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'Italy's one-euro homes cost a lot more than one euro - but can be worth it'

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'Italy's one-euro homes cost a lot more than one euro - but can be worth it'
'One-euro' homes in Italy will definitely cost a lot more than that, but they can still be worth it says reader John Ware. Photo: David Tip on Unsplash

While offers of one-euro homes might sound like a simple route to that dream Italian property, reader John Ware warns the real cost will be higher and that there are no shortcuts for anyone hoping to buy a cheap home.

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Over the years I have bought several properties across various parts of Italy including in Campania, Basilicata, Puglia and Le Marche.

The reality is that all the fees and add-ons mean the real cost of buying these properties is much higher than one euro.

However, here's my bottom line: I paid an average of just over €1,000 for each property, save for one.

One property near Matera was an estate and the previous owner went bankrupt. Since the property was paid for, I only have to pay taxes, insurance and upkeep on it. It was a great find to turn into a bed and breakfast.

If you are looking to buy then your best bet is to go to the region you want to buy in.

Meet the locals and get to know them. Develop relationships. Get to know the area. And I don’t mean like a tourist, or even someone who wants to spend some extended time there. No, I mean get to know the area like you’ve lived there for 30 years. This takes time and effort.

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Then you need to find an avvocato (lawyer) who is well-versed in local real estate.

There are no shortcuts to buying property in Italy. I like to outwork everyone. And trying to wing it with regards to the property laws and regulations is a fool’s errand.

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Your banking situation must be cleared up (get an Italian bank account first) and ensure that whatever the cost of your purchase is -- whether it was cheap like mine or you're buying from a realtor and are loaded -- you have extra money on top of the cost of the property.

If you plan to buy a property in Italy, on average whether it’s a one-euro home or anything else, you can expect to pay a premium of 10 to 20 percent to fix it up, renovate it, change it around, cover the 'hidden fees', etc.

Sure, sometimes it could be a lot more and sometimes these costs might add up to hardly anything, but people should know that 'one euro' properties in Italy are not 'one euro' properties, in reality.

READ ALSO: ‘We bought the cheapest house in Piedmont and live mortgage free’

Failure to do this leads to delays, and someone swooping in to take your prize away from you.

My total outlay for the properties I mentioned was just shy of €70,000. All seven properties have since been valued at around €2.3million.

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Get to know the locals, the language (at least, intermediate level), the local culture and above all, be patient.

Buying a property in Italy takes time and effort, but also analysis, people skills, and the love of the culture and customs of any area, region or country you’re considering.

John Ware, who was born in the US, but has lived in various parts of Italy over the years.

Do you agree with our reader? Share your own opinions in the comments section below, or if you have any tips, insights or views about an aspect of life in Italy that you want to share with other readers then email us at [email protected]

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Shelley 2023/09/07 22:42
Well done. Good, solid advice here.

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