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Italian Mortgages: Getting a mortgage in Italy as a foreigner or non-resident

An intricate insight into getting an Italian mortgage as a foreigner or non-resident, including eligibility criteria, affordability and why using a mortgage specialist is essential.

Written on 1 October 2023

When trying to obtain an Italian mortgage to buy a residential property in Italy it’s important to be aware that it could take much longer than you would expect and can, at times, be frustrating.

Banks in Italy have always been strict lenders and either living outside Italy or having recently become resident in Italy can cause additional problems for this already lengthy process.

However, if you wish to own a residential property in Italy and need a mortgage to do so, it is possible and this article provides an intricate insight into getting an Italian mortgage as a foreigner or non-resident.

We also offer a free introduction service which will connect you to an Italian mortgage specialist who will be able to discuss your situation and options with you.

Request your free introduction to an Italian mortgage specialist >

Determining eligibility for an Italian mortgage

In Italy, as with many other countries, there are three main conditions that will determine your eligibility for an Italian mortgage: Policy (of lenders/banks and the European Mortgage Directive), Affordability, Property eligibility.

Bank/lender and European Mortgage Directive Policy

While policies of banks and lenders are always open to change, the European Mortgage Directive has made it more difficult for foreign nationals to apply for a mortgage if they do not earn their income in Euros. This is especially problematic for people whose income is earned beyond the world’s strongest 5 or 6 currencies, as banks won’t stretch to create credit policies and loan contracts for countries with lower overall demand for Italian mortgages, they will concentrate on the stronger currency countries.

Other lender policies which are particularly important are source of income (i.e. a stable job in a recognised profession) and your nationality and country of residence.

While there are no hard rules, lenders will operate on a case by case basis and a mortgage specialist will be able to determine from your personal information whether you are more or less likely to be eligible for a mortgage.


The next key factor in determining your eligibility for a mortgage is affordability, that is your ability to pay the monthly mortgage payments.

You will need to prove that your mortgage and/or rental payments including the proposed new Italian mortgage payments do not exceed 35% of your total income (excluding any rental income) after all income taxes have been taken into account.

In addition, proof of income and expenses will also need to be translated into Italian when making your application.

Property eligibility

Once you have determined the address of the property your mortgage will be for, the lender will need documentation and proof that the property is available for purchase and the purchase will be legal. The documentation required to prove this can be extensive, so working with a local expert or mortgage broker will help provide the evidence and documentation to meet the lenders requirements.

How and when to apply for an Italian mortgage

While it might sound counter-intuitive, you are actually more likely to be able to successfully apply for an Italian mortgage before you relocate to Italy. This is because Italian mortgage lenders will require a minimum of between 2-5 years’ worth of stable, provable income before they will consider lending to any Italian resident.

The problem then arises that Italian mortgage lenders do not promote any non-resident mortgages so it is also very difficult to know what is and isn’t available on the market and certainly next to impossible to apply for an Italian mortgage online.

However, while it sounds like a no-win for foreigners and non-residents looking for a mortgage, the mortgages do exist, but they are typically only available through specialist mortgage brokers who have access to the mortgage products.

Also remember that it can take a significant amount of time to successfully apply for any Italian mortgage.

If you are thinking of moving to Italy and will need a mortgage to buy a property, the best time to apply is as soon as you find somewhere – do not leave it until you have signed a contract or until are classed as an Italian resident as it becomes far more unlikely that you will be successful.

If you are considering buying a holiday home, you may wish to remain a non-resident of Italy to maximise your chances of successfully applying for a mortgage.

In either case, your chances of success increase significantly if you work with an Italian mortgage specialist.

Types of mortgages and understanding the figures

Italy offers both variable rate and fixed rate mortgages, although both may not always be available to choose from when it’s your time to buy.

Few banks offer international mortgages, so it is worth doing some research, whilst also acquiring the necessary professional advice, to make sure you find the terms and rates that are right for you.

Italian banks currently offer foreigners mortgages with a loan-to-value (LTV) of between 50-60% with a minimum mortgage of around €100,000. Italian lenders usually require a deposit of 40-50% for non-residents.

It is a common misconception that smaller mortgages are either available or easy to obtain, and in most cases if your property value/budget is under €200,000 you will be unlikely to obtain a mortgage in Italy.

What you need to provide to get an Italian mortgage

As well as the application form itself, Italian lenders require many other identification documents. Expats will be required to provide documents such as:

  • ID card or copies of your valid passports
  • The initial sale agreement
  • Income proof (consisting of your last three payslips, contract of employment and your last tax return or financial statements and tax returns if you are self-employed and
  • Credit report
  • Proof of address (copy of recent utility bill)

This is not a speedy process and can take a long time to get all the above documentation verified, so collecting this information as soon as possible in the sale process would be wise.

Never assume that Italian bank/lenders will operate like your local bank/lenders

No matter where you live or where you are trying to obtain a mortgage, lenders from different countries will have very different rules about who they will be able to lend to and the affordability criteria that will need to be met.

For example, in the US, the lenders may not take into consideration car loans and other mortgages before establishing your remaining income after tax – but in Italy, these outgoings in particular will be considered when judging your availability, and rental income will not necessarily be included when calculating your available income.

Taxes to be aware of when buying an Italian property

Italy’s property purchase tax is calculated on a property’s official Cadastral value. All Italian property has a cadastral value (like a council ratings value), allocated by regional and local governments many years ago.

The purchase tax is generally 2% of the cadastral value for your own residence or 9% of the cadastral value for holiday homes, paid once upon purchase, collected by the notary.

Please note, the Cadastral Value allocated by the Italian Inland Revenue to the property is much lower than the market value of the property.

It is important to discuss mortgage options before making any offers

If you enter into a contract regarding a property, but do not have the financial means to complete and have paid a deposit, you will lose that deposit.

It is therefore crucial when buying a property in Italy that you are certain you can afford to buy the property before making any offers or entering into any agreements.

This means that you will need to be comfortable your mortgage is available to you early in the process and you have also considered fluctuating exchange rates to negate the possibility of the Euro appreciating against your own currency – if you live outside the Eurozone.

Why using an Italian mortgage specialist is a necessity rather than an option

While engaging someone to help you find an Italian mortgage will add additional costs to your property purchase, in Italy it is nigh on essential that you apply for your mortgage this way.

As previously mentioned, mortgage specialists will have unique access to mortgage products for non-residents which you simply may not be able to find, or will not be able to apply for without their assistance.

Some Italian mortgage specialists also provide more services throughout the property purchase process, and their experience and expertise (along with their patience and tenacity) will maximise your chances of success and also reduce the chances of you giving up.

It a nutshell an Italian mortgage specialist will assist you by:

  • Liaising directly with the bank/lender, meaning that when they’ve asked for multiple copies of documents and/or proof of ID, your broker will handle it ensuring your patience is not tested
  • Help you manage the timing of your finance with the property closing deadline and consequently advise how to manage both the selling party and the bank
  • Help you understand when you’ll be needed by the bank in person to sign contracts and documents
  • Liaise and organise building inspections
  • Review each of the three contracts for bank suitability, which will be in Italian

Given that there are no single solutions, they will be able to discuss your situation up front, discuss your potential eligibility for a mortgage and work with you to create a plan to help you achieve your dream of owning an Italian property.

Request a free introduction to an Italian mortgage specialist

At Experts for Expats, we provide a free introduction to an experienced Italian mortgage specialist, fluent in both English and Italian.

Our introduction service may also include the option of an initial free consultation of up to 15 minutes with one of our trusted partners during which they will answer general questions about Italian mortgages and properties.

Once your initial consultation is complete, if you decide you would like to proceed with exploring possible Italian mortgages, our partner will provide you with any fees of their services, as well as a detailed proposal for how their service will work, without any obligation to proceed.

Given that you are unlikely to successfully apply for an Italian mortgage on your own, our introduction service provides you with a no-risk opportunity to explore your options for buying a property in Italy.

Request your free introduction to an Italian mortgage specialist >