When it comes to inheritance or purchasing or selling property in Italy, as a general rule, we advise checking several pieces of information related to the property or its current owner before signing any document or transferring any money.
Specifically, based on a check-list of public records and paperwork searches, it is possible to retrieve the following information, which are crucial for a property to be safely transferred:
- Current property’s ownership;
- Consistency between actual ownership and the property’s features (e.g., number of rooms, size, intended use, etc.) mentioned on the title and in public records. It is extremely common for public records to not be updated with the current status of the property;
- Current property owner’s bankruptcy and financial obligations status (e.g., possible seller’s tax debts are subject to be transferred to the buyer);
- Possible mortgages, title liens and third parties’ rights on the property title;
- Possible debts or obligations, in terms of condo association fees and expenses, left unpaid or past-due by the seller;
- Current owner’s right to sell the property (e.g., in case of joint ownership, all owners are required to be involved in the transaction);
- Presence of planning permissions or amnesties for possible illegal renovation or enlargement works.
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For some technical aspects, involving a local surveyor may be necessary.
For example, before purchasing or listing a property for sale, we usually advise appointing a surveyor to check for the following:
- The absence of possible illegal constructions or works. In fact, in order to sell a property, its actual status must be consistent with information contained in public records, official layout blueprints. Agreeing to buy a property without this preliminary check implies that the buyer assumes the risk to be responsible for possible inconsistencies after closing;
- If the certificate of occupancy is available and, if not, checking if the property meets the legal requirements to successfully obtain one and, possibly, apply for it;
- An independent estimation of the market value of the property;
- The property is not occupied by possible squatters or third parties that have rights (e.g., tenants, usufructuaries, etc.). This aspect is crucial, as the buyer – aware or not – takes over possible lease contracts existing for the property;
- In case of land purchases, check for the existence of permits to build on the property and the absence of restrictions due to landscape protection.
We assist our Clients in obtaining all of the information above, review all paperwork and provide legal advice for all related matters.