Transaction costs can run quite high on the purchase of Italian real estate. The real estate agent’s commission is split between buyer and seller. The buyer usually pays 2% to 3% of the price of the property. In some cases it can be as high as 6%. Legal fees typically amount to 2% of the purchase price.
Notary’s fees are approximately 2.5% to 4% of the declared value. The fees are calculated in accordance with the value of property (i.e., 2.5% will apply on cheaper properties).
The geometra’s fee will depend on what work is involved. If you’re not planning to do any further work on your property, you’ll pay around $600. If you intend to build on or modernize, then expect to pay up to $2,400.
One thing to note about transaction costs and taxes is that they are often based on the declared value of a property. Despite what you’ve actually paid for it, under Italian law, a property also has an official value—the “declared value,” which is usually considerably less than the purchase price. This is the value that appears on documents and in the land registry. It is this figure on which annual property taxes are calculated. Say the market value of a property is $300,000. The purchaser who buys at that price can register it at a value of $150,000 in order to lower his taxes. It is quite normal for property to change hands at a declared price of 50% of the amount actually paid. Despite the number of Italians that do this—and get away with it—we strongly advise that you ensure the “declared value” matches the price you paid for your property.