Off-plan property purchase in Italy: how does it function?

off-plan investment Italy

About off-plan investments

Investing off-plan means the buyer purchases a home not yet built or under construction from a developer. Although buying a property off-plan incurs more risks than buying a property that has already been built (the main one is that the builder goes bankrupt and the buyer loses the down payments already paid), fortunately, legislation in Italy is able to protect buyers when doing such type of investments and give them peace of mind.

From a legal point of view and in order to guarantee the buyer for the down payments made prior to the transfer of ownership, off plan projects need to be covered by either a bank or insurance warranty during the construction phases.

Let us talk about the advantages of buying a property off-plan in Italy and checks to do before going ahead.

Advantages

1.     Purchase price:  When buying off-plan, the buyers has the advantage to purchase at the lowest possible price and achieve maximum returns on investment. As soon as development phases progress and units are sold, prices begin to rise as the value of the properties increase.

2.     Payment stages: Many developers in Italy offer beneficial payment schemes with down payments of between 15% and 40% of the property price.

3.     Buying the best units: When purchasing at the early stages of a complex construction, buyers have the possibility to choose the best units from a range of properties within the development.

4.     Personalize fixtures and colors: Off-plan projects offer purchaser the opporunity to choose materials and colors for internal doors, floor tiles etc. At this stage, it is likely that the buyer can still make some small changes on the internal layout. However, for those who need to get inspired, a show home is generally available for viewing at the site.

5.     Maximum returns: off-plan properties can increase significantly in value after they are constructed, making purchasing off-plan a financially sound decision.

Do your search before you go ahead

1.     Check the contracts: Off-plan contracts are drafted differently to a standard purchase contract in Italy. Before signing any documents, it is suggested to seek some advice from an expert. If you do not know any professionals in Italy, a property management company can help with this.

2.     Developers: It is important to carry out a background check of the construction company before going ahead. Start by visiting his website and check for past and present projects. Ask for a “visura camerale” (licence check) to obtain further information. Again, if you are not able to do it by yourself, it is suggested to hire a professional property caretaking company in Italy.

3.     Home warranty insurance: The construction company has the legal responsibility to provide the buyer with a home warranty insurance prior to sign any contracts. Make sure you receive the insurance before you go ahead with the property purchase.

During the building phases remember that…

1.     The preliminary contract of sale (second stage contract of the Italian property purchase procedures) needs to attach the approved plans and building permissions and be registered at the local Land Revenue.

2.     A ten-year insurance policy (paid and supplied by the builder) will be issued at the time of completion guaranteeing any visible or invisible building damages.

3.     At completion of the purchase, the constructor needs to provide the buyer with the necessary certifications for the electrical and plumbing systems

If you are interested in purchasing off-plan property, Italy Property Service can assist you with due diligence, legal advice and supervision of all related paperwork. Contact us at fabiana@italypropertyservice.it

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