The 5 FAQ of the week (31 August-5 September)

# 1 What is meant by a confirmation deposit and how much is it?

I cannot tell you exactly how much the deposit to pay for the purchase of your property is, as it depends on the final price.

Let’s try to shed some light on the concept of “deposit”.

When the buyer makes his proposal, in writing, accompanied by a check, made out to the owner and valid as a “down payment”, for an amount generally between 5% and 10% of the agreed price.

Within a given period, the seller is required to communicate, in writing, the acceptance or rejection of the proposal.

Acceptance is a sine qua non for proceeding to the next stage: the signing of the preliminary sale agreement.

At this stage, the down payment, paid at the time of the purchase proposal, is transformed into a “confirmatory deposit”: a real guarantee of the obligations assumed by the buyer with the signing of the preliminary, valid as an advance of the balance that he will pay in the subsequent phase of signing the deed of sale.

I remind you that you should follow various steps to buy your property safely and I leave you the link to an article that my colleagues have carefully written to help you:

# 2 Who gets to choose the notary?

Although this rule can be waived by the parties, in principle it is the buyer who chooses the notary.

This happens because the buyer must be sure of the title of ownership and, therefore, the notary must be trusted by him.

I remind you that our system, of which the notary is a very important part, provides the buyer with certainty about the title that is not guaranteed in other countries.

The system, however, does not ensure that the property is free from abuse or free from other problems.

# 3 I don’t have floor plans of the house I need to buy. Who should I ask her?

Owning the floor plans of the property is very important and it is essential to compare them with each other!

In fact, you must always check that the state of affairs corresponds to the building permits and the land registry.

Unfortunately, the notary cannot do anything about it.

Ask the seller, directly or through the real estate agency, and please: don’t be fooled! Everyone will try to tell you that everything is fine even without the floor plans. Believe me: it won’t be like that until you check it out.

# 4 There is a mezzanine in the house I want to buy, how can I understand if it is abusive?

If there is a mezzanine in the house, it is advisable to be careful to verify that the mezzanine meets all the requirements established by law in order not to be abusive.

More specifically, the construction of a mezzanine is one of the building renovation interventions and, therefore, requires the building permit every time it involves an increase in the usable area, with a consequent increase in the urban planning load.

According to the administrative judges, the mezzanine does not develop a useful surface if it does not constitute a “living surface” which happens when it is a closed room, without windows or lights, of modest internal height, such as to make it absolutely not usable to people. The structure with which it is made is also relevant. In fact, a plasterboard mezzanine is insufficient to support the load of a person or a wardrobe, which is why in these cases it does not require authorizations. Such is, for example, the mezzanine to contain the water tank, a water heater, an air conditioner, a closet for suitcases and other small items (brooms). In this case, the construction does not constitute an extension of the internal useful area of ​​the real estate unit, nor can it be inhabited.On the contrary, permission to build is required for a mezzanine even of modest size, which can be used safely due to the height (such as to allow a person to access it comfortably), the stability of the structure (such as to support the weight of a person) and the convenience of access (reachable via a fixed staircase). In fact, “practicability” means the concrete possibility of accessing the mezzanine – and therefore of exploiting it – in safe conditions and of positioning variable loads (furniture or materials). The mezzanine, for example, certainly constitutes a useful surface where it is used as a storage for trunks, wardrobes and bedside tables, living room, reading room or bedroom.

Each Italian Region has its own legislation regarding the construction of mezzanines. In any case, almost all regional regulations refer to a single national provision, the Ministerial Decree of 5 July 1975, which establishes the minimum height of the habitable mezzanine, defining it at 2.70 meters, which drops to 2.40 meters in the case of non-habitable rooms, such as bathrooms, corridors or closets.

# 5 If I purchase a property and discover defects that I was not aware of before, am I entitled to compensation?

The art. 1495 of the Civil Code provides for a very specific period of forfeiture to report the presence of any hidden defects, discovered following the purchase of a property: unless the contract provides for a longer term, the buyer has eight days from from the discovery.

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