REAL ESTATE AGENT VS. ATTORNEY
Purchasing property in Italy can be very different compared to the United States or Canada. The differences lie both in the process of transferring title from the seller to the buyer as wells as in the role played by the Italian real estate agent.
According to the Italian civil code a broker (“mediatore”) is a person who connects two parties, the seller and buyer, in order to close the deal. The mediatore must act in a neutral fashion.
In other words, the broker / mediatore must maintain an arm’s length relationship with the parties, thus must function primarily to bring together the buyer and seller, providing assistance to both parties with the purpose of closing escrow.
According to Italian law the broker is entitled to a commission from both parties.
The reality is that in Italian real estate transactions, the broker is typically chosen by the seller and during the life of the mediation contract the broker maintains a special relation with the seller. As an example, the broker knows the lowest price that the seller would accept but does not disclose it to the potential buyer.
Given this scenario it is clear the buyer’s interest is not protected in an engagement with a realtor. Thus, those interested in buying Italian property would find an attorney a valuable ally from the inception of the negotiations.
A real estate transaction is a complex process which requires preliminary due diligence by performing a title search on the target property. This is the first step which would identify any critical issues clouding the title.
The attorney should now step in drawing up the initial offer to present to the seller, called il contratto preliminare.
For clarifications: Tel. 866 694-5500 PST