Buying Property in San Marino
Initial agreement between the buyer and seller - Preliminary contract
1 - What form can this agreement take? Preliminary contract?
2 - With whom must the parties (buyer/seller) formalise the initial agreement? Is a legal form imposed?
3 - What are the legal effects of this preliminary contract? Is a preliminary contract necessary?
4 - Are there amounts to be paid, and to whom? Can these amounts be repaid?
5 - Are there any consumer protection measures (cooling-off period, right of withdrawal)?
6 - How can I obtain financing? Directly from the banks? Through brokers?
7 - What form does the financing agreement take? What do I need to do once I have obtained financing? Who draws up the loan agreement? To whom will the loan be paid?
8 - What are the usual types of guarantee requested to finance a residential real estate purchase?
9 - How do I constitute a mortgage/other type of security?
10 - What are the consequences of this mortgage for me?
11 - What types of information/documents are required for a real estate sale? Concerning the parties? Concerning the property sold?
to certify other possible mortgages or charges on the real estate.
12 - Who collects the information/documents?
13 - How long does it take to obtain this information?
Signature de l’acte
1 - Is there a compulsory form for the sale agreement (e.g. notarised)?
2 - If several forms are possible, are some more secure or more risky than others?
3 - What is involved in the signature of the act?
4 - What are the resulting rights and obligations?
Performance of the contract
Implementation of a certain number of public rights applicable to the sale
1 - What rights must generally be implemented for a real estate sale? Right of first refusal? Preferential right? Compulsory administrative document or authorisation? Etc.
- Preferential rights (e.g. of the lessee) of private parties in selected cases;
- preferential right the Rep. of San Marino enjoys upon certain real property located in its territory and listed in a special registry, for historical/cultural/artistic reasons;
- compulsory documents to ends of certifying compliance with respect to building permit regulations, in particular stating the absence of probes for any abuse, beside energetic efficiency classification;
- a peculiar authorization for non Sammarinese nationals to acquire property in any real estate, before an institution called “Council of the Twelves” (Consiglio dei XII). Any purchase or other acquisition of rights concerning real estate located in San Marino is legally void if enacted in favour of anyone but for Sammarinese nationals, not counting companies or other entities, even if they are based in San Marino. Only individuals enjoying Sammarinese nationality can buy freely real estate in the country, while aliens and companies/entities of every sort and jurisdiction are bound to obtain such authorization. This peculiar body has been issuing regulations on a continuing basis, actually its stance provides e.g. for a fast-track review of requests filed by non-Sammarinese individual having their residency in the country..
- a special authorization by the Court in case a property sale is pursued by a company in a voluntary dissolution and liquidation procedure;
- other special/general authorizations not specifically related to real property (e.g. in cases a person under the age of 18 years is involved).
2 - Who fulfils the formalities for the implementation of these rights?
Regarding other formalities there is no specific rule or prescription a notary should fulfil them, i.e. parties can deliver the notary relevant certificates in original. A notary is in any case bound to his/her general professional liability, moreover it should be underscored that in any case a deed would not be accepted for registration within Public Real Estate Registry in lack of documents indicated sub letters “c” and “d” above.
3 - How and at what point does the buyer become the owner of the property?
Such rules must nevertheless be read along other rules on the Public Real Estate Registry, pursuant to which a record cannot be entered on the same property, meaning it would not be accepted where a prior one, even on the basis of subsequent deed, states the same transferor has already effected the same transfer.
However, as above said, substantive transfer of the ownership right is not complemented anytime delivery does not occur, thus, e.g. a civil judgement could invalidate any existing record figuring out in the Public Real Estate Registry.
4 -At what point is the payment made? By the buyer? To the seller?
Our law provides for an automatic guarantee in the form of a lien the seller enjoys over property of matter when the price is agreed to be paid wholly or partially following the transfer. Such guarantee may be waived by the seller.
5 - How must I make the payment?
his/her AML/KYC duties.
6 - How can I guarantee that the mortgages taken on the property against the seller will disappear?
When encumbered property is bought, the buyer can choose to extinguish the mortgage, in which case a risk is represented by the circumstance the seller receives all the funds to be redeployed in paying down mortgage related debt.
Such risks can be mitigated by the simultaneous execution of the whole transaction inside a bank’s offices or in presence of a duly authorized bank agent, in order to assure correct redeployment of funds and, furthermore, obtain the mortgage’s cancellation consent statement (that can be provided in the very act containing the deed).
Another solution may involve a payment of the price portion related to the debt – necessary to gain the cancellation consent – directly into creditor’s hands, by way of a delegation by the seller to the buyer in order for the latter to pay down the earlier’s debt; similarly, property could be transferred encumbered, i.e. without cancelling the mortgage if parties and guaranteed creditor agree to pass the debt to the buyer’s, while freeing up the seller, in which case part of the price payment is intended to occur in front of such freeing acknowledgment.
7 -What taxes are usually payable on a real estate sale? Are the rates available on an official website?
Usually stamp, deposit and registration taxes apply to a real property sale. In ordinary cases a real property sale is subject to the following taxes:
- stamp: €10,00 every pages of the deed, and other minor fixed items;
- deposit within “Ufficio del Registro”: proportional item of 5%* of the sale price, and other minor fixed items;
- registration/publication within the name Public Real Properties Registry (“Conservatoria”): proportional item of 1% of the sale price;
- transfer of registration within the Office of tax inventory and assessment of real property(land registry “Catasto”): 0,4% of the sale price, plus a €50,00 fixed items for any transfer;
* at the time of this report a general 50% reduction, by way of a stimulus, applies to this item, thus the rate is now at 2,5%..
A number of exceptions applies to these items, most frequent an exemption for first-house purchases by individuals, provided that a number of requirement be met, e.g. the item is not larger than a given square meters limit.
It should be noted that earning taxes may apply to a real property sale transaction in certain cases wherein a capital gain has been realized: such capital gain is a reportable income in the annual income statement.
Rates are not available on an official website but for the general legislation website,
which does not feature official versions of acts and other legislative texts.
An official legislation website is found at the following URL:
however it shows items dating back to year 2012.
8 - How and by whom are the taxes calculated?
9 - When and where is the tax payment due?
Sales deeds must be delivered for deposit, and taxes whereof paid, in a 30 days term dating from their signature, while registration and transfer are not subject to any term.
Once a given deed’s taxes have been determined, deposit-registration-transfer docket numbers can be recorded on the deed and copies whereof, provided that payment has duly occurred.
Payments are usually made with checks or bank drafts at the cash desk.
10 - At what point can the new owner take possession of the property (handing over of keys)?
11 - What is the procedure for publication of the sale agreement?
Procedures to obtain the execution of formalities in part have been already described in answer to questions IX, but it should be added that, while registration within Conservatoria (name Registry) is immediate, transfer of registration within land registry takes several weeks to months, depending on activity volumes the office sustains in a given period.