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Help! Panic! Mortgage!


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Old 4th March 2019, 12:47 PM
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Hi all,

So I am going through the process of buying a house and a rather strange curveball has thrown itself up.

We saw the house and loved it. The price was great and came well within the too good to be true category but none the less we were happy. The agent said to make an offer we need to sign the compromesso which we did.

Asking advice of all those around me nobody told me this was the moment I should engage lawyers/notaries. In fact people told me to wait until I had an offer accepted. So we signed and handed over 3k as a goodwill payment which I was informed was normal.

In applying for a mortgage it has come up that the house is owned by one guy who had it 'Donated' to him a couple of years ago by his brother. They need to get some sort of insurance to cover the cost of the mortgage if the first brother claims the house back.....

Surely this is fraud. Like on a ridiculous level. The bank told me that because the house has been donated the first brother within 10 years can claim it back effectively putting us on the street and very much out of pocket. This must be fraud. The agent didn't mention anything like this before signing the compromesso and now we are feeling very very cheated.

What angers me most is no one in my social circle advised me to get a lawyer. In fact they discouraged it. I should have come here first!

Is this really a thing. Are we really liable up to 10 years to be kicked out. What if we make improvements etc he can just claim them for free?

Seems madness and now my wife (Who is pregnant) is absolutely distraught.

Any advice or insight very welcome.

Kenzo

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Old 4th March 2019, 01:20 PM
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Cool Quitclaim

I am possibly the worst possible person to offer advice but that hasn't stopped me before and it won't stop me now.

Presuming that this isn't a scam; I mean, it's possible, we in the U.S. at least have what is known as a quitclaim deed where the owner divests himself of any interest in the property. I WOULD hire an attorney and through this mechanism seek out the brother to determine his intentions.

I dug up this info on the Italian donation deed:
https://www.studiolegalemetta.com/en...donation-deed/
which makes it seem more of a tax dodge than a scam for a future purchaser (you).

Buona fortuna

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Old 4th March 2019, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PauloPievese View Post
I am possibly the worst possible person to offer advice but that hasn't stopped me before and it won't stop me now.

Presuming that this isn't a scam; I mean, it's possible, we in the U.S. at least have what is known as a quitclaim deed where the owner divests himself of any interest in the property. I WOULD hire an attorney and through this mechanism seek out the brother to determine his intentions.

I dug up this info on the Italian donation deed:
https://www.studiolegalemetta.com/en...donation-deed/
which makes it seem more of a tax dodge than a scam for a future purchaser (you).

Buona fortuna

Thanks Paulo,

Yes I think your right. I know who the brother is as I was in his house this morning testing wifi speeds. 10mb Thats what you get for the peace and quiet of the countryside!

They seem legitimate but it is a curveball I was not expecting. I am going back to the agency this afternoon for clarification.

Anyone know any English speaking lawyers in Sicily preferably Palermo (A big ask I know)

Kenzo

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Old 4th March 2019, 08:23 PM
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I don't think I know an Italian who uses a lawyer. So don't be upset nobody suggested it.

Talk to the Notaio. If the Notaio thinks something is wrong they'll block the sale.
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Old 4th March 2019, 08:29 PM
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Hi Nick,

Yeah same here. People do seem to prefer dealing with things without lawyers.

Just worried that in making a move to secure the future for our little ones we will end up messing up our present!

Apparently we should have checked to see if the house is 'ipotecata' before signing the compromesso as well but again I was misadvised...

Who do I need to go to check that?

Kenzo

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Old 4th March 2019, 11:28 PM
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In the US, we have something called "Title Insurance" which is not only a good idea, but something demanded by mortgage lenders.

Title Insurance protects all parties from situations such as described by the original poster. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_insurance for more info.
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Old 5th March 2019, 04:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenzoXIV View Post

Apparently we should have checked to see if the house is 'ipotecata' before signing the compromesso as well but again I was misadvised...
That's a mortgage. The Notaio is going to make sure the title is clear including no mortgage.

One of the properties I was looking at last year was pulled off the market before I could view it because the Notaio decided he didn't like the title situation.
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Old 5th March 2019, 04:40 AM
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BTW have you talked to your bank about this? They'll want to make sure the property is clear before handing you a mortgage.
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Old 6th March 2019, 07:06 AM
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The Compromesso is a legally binding contract. It usually comes a bit after an offer is accepted. It is prepared by the Notaio and must be in Italian and in your native language. It also must specify whether there are any legal barriers to buying the house. In other words. someone has to have investigated if the seller has clear title to sell the property. Also, if the seller cannot sell you the property and has to cancel the sale, he could be liable to pay you compensation.

Your agent should have been on top of this from the very beginning. Are they an actually registered agent? I have seen cases there the agent is just someone who introduces the parties and then says your on your own to figure it all out.
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Old 19th March 2019, 03:34 AM
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We used an English-speaking lawyer (not in Sicily alas so no point recommending him).

Italian friends were dismissive of the idea - "why pay someone to do something that you could do yourself?". But we were glad we did, not because the lawyer identified serious issues, but because for the cost (not exorbitant by Australian standards) we were buying extra peace of mind at what was already a mildly stressful time.

An expat acquaintance told us the story (possibly apocryphal) of a foreign couple who bought a property out in the country without a lawyer. Money was handed over, door keys handed back, title deeds registered, and all looked OK. They drove to their new property to find the front gates locked. No-one had told them that the driveway crossed the neighbouring farmer's property, and that he would require payment before allowing them in.

At that point we decided to go for the lawyer right at the start of the process.

There is another consideration, which may not apply to you. As explained to us, under Italian law, you cannot enter into a contract as a foreigner unless you can demonstrate that you speak and read Italian well enough to understand the legal implications of signing. Since we couldn't really claim that, we signed over a limited power of attorney (procura speciale) to our lawyer which enabled him to sign the purchase contract on our behalf, and gave him the responsibility of ensuring that we understood everything. Having our own lawyer was also helpful in dealing with the Notaio, who seemed inclined to look for difficulties that our lawyer had foreseen. At the last minute our lawyer dealt with a problem when the vendors decided they needed the bank cheque made out to a different beneficiary!

And afterwards (do not underrate the importance of this) your lawyer will be part of your network of acquaintances in your new home town. Buy him or her a nice present.


Last edited by Troz; 19th March 2019 at 03:40 AM.
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