It would be safe for me to say that the vast majority of our clients are worried about the notary process prior to signing. Many had concerns such as; What happens inside the office? What is the notary like? What will I be asked to do? What will the notary do for me? Hopefully in this section, I will help you understand a little more about what actually happens inside the notary office when you are signing the final contract.
The thing to remember is that a notary, although having a very important title in Italy, is not like a judge, neither is his/her office like a courtroom. You will not be presented in front of Italian officials and questioned. In fact it could not be more opposite to this. Most notary offices are exactly that, an office with secretaries and a separate room, sometimes laid out like a board room, where you, your representatives, the owners, witnesses (often staff of the notary) and the notary will sit and go through the contract, which will have been previously prepared. The notary will have already checked on the morning of the day you sign that there are no debts or problems with the property and then all documents relating to the property will be presented to him along with the contract. The notary must read the contract out loud to everyone, usually in Italian. If you do not speak Italian, by law, you must have a translator with you who will swear in front of the notary that the document they have translated is a direct translation of the Italian contract. There may be several points in the contract which the notary will ask your translator to read to you, while he is observing, making sure you have understood what has been written. There are often errors in the contract, this can be simple spelling mistakes to changes in the law. This is normal. The notary must ensure the contract is correct, even down to the last full stop or comma.
Once the notary is happy that everything is correct and the property sale can continue, you will be asked to sign each page of the contract and every document relating to it. Your signature must be your full name, including middle names and written in a readable way. An illegible signature will not be accepted. When both the buyer and the seller have signed the documents, they will then be signed by your translator, the witness and finally the notary. From that moment, once cheques have been handed over, you take full legal possession of the property and receive the keys. Your notary will collect his fees and taxes due and will make sure the relevant authorities are paid. After around 6-8 weeks you will be able to re-visit the notary and collect a certified copy of the contract and the original will go into an archive, to be available for anyone to view in the future.
A couple of the plus points about using the notary system are that your money is with you until everything is complete and that you usually get to meet the owners, which very often, turns into an ongoing friendship.