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This guide would like to be an assistance to all the people interested in the purchase of a property in the island of the sun.
The search to purchase the house of your dream in Sicily, it is a phase very important, because the property must have some features to satisfy your needs and those of your family, and sometimes (especially for foreign people) the language barriers, a new country and the lack of the laws knowledge, it impedes this phase, by making it hard to take up this experience.

For this reason it is important to address a very skilled real estate agent, who has got a perfect knowledge of the territory and he can help you to select the properties for your needs, and most of all he can guide you step by step till the conclusion of the deal.

A real estate agent knows the market in which he operates, the local culture, the market prices of the real estates, thus he is able to suggest interesting properties close to the actual market value.

It is good to know that, in Italy the real estate brokerage is regulated by the law, thus the agent must be properly enrolled in the register of the real estate agents, he must have the VAT number and a sole trader, registered to C.C.I.A.A. (Chamber of Commerce). An additional guarantee will be given by the association of the category, as FIAIP (Italian Federation of the Professional Real Estate Agents), because it applies a careful selection of the real estate agents, and the agencies provided with insurance policy with occupational hazard covering and under the protection of the clients for the execution of the profession of agent (as for the law).

Once you find your dream house, here is how to proceed:
1) If you have to entrust a real estate agent, then you can stipulate with him a written proposal, in which you can propose for the purchase of the property, by specifying the amount you offer, the conditions and deliver time. You need to attach to the proposal a deposit, as general rule, a not negotiable check addressed to the seller. The same it could be done by wire transfer (to be executed after the acceptance of the proposal).
2) It follows the Promise to sell or Preliminary ( to be stipulated in the office of the agent or at the Notary), where are going to be specified more the term and sale condition, it is going to be added more deposit, previously paid (generally between the proposal and the preliminary it is paid the 30% of the sale price), and it is set the date for the stipulation of the final deed.
3) At last it takes place the final unconditional bill of sale. In Italy only the Notary can officially transfer the real estate, by assuring that this is in order, thus transferable to all law purposes. Generally the real estate agent can suggest you a trustworthy Notary.
4)  For the foreign people is it indispensable the assistance of a translator who will translate the deed, and a witness who will confirm the accuracy of the translation. Of course, your real estate agent will let you have a complete quotation with all the costs for the notary, for the translation, beside a copy of the translated deed, to be read before coming to Italy and sign it.
5) Contextually we need to say if you purchase the real estate as principal residence or second house.
To purchase the real estate as principal residence you need to be a European Community citizen, you cannot have other houses in the all national territory with the special term for the principal residence, and you need to change your address to Italy within 18 months from the stipulation of the final deed. This way, you only pay the 3% of the property tax at the purchase, you do not pay the annual council tax for the ownership of the property (ICI) and the power, water consumption, etc. is going to be paid in a reduced form.

If you purchase the real estate as second house you are not obliged to change your address, but you pay the 10% of the property tax at the purchase, you also pay the annual council tax for the ownership of the property (ICI), and a little more for the water, power, etc consumption. Also for this case the consultancy and the count for the costs for your real estate agent is indispensable.

The last advice of this guide is to entrust a real estate agency able to manage your interests, by making your dreams come true.