After you have the imported decision of you choice of property and decided to buy, you can either sign a preliminary agreement (contratto preliminare) and then sign a deed of sale (contratto definitivo).
Before doing so, however, you lawyer will check that there are no encumbrances (mortgages or loans over the property,for example)and check all entries in the Land Register up the date of the sale.
The preliminary agreement, which is in written form, stipulates the terms and conditions of the purchase and indicates the contains of the deed of sale and the date for the execution of the deed of sale .
Once the preliminary agreement has been signed ,the purchaser is obligated to buy the property and the seller is obligated to sell it. If one of the parties doesnt execute to deed of sale, yo can either terminate the contract or go to court.The judge will make an order which will produce the some effects as the deed of sale, unless this possibility has been excluded by the preliminary agreement.
A deposit (cappara) is usually paid, the amount being agreed between the parties at the signing of the preliminary agreement. The deposit paid by the purchaser may be a caparra confirmatoria which means that if one of the two parties doesnt execute all the clauses of the contract, the party who has executed all the clauses can decide either to keep the deposit and terminate the contract ask for compensation.
The involvement of a notaio(which is not the same as a British solicitor ) is not essential for the signing of the preliminary agreement. Here in Italy he must only guarantee that the deed is legal, that the house is in order and that the payment is made in a legal manner.
The property is not transferred with the preliminary agreement but with the signing of the deed of sale , which must be in written form. The deed of sale requires the payment of the price minus the deposit already paid, and the consignment of the house.
When a property is sold it is on condition that it is sold in the state in which it was accepted at the time of signing the preliminary agreement. It is therefore of paramount importance that you check everything properly to ensure that no changes have occurred between signing the preliminary agreement and the deed of sale, e.g. changes due to natural causes.
If something has been changed or damaged or is missing,you must bring this to the notice of the seller. You can come to an agreement for a reduction in the price or, if not, you can apply to the court.