why he cannot be a substitute for a solicitor in the defence of the interests of the buyer. The only way to be assured of total impartiality is to engage the services of an independent solicitor.

    << Part 2: Reservation Offer Part 4: Deed of Sale >>

    Please note, any statement made in this article is intended to be a general practical introductory explanation only and not formal legal advice. De Tullio Law Firm and accepts no liability or any responsibility for any statement made.


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