Make sure that the preliminary purchase contract is registered!
The preliminary purchase contract, the so-called preliminare in Italian, must be registered at the Italian Tax Administration within 20 days after the establishment. If the contract was drawn up by a notary the term is 30 days. There is a fixed price for the registration of € 200 (irrespective of the purchase price of the property) and furthermore a stamp duty (imposta di bollo) of € 16 for every four pages and in any case for every 100 lines of the contract.
If the contract mentions an advance payment, an imposta di registro of 0.5% of the caparra confirmatoria is due, a fine that has to be paid in case the buyer or the seller decides not to proceed with the purchase or the sale, and 3% of the acconto (the advance payment). The payments regarding the registration of the preliminary purchase contract are deducted from the amount that is still due during the registration of the definitive contract.
The preliminary purchase contract can be recorded in the real estate register. This is only obligatory for preliminary contracts that were drawn up by public or private authentic deed. The costs for the entry in the real estate register amount to € 155, i.e. the imposta di bollo for the registration of the deed and another € 200 in the form of imposta ipotecaria and € 35 mortgage tax.
By means of the entry in the register the buyer is protected against a possible sale of the property later on or against the enforcement of third party rights at a later stage – these can then not be claimed from the buyer. The definitive purchase deed has to be registered one year after the date of the preliminary contract, agreed upon by both parties, or in any case within three years after the registration of the preliminary purchase contract.