The first and most important check to carry out, before signing the preliminary contract to the deed which, as we shall see later on, is binding for the purchase of the property, is to ascertain that the seller is the true owner.
For this purpose, first we must check if the person making the sale has a valid purchase deed.
To control the ownership of the property, you will just need to contact the real estate advertising agency of the provincial offices of the Agenzia del Territorio (regional agency) and apply for a certificate (cadastral certificate) stating the involved person’s name, date of birth and social security number. After this step, it is possible to control the exact ownership of the property and the family status of the owner, as well as the possible presence of mortgages, foreclosures or of a servitude/easement, i.e. those rights which may restrain the enjoyment or the use of the house (e.g. the right to pass through the garden).
Another risky situation is the purchase of a property resulting from an inheritance or a donation. Any heir, in fact, deeming his heirship as affected, has ten years after the death of those who have left the inheritance or made the donation, to enforce his rights, demanding that the value of the property is considered part of the cumulative inheritance. Special attention should be also taken when the seller is married under community of property between the spouses and the real estate property had been purchased by him/her while he/she was already married. In this case, it is assumed, until proven otherwise, that it belongs to both spouses, even if only the name of one of them is displayed on the deed of the previous purchase.