This guide would like to be an assistance to all the people interested in purchasing a property in sun island. Searching for the home of your dreams in Sicily is a very important step, as the property must have specific features to satisfy your needs and the ones of your family, and sometimes (especially for foreigners) the language barriers, a new country and the lack of the laws knowledge, hamper this step, by making it hard to embark on this experience.
That is the reason why it is important to turn to a qualified real estate agent who has a perfect knowledge of the area and can help you selecting the properties that best suit your needs, and above all lead you step by step until the end of the deal.
A real estate agent knows the market in which he operates, the local culture, the market prices of the real estates, thus he can to suggest interesting properties close to the actual market value.
It is good to know that real estate mediation is regulated by law in Italy, thus the estate agent must be properly enrolled in the register of the real estate agents, he must have the VAT number and a company or must be a sole trader enrolled to C.C.I.A.A. (Chamber of Commerce). An additional guarantee will be given by category associations, such as FIAIP (Italian Federation of the Professional Real Estate Agents), as it applies a careful selection of real estate agents and agencies with an insurance policy covering professional risks and protecting clients for the exercise of the brokerage profession (as required by law).
Once you find your dream house, here is how to proceed:
If you have entrusted yourself to a real estate agent, then you can stipulate a written "proposal" with him in writing, in which you can propose to buy the property, by specifying the amount you offer, terms, conditions and delivery times. You need to attach to the proposal a deposit, as general rule, a not negotiable cheque addressed to the seller. The same could be done by wire transfer (to be executed after the acceptance of the proposal).
Next, the "preliminary" or "compromise" (to be stipulated in the offices either of the mediator or of the notary), where the terms and conditions of sale are further specified, an ulterior fee is added to the previously paid deposit (Usually a 30% of the sale price is added between proposal and preliminary), and the date for the conclusion of the final deed is defined.
Finally, it is the "final sale deed". In Italy only the Notary can officially transfer the property from the old owner to the new one, ensuring that the property has all the features in order as required by law, thus legally transferable. Generally the real estate agent can advise you a trusted notary.
For foreign buyers it is indispensable the assistance of a translator who will translate the deed, and a witness confirming the accuracy of the translation. Of course, your real estate agent will get you a full estimate of all notary and translation costs, plus a copy of the translated deed to be read before coming to Italy to sign it.
At the same time you have to decide whether to buy the property as a principal residence or second house.
To purchase the property as a principal residence you need to be a citizen of the European Community, you must not have other houses across the national territory which benefit from the first residence special terms, and you need to change your address to Italy within 18 months from the stipulation of the final deed.
In this way, you only pay 2% of the property tax on purchase, you do not pay the annual municipal tax on the property (IMU), and, the consumption of electricity, water etc is subject to a reduction of costs.
If you buy the property as a second house you are not obliged to change your address, you pay 9% of the property tax on the purchase, the annual municipal tax on the property (IMU), and you should pay a little more on costs of electricity, water, etc consumption.
Again in this case the consultancy and the expense count made by your trusted real estate agent is indispensable.
The last tip of this guide is to rely on a real estate agency able to do your own / to manage your interests, by making your dreams come true.