How to Buy Real Estate in Italy as a Foreigner

Who Can Buy Property in Italy?

There are no restrictions on foreign ownership in Italy for EU and EEA citizens. For people from 3rd countries, an international reciprocity agreement between the origin country and Italy needs to be in place to be able to purchase property. This means that Italian citizens must also be allowed to purchase property in that 3rd country. You can learn more about those treaties from your local Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Investment in real estate in Italy does not grant citizenship or residency.

Do the Research

Italy’s love and appreciation of great food, wine, and its natural beauty do not need much introduction. However, the different regions of Italy are vastly different so make sure to weigh all your options and understand what you are looking for before committing to a specific city or region.

  • Rome - The capital of Italy, known worldwide for its rich history which dates back to ancient times. You will find iconic sights like the Colosseum, Vatican City, and the Trevi Fountain here. The iconic pasta carbonara also chases its roots back to Rome. 
  • Milan - The second largest city in Italy (after Rome) and home to the fashion industry. High-end boutiques, exciting nightlife, and a variety of interesting architecture can be found here. Milan is a bustling city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere
  • Florence - The cradle of the Renaissance as it’s known, Florence offers a vast arts scene and countless cultural experiences. Some of the greatest art treasures including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s David can be admired here. The city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, full of small streets, piazzas, and historic buildings
  • Palermo - Sicily offers an entirely different experience to the rest of Italy. Palermo is a blend of different historical influences, including Arab and Norman. You can expect bustling street markets, beautiful beaches, and exquisite cuisine.

Where to find properties online:


Mortgage options are plentiful for foreigners in Italy. A surveyor appointed by the bank will evaluate the property which will determine the amount of the loan provided to the buyer. In most cases, you can expect to get about 70-80% of the property’s value as a loan. Of course, offers from different banks will vary so make sure to do the legwork and apply to multiple banks to find the best deal.

Visit Properties and Make an Offer

Whether you searched online or engaged a real estate agent to find suitable properties, make sure to visit them to get the best picture of the condition of the property. It’s also a good idea to hire a surveyor, especially if you are looking to purchase an older property, as those might have electrical or plumbing issues which can be very expensive to fix. 

Once you have found a suitable property, make an official offer on it. 

Preliminary Contract

If the seller accepts, the deal becomes binding on both parties. A preliminary contract or a compromesso is then drawn up by the seller, his attorney, or real estate agent, containing the sale price, the amount to be paid as a deposit, the completion date, the land boundaries, and details of the property, and any other relevant clauses (i.e. water rights and rights of passage). In this stage, it’s also important to hire your own local legal advisor to make sure your interests are best represented. 

After the preliminary contract is signed, a deposit (usually about 10-20%) is paid. In the event that you decide not to pursue the purchase, the compromesso will be forfeited and the seller will keep the deposit. On the other hand, if the seller backs out, he will be liable to pay double the amount you have given as a deposit.

Due Diligence and Notary

Before the purchase can be finalized, due diligence needs to be carried out. This means checking that there are no differences between the cadastral plans and the actual property; verifying that the property is properly registered and that the seller is the rightful owner and has the power to sell the property. 

Once all the checks have been carried out, the buyer appoints a notary to finalize the purchase. The notary carries out final checks about cadastral restrictions and the rest of the purchase price is paid to the seller (either via. Bank check or escrow). Any necessary taxes are also paid at this stage. The notary will then register the deed with the tax office and land registry.

Property Purchase Costs in Italy

Transaction Costs

    Who Pays?
Registration Tax 2% - 9% buyer
Cadastral Tax 50€-200€ buyer
Mortgage Tax 50€-200€ buyer
Notary Fee 1% - 2.5% buyer
Real Estate Agent´s Fee 2% - 4% 
2% - 4% 
Costs paid by buyer 5% - 15.5%
Costs paid by seller 2% - 4%
Source: Global Property Guide