Documents to sell house: what you need and how to find them

Do you want to sell your house? Your first concerns will most likely be about its market value, time to sell, and how to make it as attractive as possible to buyers: rightly so!

The real estate agents you turn to-if professional and good at their job-will help you deal with any doubts and perplexities, but you should know that on the list of things to do when you want to sell a property there is much, but much more than that.

For example, carefully draft the necessary and legally required documentation for the preliminary and/or final contract of sale. True, the process of collecting documents can be a bit tedious, especially if you have owned your home for years. However, all too often it happens that sellers put off this task until the last moment, only to find themselves in unpleasant situations or be forced to delay the sale.

By addressing the problem sooner rather than later, you won’t risk letting the opportunity for a good sale slip away because of bureaucratic quibbles. So here is the list of documents to sell your house!

All the documents to sell your home with complete peace of mind

Here are the must-have documents for selling your home (and why)

  • The cadastral survey and plan can be downloaded, free of charge, by any property owner from the land registry, which is part of the Internal Revenue Service. By law you must declare in the notarized preliminary purchase and sale agreement and the final property transfer agreement that the cadastral data, including the floor plan, accurately reflect the state of affairs (cadastral conformity). If for some reason there is a discrepancy, it will need to be addressed before the sale can be completed. Your real estate agent can also take care of retrieving the floor plan for you, however this is a bit more complicated due to data privacy requirements.
  • The deed transferring ownership to you (and the co-owners, if applicable). If you have owned the property for less than 20 years, it will be helpful, and in case the buyer applies for a mortgage, mandatory, to document previous ownership going back 20 years. The 20-year limit is due to a squatter’s legal right to become an owner under certain conditions, known as acquisitive prescription or usucaption. A frequent problem occurs when a property has been inherited but the deed transfer has not been executed: this will have to be completed.
  • Mortgage inspection. All owners can print a free copy from the property information service operated by the state treasury. You will need login credentials. A buyer will want to know if the property currently has a mortgage or other lien on it-a definitive check will be made by the notary during the closing. In some cases there may be a right of first refusal, such as neighboring farmland owners or current tenants.
  • Certificates of compliance of service systems or declaration of non-compliance if applicable. This applies to each of the utilities (systems), e.g., gas, electricity, heating and cooling, water and sewage, elevators, TV reception, fire protection, automatic gates and doors installed after March 27, 2008, and in some cases for systems installed after March 13, 1990. When installing or replacing systems, the technician must provide a certificate stating that the work was performed in accordance with current standards. This documentation must be provided so that the buyer knows what he or she is getting and cannot make claims to the contrary later, so the benefit is to both buyer and seller. Don’t forget to enclose the maintenance records of the heating and cooling system (plant booklet)!
  • A energy class certificate (APE: energy performance certificate) is required for inspection by prospective buyers and must be attached to the final sales contract, with a penalty of €3,000 to €18,000, to be split between the buyer and seller, if not included. The technician will want to see the floor plan and maintenance records of the heating and cooling systems (plant booklet). Note: The certificate must be redone if there are changes that could affect the energy classification (renovations, equipment changes) otherwise it is valid for 10 years. The cost will vary depending on the building and its location; you can expect to pay approximately 150-300€. Keep in mind that you are paying for the experience, time (including travel to remote locations), and legal responsibility of the technician!
  • Building permit/construction certificate or pardon (amnesty). This is a document provided by your town hall, often tracked online. You can request it yourself or pay a professional to obtain it. An alternative declaration is possible for buildings constructed before September 1, 1967, as older documents are presumed to be missing or of poor quality (building permit from June 30, 2003 onward, building permit for construction performed before January 30, 1977, building permit from January 30, 1977 and before June 30, 2003).
  • Certificate of fitness, available at City Hall. Not required for buildings completed before 1934. Not strictly mandatory, but if present it prevents the buyer from arguing otherwise later, with often unpleasant legal consequences.

Documents needed to sell house in a condominium unit

  • The condominium regulations. The buyer will want to know what limitations and directions are in the regulations.
  • Minutes of condominium meetings last year (regular and special meetings), including budget. A buyer will want to know what annual fees to expect. You will also rightly want to be informed of the extraordinary expenses incurred and for what work they were requested.
  • A statement from the condominium administrator regarding the current status of condominium payments. If the seller is late with payments, the buyer will no doubt want to know.

Documents for selling home in the case of a property currently rented

  • The lease agreement. The buyer will want to know when it expires and what income to expect.

As for each of the sellers of the property

  • ID. This must be valid (not expired). It is necessary to certify who is signing the contract of sale (preliminary and/or final).
  • Seller’s Social Security Number.
  • Certificate of marital status and, if married, property regime.

These are the documents to sell home correctly and without fear of “shenanigans” and without wasting further time later on between inquiries and research.

They may seem many and difficult to obtain (especially those related to real estate), but don’t worry: if you rely on a’competent and professional real estate agency retrieve all these documents to sell your home will be simple and immediate!