Working with an agent in Italy
This has been compiled as a guide for potential purchasers of property in Italy. It does not seek to provide or replace legal advice which you should obtain nor is it intended to have any contractual effect.
Estate Agency in Italy – The Legal position
Italy, like most other countries in Europe has a code of practise for estate agents and legal obligations on them and on the buyers and sellers of property. All estate agents operating in Italy must be properly qualified, officially registered with the local chamber of commerce and have proper professional indemnity insurance.
- The estate agent normally acts as an independent professional, whose role is to match up a willing purchaser and a willing seller (unlike the UK or US system) and is remunerated by both sides.
- The estate agent is not under any obligation to carry out any due diligence on the property that he/she is promoting. Their obligation under the law is solely to inform the parties of relevant issues/problems known to them. It is therefore up to the purchaser to satisfy themselves through their professional advisors of good title, planning consistency, liens etc.
- The agent should inform you whether they are instructed exclusively to market a property, or whether there is a multiple agency agreement in place. In any event the buyer should only have to pay a fee to one agent
- The agent is entitled to ask the buyer for their fee, even if their work was limited to introducing them to one property that they go on to buy. No additional work is required although as a common practice professional estate agents would advise and help in bringing the transaction to a successful outcome.
- The estate agent is not responsible for the fulfilment or solvency of the purchaser/seller. If the deal, after contracts are exchanged, is rescinded or terminated for default, commission to the estate agent remains due.
Within our wider Italian network and through being part of the Knight Frank Network we try to offer our clients the most comprehensive service that we can. Through our colleagues in our Network offices throughout Italy, and working alongside Knight Frank LLP in London, we will endeavour to find you the right property. All of the Network offices are locally owned and are themselves the licence holders in their respective areas. Therefore contractually you will be working with the local agent as the Knight Frank network representative for that area and as such the agency agreement will be governed by Italian Law. Once a suitable property has been identified and terms have been agreed with the local agent, thereby fulfilling the obligations of the agent according to Italian law, we will also offer to help with the following at no extra charge:
- Put you in touch with possible legal, survey, planning and tax advisory firms that can assist you with due diligence, general advice and completing the transaction. Not all of our agents within the Network are qualified to give you legal, survey, planning or tax advice, although we do have one or two and we are happy to share with you their years of experience.
- Prepare a memorandum of sale to pass to the legal teams outlining the terms of the deal and the professionals involved.
- At all times during the purchase process, we are available to assist with effective communication between the parties involved.