Italian preliminary contract for the purchase and sale of real estate

San Leo - Italy
San Leo – Italy

Italian preliminary contract for the purchase and sale of real estate, what you need to know

When you buy a house, you start a multi-step process. It is important to know each phase to complete the operation in the best possible way. Let’s see in particular what the purchase proposal and the preliminary contract are.

The purchase proposal

The purchase proposal is the declaration of the buyer that he wants to buy a certain property at a certain price. Normally, this is a pre-printed form provided by the real estate agency and accompanied by the payment of a sum of money as a deposit. We can also make a purchase proposal a bit special, without a real estate agency.

Signed, the purchase proposal contains commitments that already engage the buyer, while the seller remains free to evaluate other offers. The purchase proposal is binding only on the party who signed it. Once accepted by the seller, the purchase proposal is automatically converted into a preliminary contract.

The preliminary contract

The Italian preliminary contract (or compromise) is a real contract that obliges both parties to sign the final contract. The preliminary must indicate the main elements of the sale price, the house to buy, the address and a precise description with the land register data and the date of the final contract.

In the case of the sale of goods under construction, special rules are required by law for the preparation of the preliminary contract.

It is not mandatory that the preliminary contract be signed by a notary, but it is good to specify with the notary or with a real estate lawyer what the obligations that result are.

Preliminary contract for real estate purchase, transcription in real estate registers

The transcription figures as a real purchase reservation of the property, it means that the seller can not sell the property to anyone else, or grant a mortgage on the property, or constitute a passive servitude or any other prejudicial right. The creditors of any seller will not be able to register a mortgage on the goods promised for sale, nor seize them.

Since the registration of the preliminary contract, the property is “reserved” to the future buyer, and any transcript or registration would not be applicable.

When registering the preliminary contract, the following fees must be paid, which will then be recovered upon signature of the definitive contract:

  • 0.50% on the deposit
  • 3% of the amounts paid as down payment.


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