When purchasing a property in Italy, there is a lot to know about what you should and shouldn’t do and the information can be rather confusing. The question of whether to instruct a surveyor in Italy or not is no exception!

Is it necessary to have a property survey in Italy?

Having a survey in Italy is not a legal requirement, however it is recommended that you instruct a surveyor in Italy (known as a Geomettra), especially if purchasing in rural areas. If you would have a survey carried out on a similar property being purchased at home, then there is no reason not to have one completed in Italy.

Italian properties also have to contend with additional issues that could affect its condition, such as the weather, the possibility that the property may have been left unoccupied for long periods of time and different methods of construction. Some areas of the country are also susceptible to flooding, storms and subsidence.

In Italy, a vendor should certify that the property is free from hidden defects, although should an issue arise after purchase the vendor can usually plead ignorance and it can be difficult to prove otherwise.

What are the advantages of having a property survey in Italy?

  • A survey can alert a person purchasing a property in Italy to any structural defects in a property that may have been missed by the buyer or seller.
  • The opinion of a professional surveyor can reassure you and help you to avoid disappointment from problems with the building that may not have have been found until it was too late. If the problem is spotted before purchase, it can be budgeted for in advance and even factored into the price offered. It could also be spotted whilst it is still a minor problem and resolved before leading to anything major.
  • A survey could also reassure you that a problem you thought was major isn’t as serious as you first thought, allowing you to proceed with peace of mind.
  • A survey could also assist your lawyer with your Italian property purchase. Legal documents can be out of date or inaccurate. It is unlikely that your Italian lawyer will visit the property so a survey could help to identify any obvious errors in the documentation that might not otherwise be detected in the usual Italian legal searches.
  • A Surveyor in Italy will understand the Italian construction methods and will know what defects to look out for
  • It can be the case that work has been carried out without gaining the necessary planning permissions, for example adding a swimming pool or building an extension. Having a survey carried out can highlight these issues and allow them to be rectified before purchase.

What are the risks of not obtaining a survey on an Italian property?

As the buyer, you are responsible for ensuring that you are satisfied with the property before you purchase. If you don’t have a survey carried out and after purchase you find that there are problems, you may find that the cost of the property survey would have been money well spent!

Some common problems found by surveyors in Italy are:

  • Structural defects
  • Unauthorised alterations, such as extensions or even entire properties constructed without planning permission
  • Damp

What services can surveyors in Italy provide?

A surveyor will be able to advise on which option would best suit your requirements. Although, generally surveyors in Italy offer the following options:

A general condition report

This is the most common type of survey. It includes details of the general condition of the property, explaining the basic state of services and a visible inspection to all accessible areas (both inside and outside).

Full building survey

This report is a lot more detailed than the general condition report and is particularly beneficial where the property is very old or of unusual structure or in a poor state.

A survey can be tailored to the client’s requirements and may include any specific concerns raised by the client.

Other reports such as valuation reports and snagging reports for new build properties can be obtained.

How much does a property survey in Italy cost?

The cost of a property survey in Italy can vary depending on the type of report required but can be anywhere between €300-€1000 depending on the report that is required, the location of the property and its value.

When should you instruct a Surveyor in Italy?

It is worth remembering that the buying process differs in Italy to the UK and that a deposit is required relatively early in the transaction. Therefore, it is strongly advised that the survey is undertaken before you make an offer or pay a deposit. Although it is not usual in a standard initial contact, it can be possible to arrange for your lawyer to insert a clause in to the initial contract ( Contratto Preliminare di Vendita) to ensure that any deposit is fully refundable in the event that a survey picks up any problems with the property.

If you have any concerns about the property, then we recommend that you have a survey carried out before making an offer.

For details of a recommended surveyor in Italy contact Total Buying Abroad on 01244 478911 or email If you would like any more information, download our free guide to Buying Property in Italy.