How to Buy a House in Italy for €1 (Yes, Really)

grottole airbnb italy sabbatical

While buying a Tuscan villa might seem like it is only ever going to be possible in your dreams, getting a house in Italy might actually be cheaper than you think. There are so many things to consider when buying property anywhere in the world – but it seems like Italy has some creative and amazing deals right now. Everyone from Airbnb to local villages are coming up with ways to encourage people to move to the more rural reaches of the country. 

From homes for sale for €1, raffles to give away an entire house in Italy, or free offers to stay from big companies – here is how to have your cake and eat it too while buying cheap property in Italy. 

bagnoregio italy stone village on top of a hill with a long bridge leading to it

Buy a house in Italy for €1

It makes international headlines every time, but it is becoming fairly common for villages all the way from Sardegna to Sicily to start selling homes for the low low price of €1. In fact, there is an entire website (in Italian) dedicated to tracking which villages in Italy are selling houses for a euro.

Buying a house in Italy for a euro definitely sounds too good to be true. There is, indeed, a catch. The details of the deal tend to change slightly depending on the location, but in general, the things to know about buying a house in Italy for €1 are:

  • You have to fix it up. These kinds of deals usually come about because villages are being abandoned. Young people leave to go to university or seek jobs in major cities and the populations of these smaller towns only get smaller and older. Some of the old stone houses are simply abandoned. It is these abandoned (and sometimes dilapidated) buildings that are for sale for €1. The buyers must assume all repair costs to bring the houses up to safety code. This often means tens of thousands of euro to repair walls, put on new roofs, update the electrical wiring and plumbing – all of which is more than a little complicated in very old homes.
  • You assume all debt. Repair costs can still be a good deal compared to the cost of buying a standard home outright, but check all the paperwork before you sign. If there happens to be an outstanding debt on the property (e.g. a mortgage or unpaid taxes), that debt comes along when you buy it. Always hire a professional Italian Notary to help with any paperwork. These hidden costs are often why the property is being sold – the rightful owner does not want to pay the taxes and fees.
  • You have to get started right away. After that €1 Italian home becomes yours, you have to start work right away. The plans are due within 365 days and may stipulate that you must use local companies. Once the permits are granted, you have to begin work within 60 days so it all requires being very organized and persistent to keep things on schedule. If you don’t get everything done on time, the town usually reserves the right to refund your euro and take the house right back. 

Win an entire restored house in Italy

If you don’t want to go through renovating on your own, you can now enter for a chance to win a house in Italy. The three-story house will be given away in a raffle this spring. The house in question is in Abruzzo and has vaulted brick ceilings, thoroughly modernized interiors, plus balconies overlooking a beautiful village in the Gran Sasso national park. 

You can enter the raffle to win the house for £50. The contest is only accepting a maximum of 6,000 entries. And you really do win the house. It will be signed over, all fees completely paid.

The second prize is £10,000 – which may not be as good as getting an entire Italian house but is not too bad a consolation prize.

The last day to enter was 2 April 2019 – but there are other similar contests that take place from time to time!

Here is the house in question, in case you are curious: 

exterior of stone house you can win in Italy with green plants
Photo: Win a House in Italy

There you have it – the best ways to make your Italian home dreams come true for very little (if any) money. 

Would you try any of these to get to live in Italy?

 

 

18 thoughts on “How to Buy a House in Italy for €1 (Yes, Really)

  1. Donna Clark says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I’m an American who would like to become an Italian Citizen through the birth of my Italian born grandparents. I would like to buy a home in Italy and live there 1/2 the year. I understand that I qualify to apply but no one responds at the Italian Consulate office in Trevico, Avellino, Italy. Do I need to hire a lawyer in Italy and how do I go about finding one?
    Thank you for any help you can give me,

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Donna! You actually need to apply through your nearest consulate in the US rather than in Italy. There are some good facebook groups about dual citizenship with advice and lawyer recommendations. You can definitely do it on your own if you take the time

  2. Manisha sisodia says:

    Hello Natalie,
    I am from India and I am interested in buying property in Northern Italy village as I recently read in the newspaper (India),village like lokana and Sicily offering low cost housing and support population with new family.
    Kindly help
    Manisha sisodia

    • Natalie says:

      Sorry I don’t have more information than what is listed here! I believe that the program to offer rural property is for citizens but I am not sure

  3. Jagir singh lakha says:

    I am from India and I am interested in buying property in Northern Italy village as I recently read in the internet Ad (India),village like lokana and Sicily offering low cost housing and support population with new
    Properties buying in one euro is it’s possible for indian
    family.
    Kindly help
    Jagir singh

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Jagir – as mentioned, I don’t know about this particular program but you can use the link I included to search in Italian for opportunities. Keep in mind that you are required to redo the property and this remodeling can be costly.

  4. Kurt says:

    Hey Natalie, I heard there is a rule you must start a business in Italy in addition to renovating the “free” house. I’m wondering if you think simply turning the house into an Airbnb would qualify as a business, and if so, which town giving away the houses do you think would be the most lucrative location for Airbnb?

  5. Lorraine says:

    Hi I am living in Malaysia but i have Argentine and French (EU) citizenship I would like to buy a cheap house in a small town and retire there with my adult son and start a local business.
    Thanks

  6. Taylor Anderson says:

    It’s interesting that there are abandoned villages in Italy where you can buy homes for 1 euro. I’ve heard that it’s a good idea to hire an Italian lawyer for things like this, as they will know the law for things like this. Thanks for explaining the process of buying a home in Italy for 1 euro!

  7. Rocio says:

    Hi. My name is Rocio and my husband and I are very interested in purchasing a house in Italy. I hope this deal is still happening. thank you.

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