New to the forum 1st time question

04/14/2010 - 15:53

Hi New to the forum but been receiving the Mag for a while.  Been looking for property in Italy for some time but wondered: I know I need the Geometra and the Notary but do I need a solicitor as well.  Most Immobiliare I have spoken to suggest that this is not required.  Just wondered what others thought? thanks in advance for any advice Slainte.


Some people say you should always use a solicitor. My Italian friends say you would be mad to use one I didn't use one  [but lots of Brits do - they feel safer doing so] I don't regret it

The notaio is your solicitor. Even if he is the same one as is acting for the vendor, your notaio is working for YOU and is bound to represent your interests fully in the same way as any other solicitor would, according to the law. You would only need another solicitor if, like some, you believed: 1) No Italian professional could possibly be as good as a British one wink 2) You lacked confidence in your ability to understand what is going on in a foreign language (you are required to have an interpreter anyway). This reason is flawed because to a layman they all talk bo**ocks anyway, whatever language they are using at the time. You may guess that, like Alan, I didn't see the need for an additional solicitor and had no reason for any regrets. Quite the reverse in fact, as I had a minor situation where the notaio used his skill to save me an amount equal to his fee. Top man yes. Welcome to the forum Terry

Hi and welcome. I'm sure you'll have plenty more Qs, we still do after 5 years. Thinking like the Brit, we used a Solicitor initially in 2005,  for the 'promissory note' and with hindsight it was a waste of  €600.00 + IVA. Now we use our bank's notaio and there's never been a problem, thus far. It's your choice, at the end of the day. Regards. #1 PS: BTW, Please don't compare the Solicitors rates in the UK with the ones you'd have to pay in Italia and you won't be disappointed.  

The role of the Notaio, is essentialy to transfer an unburdened legal property title to you. (ie free of existing mortgages unless otherwise agreed). That is the extent that they work on your behalf. Its not his/her job to point out that planning permission has been granted for a new road next to your property or that the local commune have a right to charge you €1,000 for your share of new street lights or that the local farmer still has a 50 year right to cultivate your land although he has not done so for many years. That is the role of the solicitor. They have a responsibility to the best of their knowledge and using all available information to point out any known elements that may adversely affect you in the future and have a potentially negative impact on your  property's value. You don't have to employ a solicitor to do your conveyancing in the UK but its strongly advised. Italy is no different despite most people not using one to save costs. Its up to you, but if you employ a regulated solicitor (UK or Italy)  then you will have access to the appropriate compensation fund if anything untoward happens that was not initially pointed out to you. For peace of mind, I would strongly advise using one.

We didnt use a solicitor when we bought 5 yrs ago, but we did pay extra to our geometra/estate agent (at that time this was permitted) for the "hand holding" buying process, so searches were done by him and the bank account set up by him, and we still sometimes use him for advice, but rarely as our Italian improves and we have built up a local network of friends. It went very much against the English way of thinking, but for us worked out fine. Its up to what you feel comfortable with, and whom you trust.

Welcome to the Forum and hope you find somewhere you really like very soon. All my Italian friends say a solicitor is not necessary, but my understanding is that the notaio is really just checking the docs and the amount of tax to be paid rather than representing the buyer and seller. My estate agent involved a solicitor as part of the deal, which I resented frankly, and I didn't see anything to convince me he had actually done anything. However, bearing in mind CapoBoi's comments above, it might  be an extra safeguard. Mine was a very straightforward purchase without the potential problems of land etc. I think if I was buying somewhere old and/or with land, I'd probably go for extra guidance. all good wishes

Thanks for the warm welcome folks it really is very much appreciated.  I look foward to contributing in the future. Re the question;  I'll consider all options taking into account the points made here.  We were supposed to be flying to Italy this week but a little dust from Iceland scuppered that.  Still worse things happen. Slainte!

Capo Boi is right, in that a notaio does not work for you - but for the state.  However, a good notaio will practise all due diligence on a sale, a bad notaio will to the minimum possible.   If you are buying using a good estate agent, a solicitor is not necessary. The estate agent - ie someone who is registered and qualified to be an estate agent in Italy - should do all the checks that the notaio can't or won't.   If you're buying via a bloke a the local caff who knows someone, or via a 'buyers agent' or spiv who doesnt want to appear in the act of sale, you need to take all the precautions you can, because you have no come back in law against any of them.   In a straightforward sale there is no need for a solicitor to act on your behalf, and they often can just complicate matters unnecessarily.  If you are planning on buying a house with multiple owners via an offshore company and want to divide between you, your wife and mistress its not a bad idea to get some help! 

In my case I employed a UK solicitor - apart from the standard searches (which it appears the estate agent could perform) I don't think I received much value. The advice was misleading (did not reflect local practice) and I had to push the process along. If I had to do it again I would instruct an Italian solicitor in the local commune for peace of mind.