Spadafora Realty


Purchasing Real Estate in Italy: What is a Notaio?

Notaio Notary Italy Property
Siena, Italy. Credits: Jürgen Reichenpfader

Buying real estate in Italy comes with its fair share of excitement and hurdles. Maybe you’ve rented a delightful vacation home in the south and thought of moving full-time, or the prospect of securing an income-producing property in one of the country’s top cities has become increasingly tempting. Whatever the reason, navigating the complexities of the European buying process to realize your dream requires some know-how, or at least a willingness to learn.

What is a "Notaio"?

A notary or notaio in Italian is one of the most essential figures you’ll across when buying a property in Italy. This individual is a public officer who is a cross between a lawyer, title officer, a notary public, and an escrow officer. He is someone who the parties must hire, and just like an escrow company, does not represent either party. Among other duties, the notaio collects taxes on behalf of the government, clears title, draws up the deed of sale, registers it, and transcribes it into the public records. His fees range between 1,500 and 5,000 euros depending on the type of property and the location. 

The Role of a Notaio

Besides the aforementioned, some key tasks of the notary include researching the public records to make sure there are no other ownership claims to the property, verifying the building permits and that the blueprints on file with the cadastral and city registries match the property’s internal layout, and certifying that both parties are legally allowed to sell and buy the property.

notaio may also perform duties beyond real estate, including: consulting services, tax advisory, company incorporations and dissolutions, corporate secretarial and accounting services, trademark registration, local director and domiciliation services, legalizations, and apostille services.

Hiring an experienced Notary

Notaio Italy Fees Spadafora Realty
Matera, Italy

Hiring an experienced and professional notaio is paramount. You do not want to find yourself in the unfortunate position of having purchased a property with critical flaws or one with legal complications. Mezzanines are a popular addition to add square footage and are commonly found in apartments, though often they are built without meeting the minimum ceiling height requirements. 

In such cases, the mezzanine must be demolished prior to the sale, or the buyer can seek legal ramifications for it not being up to code. As they say “buyer beware,” you’ll want to ensure the property you intend to purchase has been properly inspected and verified, especially on properties “sold as is”. Improper additions can prevent you from selling the property in the future.

In a lawsuit that reached the Supreme Court in Italy, a notary made the misfortune of releasing the balance of the sale to the seller before the transcription of the Deed of Sale into the public records. By Italian law, the notary has 30 days to complete this task; however, in this particular case, the seller went bankrupt shortly after the sale and his creditor put a lien on the property, effectively seizing it from the buyer! 

As a result and pursuant to article 1, comma 63, letter c), of law no. 147 of December 27th 2013, if requested, the balance intended for the seller can be held in escrow in a separate, dedicated account with the notary until the transcription of the Deed of Sale is finalized. For this reason, when drafting preliminary agreements for my clients, I always specify that the notary pay the seller only once the title has been completely transferred.

When are Notary Fees due?

In general, notary fees are due at the close of escrow, along with other closing costs. Should you choose to transcribe the preliminary agreement; however, which protects your down payment and gives you peace of mind by making your offer enforceable against third parties, would be paid beforehand and amount to an additional 1,500 euro.

If you’re buying a property and need notary services, don’t hesitate to contact usSpadafora Realty has partnerships with different, among the most prestigious, notaries all over Italy.


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