For decades, Italian villages have gotten emptier and emptier with each passing year. The declining birth rate combined with the lack of economic opportunities for young people has led many to escape the villages and head to the cities.
This has resulted in many abandoned properties that sit idle and decaying over the years. To combat this problem, the Italian local governments have devised a rather clever scheme to attract people to these idyllic areas.
They now offer many of the abandoned apartments and houses for 1 euro. Yes, you can buy a house for only 1 euro in a beautiful landscape in an enchanting country. There is a catch, of course. In fact, there are many catches that make it look like it is too good to be true.
In this article, we will go over several of the things that you need to know before you decide to jump in and buy one of those 1 euro homes for sale in Italy.
Before you buy
One thing that many Americans don’t realize is that even if you buy property in Italy, you can’t just decide to move there. A visa is needed so you can stay permanently. For retirees, getting this visa is much easier than others that are trying to go there to find work and live the Dolce Vita.
The first thing you need to do is research what type of visa makes the most sense to get. For retirees, there is an elective residence visa that allows retirees to stay longer than the typical 90 days for a tourist. It can last up to five years and can be renewed after that.
Another issue to sort out is insurance. Since Italians are on a public insurance scheme that they have been paying into their whole lives, this will not be accessible for a retiree. To be able to use the healthcare system there you will need to have private health insurance like global medical insurance.
With the right visa and being covered by health insurance, you are then free to go and live the Dolce Vita in Italy.
Where to start?
Not every town in Italy is offering these houses for 1 euro. In fact, many of the places where they are being offered are economically depressed and not always a place where somebody would want to live.
The first step is to do a Google search and find out where the houses are that are being offered. You’ll find a list of the towns where these houses are. Look at what the town has to offer and then decide if it is going to suit your needs.
A good idea is to look into towns where there are already a lot of people buying those houses. There will be more infrastructure in those places since there are foreigners bringing a financial boost there. One of the most popular places to buy right now is Mussomeli in Sicily. It has been featured on many TV shows and Youtubers are flocking there.
Once you settle on a town, go to their online portal to send an inquiry into which houses are available.
The terms of the purchase
Every town has its own requirements for the purchase but they all follow a central theme. The idea is that the home has to be restored and made livable. It also requires that the renovations be done within a certain amount of time. And, in some cases, there is a minimum amount that needs to be spent on the restoration.
In many cases, they require you to live part of the year in the home or at least be present for a vacation at least once per year. They are hoping to breathe life into these communities and want to avoid Airbnb cities. It is usually allowed to rent out the home when you’re not there but some don’t allow it at all.
Selling the home also has some restrictions. Many of the towns require that the house be yours for at least five years before selling.
The condition of the home
For many of these houses, dilapidated is a massive understatement. They are mere husks that used to house people. In some cases, they were even used to house animals.
There will be a huge amount to clean up before the restoration begins. It is very important to have a building inspector come along to tour the house to make sure that it is at least structurally sound. A renovation to modernize and update the house will be expensive. To also shore up a foundation or make the walls stable will often put the cost of restoration out of range for it to be worth it.
It will take patience, but the right house can be had and still not go over budget.