You could buy a house for 1 euro in Italy – with a catch

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The skyrocketing cost of living, remote work and a strong dollar are all playing a part in an interesting new home buying trend. More and more Americans consider living abroad, and Europe caught their attention. According to Sotheby’s International Realty, countries like Portugal, Italy and France are becoming increasingly popular with American buyers.

Average home prices in the United States have increased by 30% between 2020 and 2022, making it even more difficult for potential buyers to buy their first home. Property prices have also increased in Europe in recent years. But there are still great deals to be had for those who want to live in a new country and learn a new language. Particularly in Italy, where you can really buy a house for just one euro.

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Italian houses at 1 euro

Parts of rural Italy have a problem: many houses have been abandoned as young people leave the villages for the cities. Some older Italians bequeathed properties to local government authorities rather than to relatives. In other cases, the owners no longer want to pay taxes on a dilapidated second home.

Rather than selling properties at full price, the one-euro price is an attempt to breathe new life into these rural areas. Authorities want to fight depopulation, preserve architectural heritage and boost their economies, but they cannot afford the cost of renovations. This is where the catch comes in. You can buy a property for 1 euro, but you have to pay the court and renovation costs.

All the 1 euro properties on the market need a lot of work. Rules vary by region, but generally homebuyers will have one year (sometimes less) after buying the property to submit a restoration plan. The work should generally be completed within three years of purchase. Buyers must also pay a guarantee of completion of the work for a payment of between 1,000 and 10,000 euros. The money is returned once the renovation is complete. In some cases, you may also have to live in the property after it is completed.

Should you buy a house for 1 euro?

Since a average home in the United States will set you back $428,700, it’s easy to see the appeal of a $1 home (about $0.95 at the time of writing). However, moving to rural Italy is not a decision to be taken lightly. Not only would you be in another country, but you would also be in a remote area that may not have strong wifi connections or many shops or amenities.

You’ll also need money to complete the renovation, which The Independent estimates at around 20,000-50,000 euros (about $19,000-$48,000). It will be more difficult if you don’t speak Italian and don’t have local connections.

Other factors to consider are visas and taxes. If you are not an Italian resident, you will need to understand the visa requirements, especially if you want to stay there long term. All US citizens are required to file a US tax return, even if they to live abroadbut provisions are in place to avoid double taxation.

If you plan to work remotely, keep in mind the time difference and the potential for slow (or non-existent) internet connections. Moving to another country is not the same as moving to a State at lower cost, especially if you have to go to an in-person meeting occasionally. Supervising – or doing – construction work can also be a full-time job, so if you’re a freelancer, you may only be able to work reduced hours while you remodel your Italian idyll.

Finally, the US dollar is extremely strong right now, but that may not last forever. You may also need to factor in the cost of transferring money overseas, health insurance, and traveling home to visit family and friends. A credit card that does not charge foreign fees is a must.

There are also low-cost housing opportunities in the United States

Italy is not the only country to want to revitalize its rural areas. In fact, there may be affordable ways to get on the property ladder closer to home. For example, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Housing Programs provide low-income families and individuals with loans and down payment assistance for properties in certain areas. See our list of best USDA mortgage lenders for more information. You’re less likely to find Olive Groves and Pasta Grannies, but this may be a more convenient option.

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