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Large, lovely apartment in a historic palazzo, Monteodorisio.

Large character property for sale near Vasto, part of a beautiful Palazzo dated back to the 1880. Monteodorisio.

Beautiful 215sqm apartment part of an historic palazzo dated back to the 1880's, at just 10 minutes of Vasto. 220.000 €. View Property.

Beautiful stone villa with garden and olive grove in San Buono.

Country villa completely made of stone for sale, with garden and olive grove, in Abruzzo, Italy.

Four bedroom villa completely made of stone with garden and olive grove, surrounded by green countryside and nature. 225.000 €. View Property.

Large country property with one hectare of land, Abruzzo.

Large four bedroom traditional country house with cellars, garage and one hectare of land, for sale in the Abruzzo region of Italy.

Large four bedroom country stone house with garage, cellars, barn and 1 hectare of land. Surrounded by nature. 119.000 €. View Property.

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How to Deal with Italian Real Estate Agencies.

Posted by on in Buying process

A quick guide to the Laws in Italy.

 If you are not an Italian citizen approaching the Italian real estate market for the first time, you don't speak Italian and you don't know the laws, you might want to read this article to get a better idea about Italian Real Estate Agencies and their duties.

First of all, a registered Italian real estate agency must have a license number and a company registration code.

The company registration code is very important and is the most important document your agent must have.

The company registration code is also called R.E.A, this code represents the registration of the company at the local Chamber of Commerce.

The R.E.A. number is mandatory to work as a realtor in Italy.

This code consists in the initials of the province where the real estate agency is based followed by six numbers.

For example, the R.E.A. code of Abruzzo Rural Property SRL is CH – 402525; CH being the initials of the province of Chieti, in Abruzzo region. The agency is registered at the Chamber of Commerce of Chieti.

In Italy, only real estate agencies with an R.E.A. code can trade in a legal and officially authorized way, therefore, when you start dealing with an Italian realtor, the first important thing to ask for is this code.

When a real estate agency has this code, it means that a series of necessary requirements has been fulfilled. In order to grant an R.E.A. code, the Chamber of Commerce requires the following documents:

  • Real Estate Agent license that is obtained only after having attended a valid six month course and having passed an exam at the Chamber of Commerce.

  • Clean criminal record.

  • Valid VAT number (IVA), for tax payments.

  • Valid business trade insurance.

  • And also an ANTIMAFIA certificate.

Therefore, the R.E.A. code itself is valid proof that some standards have surely been met.

In addition to this, a valid R.E.A. code will enable the real estate agency to open a company's bank account.

The Law in Italy is very clear, only those who obtain an R.E.A. code can operate as real estate agents in the Italian territory and are entitled to be paid a real estate agency fee.

On the Internet there are many websites advertising properties in Italy, claiming the provision of services like those of a real estate agency, offering courses and tutorials on how to buy a property in the country.

When approaching an agency, it is vital to make sure that your realtor has a valid R.E.A. code to be able to trade under the Italian law.

Why should your realtor have an R.E.A. code and why is it so important? There are three main reasons for this:

  1. Because if you decide to buy a property you will have to pay a holding deposit to your agent and also the amount necessary to register your preliminary contract. Obviously if the agent has an R.E.A code, the bank account you send the money to will be the company’s and not simply a private account number.
  2. A realtor with an R.E.A. code means that the business is insured and that there is a clean criminal record.
  3. The R.E.A. number is also a guarantee that the company is not under bankruptcy.

R.E.A. code and VAT number are two completely different things. The VAT number is related to tax payments, an interpreter or a translator will need a VAT number to issue an invoice, but a real estate agency must not only have this but also an R.E.A. code.

The VAT number is not enough to trade as a realtor.

Important documentation of reliability and professionality to look out for is the adhesion to some professional business association related to the real estate market.

In Italy the two most relevant associations are FIMAA and FIAIP.

If your realtor is associated to one of these two, it means that the business complies with Italian laws as mentioned above.

Penalties for those acting without the above requirements are severe and expensive. Unfortunately there are still unlicensed realtors out there, dealing especially with international clients who are often unaware of Italian laws.

To summarise, when you contact a real estate agency in Italy always ask for the R.E.A. code. The VAT number is not enough and not proof of valid registration.

You can also ask the realtor to show you their business badge issued by the Chamber of Commerce which shows the name of the agent and the R.E.A. code.

If your agent is without an R.E.A. code or a business badge, start looking for a licensed one. There are many honest, fully registered realtors in Italy, so why trade with a fake one?

If on the other hand, you are dealing with a realtor but you feel uncomfortable or something is not 100% clear, then contact a lawyer.

Italians don't hire lawyers to buy / sell a house, because the notary is the legal representative to supervise the entire purchase.

However, a foreigner who doesn't feel sure about their realtor and doesn't have contacts with an English speaking notary, should feel free to hire a lawyer.

This will be more expensive, but it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially in a foreign country where you may not be aware of the laws and may not speak the language fluently.