An Italian notary
A notary in Italy is a public officer, appointed by the state and whose role is to authenticate and attest acts. He or she works within the law, with families and businesses to create appropriate legal solutions that satisfy both the law and the aims of both parties.
When it’s time to choose a notary
No property transaction in Italy can be undertaken without the intervention of a notary. Once you have chosen the property that you wish to purchase, the time has come to also choose a notary to carry out the required formal document checks on said property, including ownership, land boundaries, rights of way and existing mortgages.
A neutral party
It is normal practice that the notary be both chosen and paid for by the buyer, although it is worth bearing in mind that he or she is there as a government representative and not to represent either the seller nor the buyer. The notary is always a neutral party in the property transaction. The notary will confirm the identities of buyer and seller, as well as confirming that the respective parties are entitled to part of the transaction.
Another part of the Italian notary’s duties is to calculate the taxes and VAT due to be paid on the transaction, to collect said taxes on completion of the property sale and then to pay them on behalf of the two parties.
What you will need to provide?
When the notary has finished his or her research, a date will be set for the deed of sale to be signed in person in the notary’s office. You will be required to provide your passport, mortgage documents and marriage certificate if applicable. The buyer, the vendor and the estate agent will be present. It is also recommended that you have an interpreter/translator, at your own cost if your Italian isn’t that good.
The notary’s duties
The notary will read through the entire deed of sale, asking you and the vendor to sign each initial page to show your understanding of the conditions. Once the deeds have been read, payment should usually be made with banker’s draft. The notary fees and taxes can be paid together, and with a normal cheque.
The notary will undertake to register the contract of sale within three days, and the deeds will then be sent to you within a short space of time. Under Italian law notaries must provide impartial and independent advice to all parties.
All notaries in Italy should belong to the Consiglio Nazionale del Notariato, a body that can of course be approached for assistance if you are in any way unhappy with the service or advice that has been provided with you by your notary of choice.