11 Feb Buying property in Italy. The substantial differences between brokering and full-service.
What you need to know about buying a property in Italy.
When it comes to buying or selling a property you will generally have to decide whether you want to engage a real estate professional who offers a full-service package or who acts as a broker.
- Brokering means finding a client for the purchase of a piece of real estate, with no other professional services included.
- A full-service package is where the professional manages the entire process, working with both the vendor and purchaser, carrying out technical diligence, coordinating the work of the various professional areas of competence, handling the relationship of all involved parties, providing an accurate estimate of the property’s value, identifying and resolving any possible impediments to concluding the sale and following the purchase process through to the final exchange of contract of sale.
Clearly the second requires a significant amount more intellectual and professional know-how by the real estate agency in order to execute the transaction competently and correctly and avoid any of the pitfalls which can crop up during the process of buying or selling a property. This is, of course, even more important in another country where the rules and language are different from what you are used to.
A house is an extremely high-value asset, not only in economic terms, but also emotionally. Purchasing a home should be one of life’s most enjoyable and significant experiences, but undertaken with a certain level of awareness and knowledge, given its importance. We could compare it to planning a dream holiday when we are full of enthusiasm, ready for the wonderful memories and adventures ahead, but at the same time, we take care to read up in advance so that we know about the destination and any precautions we need to take.
What does this mean for the buyer?:
The home purchase journey is a particularly long one in Italy with some key milestones which should only be navigated with the support of a real estate professional. The main steps that a buyer takes together with their real estate agency are as follows:
- Establishing the reason(s) you are looking to purchase
- Identifying properties which match your needs and brief
- Scheduling appointments and visits to the selected properties
- Handling any technical checks
- Preparation of paperwork for your offer
- Negotiating with the seller
- Dealing with the administrative documentation and procedures once your offer has been accepted
- Meeting where you pay a portion of the total and commit to purchasing the property (this usually takes place at a notary’s office)
- Meeting at which ownership of the property passes to you. (this usually takes place at a notary’s office)
Can a vendor exist without a purchaser?
Let’s take a look at why it’s also important for a vendor to entrust their property to a real estate professional.
The first thing to note is that the agent not only knows the sector well and is in daily contact with the potential market for a property, but that they understand the buyer’s point of view, requirements and budget.
The vendor will, of course, have their particular reasons for selling, and once these are established, the next step is to entrust an agency with valuing the property, defining realistic economic expectations and drawing up a tailored marketing strategy which will generally include guidance on any minor work which should be carried out to make the property more appealing. Let’s call it “home staging”. Once this is done, the agency should ensure the property enjoys maximum exposure. Visibility is, of course, key to the sale process and here it is not only a question of monetary investment, but professional know-how and understanding of the potential market for a particular property.
What does this mean for the vendor?:
Here’s an overview of the main milestones for the vendor:
- Preparing a mandate of sale which authorises us to market and sell your property
- Gathering any technical documents and carrying out due diligence relating to the property
- Evaluation of the property
- Organising professional photography
- Developing a promotional and advertising plan
- Scheduling viewings with genuine prospects
- Presenting and evaluating offers
- Meeting to confirm the prospective purchaser’s commitment, where they pay a portion of the total price (this usually takes place at a notary’s office)
- Settlement meeting with notary and purchaser which is when ownership is passed to the purchaser (called the rogito in Italian).
In summary, whether you are buying or selling a property, the process in Italy is a little more complex than in some markets and as such, the intervention of a professional who knows it inside out, is highly advisable.
How often do we buy a home in the course of our lives? It’s not like buying a new pair of shoes, a sofa, or even a car. As such, it makes sense to have someone at your side who is part of the purchase process on a regular basis. This is even more important when buying a property in a country (and language!) that is not your own.
One last piece of advice when selecting a real estate partner to accompany you on this exciting but complex journey is to check that all the credentials you should expect of a credible agency are in order. Is the agency a member of the Chamber of Commerce? Is it covered by professional risk insurance? Small, but significant details which send a signal that you are entrusting your precious dream or home to the right partner.