Wander along the banks of the Arno river marvelling at the wonderful medieval buildings including the Palazzo de Medici and the small gothic jewel that is the church of Santa Maria della Spina before heading off for a lunch of seafood pasta and local wine at one of the many buzzing little restaurants in the city centre; while away a relaxing afternoon sunbathing on the terrace of your luxury apartment before watching thousands of floating candles transform the river into a sea of light followed by a fabulous fireworks display to celebrate the Luminara di San Ranieri – the highlight of the "Giugno Pisano" festival; drive through winding green countryside to the medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano and spend a leisurely morning strolling through its narrow winding streets before enjoying an al fresco lunch with local wine tasting. Straddling the River Arno just before it empties into the Tyrrhenian Sea and enjoying an enviable borderline humid subtropical and Mediterranean climate, there is an excellent range of Pisa property for sale offering investors the opportunity to become part of this vibrant and cosmopolitan city.
Blessed with mild winters and very warm summers, the medieval city of Pisa in Tuscany lies to the west of Florence and was once a maritime power to rival Genoa and Venice. Famous for its Leaning Tower, the city has a fabulous array of Romanesque buildings, Gothic churches and Renaissance piazzas and has one of the oldest universities in Europe with a history going back to the 12th century. In a city of around 100,000 people, 60,000 are students giving the centre of the city a vibrant café and bar scene and a lively street life where locals rather than tourists hold sway.
A visit to the world-famous Leaning Tower is top of the list despite the heady climb of 300 steps to the top but the superb panoramic view is worth it! Also worth a visit is Pisa's magnificent Romanesque Duomo. Considered to be one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe it was begun in 1064 and consecrated in 1118. Its striking tiered exterior, with cladding of green-and-cream marble bands, gives on to a vast columned interior capped by a gold wooden ceiling. The elliptical dome, the first of its kind in Europe at the time, was added in 1380.
As a top tourist destination Pisa property commands high prices and investing in a property to rent as a holiday home will yield excellent returns. There is a wide range of Pisa property for sale to suit all tastes and budgets both in the city itself and in the surrounding areas ranging from traditional town houses hidden away in the centre of the city to wonderful old villas with tiled floors and high ornate carved ceilings in the countryside.
In Pisa itself the city centre is one of the most popular places to buy, particularly along the Arno River. Two bedroom apartments start for around 230,000 EUR although if you are looking for old traditional apartments with wooden floors, large windows and high ceilings then they tend to start at around 450,000 EUR. And properties near the Arno River command a premium price – an elegant six bedroom renovated apartment in a historic building would start at around 1.8m EUR.
Heading out of the city simple stone country houses in need of renovation start at around 150,000 EUR whilst two bedroom apartments in the medieval villages surrounding Pisa can be found for 140,000 EUR going up to 300,000 EUR for three bedrooms depending on the location. There are also opportunities to buy new or newly converted properties; for example a former granary and stable converted into a three bedroom house in the grounds of a villa would cost in the region of 350,000 EUR or a new four bedroom stone house in a residential complex with shared swimming pool and gardens would be around 400,000 EUR. There is a good range of four and five bedroom villas and farmhouses for sale for between 500,000 EUR and 2m EUR where old properties have been beautifully restored with traditional materials but including modern kitchens and bathrooms and most have a private swimming pool and spacious gardens.
Pisa property provides investors with the perfect opportunity to buy a property in one of the most popular cities in Tuscany and enjoy a lifestyle embracing friendly people, fabulous local wine and food and of course a wonderful climate. Whether you decide to buy a luxury ‘palazzo’ in city centre or a renovated stone farmhouse in the countryside surrounded by olive groves, Pisa makes a perfect holiday and investment destination.
Guide to the Italian Buying Process
1. Making the Offer to Purchase (Offerta)
Once you have found the property you wish to purchase you will start the process by making a formal offer to the vendor, the estate agent will act on your behalf and put forward the offer, a deposit will be made available, generally around (10,000 - 20,000 EUR). Once the vendor has accepted the offer it will be formalised in writing to the vendor in both English and Italian. If this is accepted the deposit (Caparra Confirmatoria) will be paid to the vendor. This will form a legally binding contract. Neither party may withdraw at this point, the sale can be forced by either party or a claim for damages can be made. If the purchaser withdraws their deposit will be lost, if the vendor withdraws the purchaser can claim twice the deposit in compensation.
2. Signing the Preliminary Contract (Compromesso or Contratto preliminare)
The next step will take place between 1 and 3 months after the offer has been accepted, this is a formal agreement between the vendor and purchaser to sell and buy the property, this agreement is the Preliminary Contract and will contain the conditions and terms of the sale. It is important at this stage that you have a full understanding of all the details contained in the contract. We would strongly recommend that you appoint a Notary who is fluent in English. This document will include the purchase price, a detailed description of the property including completion date and will cover any obligations placed upon the buyer and the vendor. All information relating to the property including any planning permissions for the property and the cadastral details (a public record, survey, or map of the value, extent, and ownership of land as a basis of taxation). Once the Preliminary Contract (Contratto preliminare) has been signed a further deposit (Caparra Confirmatoria) will be paid, this will generally be 10% - 20% of the purchase price. There will also be an estate agents Commission Fee (Provvigione) which will need to be paid at this point.
3. Signing the Final Deed of Sale (Rogito or Atto Notarile)
The purchaser must have a bank account in order to make the purchase on completion. The signing of the final deed of sale which will authorise the transfer of the property must be overseen by a Notary (Notaio). The buyer will select and hire the Notary, but they are members of an independent body of public/professionals who will draft the purchase deed, they will oversee the passing of the title legally from the vendor to the purchaser. The Notary will also verify the legality of the documentation and registration with the Conservatoria dei Registri Immobiliari and the Local Land Register.
4. Formalities to be observed after Completion
Foreign buyers should obtain a certified copy of the Purchase Deed (Rogito), which the Notary will have lodged with the authorities. Generally this will be available to collect around 2 – 3 weeks after completion. The Notary will also give you a form to complete for the the local authority (Questura) who will have been given formal notice of the purchase. Your Notary will help you to complete this form. You will need to contact the utilities companies to set up new contracts (power, water, telephone, gas etc.). If the property is a flat, the condominium manager (Amministratore del condominio) should be informed of change of ownership of the property.
Various taxes must be paid on purchases. Registration tax / stamp duty (Imposta di Registro) is calculated on the government’s valuation of the property (Valore catastale). This will vary according to whether the property is being purchased as a holiday home, or as your primary residence. For a holiday home stamp duty will be 10% of the valuation. If you are intending to use the property as your primary residence and apply for residency (Prima casa), providing this is done within 18 months of the property transfer then stamp duty will be reduced to 3% for an existing property and 4% for a new build. This will be paid to the Notary on completion of the purchase.
Land registration, mortgage and cadastral taxes also need to be paid to the Notary on completion. These are one-off payments and are around €168 each.
Once the property has been purchased further taxes must be paid. There is a local council tax ICI/IMU property tax (Imposta Comunale sugli Immobili) of 0.4% to 0.9% of the property’s cadastral value. The rate for this is calculated annually by the council and paid bi-annually in June and December. This rate will be reduced if the property is the primary residence (Prima Casa).
If you are not resident in Italy you will have to declare any income gained from activities in Italy to the Italian Tax authorities. This income will also have to be declared in your country of residence, you will need a double taxation agreement to mitigate against paying twice. This declaration will apply to any income you might obtain from letting a property in Italy. Some expenses incurred on the property may be off-set against the income you derive from letting out the property. This can include management expenses, local taxes, repairs etc.
There is one tax which applies only to holiday homes, there will be a 20% Capital Gain on the difference between the buying price and the selling price if the property is sold prior to 5 years ownership.
IMPORTANT - Disclaimer :
All information provided is believed to be current and provided free of charge. No liability can be accepted for the reliability of the information and statements made as this is obtained from 3rd parties. We always recommend you take legal advice from a fully qualified Lawyer or Notary before buying a property overseas.
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